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Deadlines & Details

This week we were putting the finishing touches on a sponsor kit for a big client event, and our designer suggested we add a headline to balance the content a little better. “Deadlines and details,” I offered. Nothing fancy – just a straightforward headline for the kit, but the words together struck a nerve.  

“Deadlines and details” is an apt description of agency life.    

Just the night before, I had finally started writing, working toward a morning deadline that I had been avoiding all week. Not because I hated writing, but because, like my fellow agency dwellers, writing is always easier and better when there’s a deadline looming.  

So I wrote. 600 words (ish), and went to bed. I added a paragraph in the morning, and sent it off to my boss to review. Not much time passed before he wondered back to my desk, carrying a paper marked up with black pen.  

He actually said, “this needs a little work,” but his bemused grin said, “were you drunk when you wrote this?” I read the first sentence – what had been my point, exactly? We spent maybe five minutes going over it – not the commas or my word choice but general criticism – “sharper here, more information in this section.”  You know, the details.  

After 20 minutes of editing on my own and moving a paragraph here, deleting a sentence there, the final result was much stronger. That’s the best part about working for – and with – an agency. Someone is keeping an eye on deadlines, and someone is keeping an eye on details. We switch roles as we need to – pushing each other to do better, to be better.   

Whether it’s tweaking a tagline for a new ad campaign, reigning in big ideas to meet smaller budgets, or editing a 600-word case study, agencies like Propel are pushed by deadlines and measure success in the execution of the details.  

Unlike other agencies I’ve known, we genuinely don’t care or even know at the end of the day who did what. We all take the credit for our successes, and take our lumps when we fail. It really didn’t matter the rambling mess that was my first draft – it mattered that the client got what they needed and it was the best it could be.  

We talk about being a superpower for our clients – we’re able to do that because we are a team of superheroes. Just don’t show up with tacos. They’re our kryptonite when it comes to deadlines.   

Melinda Walker

Melinda Walker

Melinda is an expert project manager and marketing strategist with a unique ability to think big picture strategy while managing daily marketing execution with precision. Melinda is accustomed to creating and executing comprehensive communications strategies supporting public policy as well as state and local government. As a client advocate and liaison between content, creative and interactive teams, she ensures marketing campaigns are on strategy, on time and on budget.

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