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Forbes: 12 Must-Have Skills Agency Professionals Need Today

Agency professional skills

A major problem for industry professionals is that they rarely realize when the industry has shifted away from their skill set. Just one decade has dramatically changed technology and how people consume content, and knowing what skills are in demand can help marketers adapt and stay in the know. The agency was featured in the Forbes Agency Council's latest piece, '12 Must-Have Skills Agency Professionals Need Today.' View the original article on Forbes. The No. 7 contribution is from agency president Stefan Pollack.

7. Content Production

It is increasingly important that agencies know and understand production. Agencies need to create content for their clients and for themselves and have the in-house capabilities to make that professional-quality content. The sheer amount of content required in recent years makes it cost-prohibitive to source production from a third party. - Stefan Pollack, The Pollack Group

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1. Authenticity

While being yourself seems to be the most obvious skill, it's hard for young professionals in today's multimedia, social network-driven world. It's critical for new professionals to bring their unique strengths to the agency and own their contributions, especially as they develop into leaders. Authenticity builds trust and enables people to utilize their strengths, which is essential for success. - Anna Crowe, Crowe PR

2. Agility

Turning on a dime and remaining flexible throughout a project is paramount. Not to mention that today's speed-to-market pace has demanded compressed timelines with emphasis on delivering "excellence" over "perfection." - Dave Wendland, Hamacher Resource Group

3. Customer Empathy

Know your customer. Know what they want and why. Understand the intent behind their needs. They'll ask for things a hundred different ways while looking for the same single answer -- your agency knows what that answer is and you're best suited to deliver it to them. Strong customer empathy is more than just good marketing. It's your competitive edge, both in search and in agency life. - Sarah Bird, Moz

4. Customer Experience Design

Customer experience design ensures a holistic, meaningful and consistent way for brands to show up and interact with customers in today's fragmented, multiscreen world. Purchasing power may transition from one generation to the next, but the experience with a brand will always be an important factor determining customer choice. - Violet Aldaia, Daggerwing Health

5. Design Thinking And Data Science

Growing analytical skills and identifying patterns using data science across a variety of datasets is invaluable. However, this only tells you what happened and not the "why" behind it. Professionals who can see trends in data and then empathize on the "why" for what generated that data will continue to be in high demand as AI automates more and more of our lives. - Jacob Cook, Tadpull

6. Killer Collaboration Skills

Gone are the days where agencies work in secret for weeks or months at a time, building to the big "reveal" for the client. To thrive in the speed of today's complex consumer and cultural landscape, you must be willing to co-create not only with your internal team, but also your clients and other agency partners. Learn how to collaborate well, and you will be able to move mountains. - Katie Schibler Conn, KSA Marketing + Partnerships

7. See Above

8. SEO

Agency teams need to be fluent in interpreting and reporting the impact of earned media -- events, thought leadership content or media mentions -- on referral traffic. Get comfortable managing client expectations around coveted backlinks -- a practice many outlets don’t follow yet many clients often list as a crucial priority. Always check editorial guidelines to pass along to a client in such scenarios. - Kathleen Lucente, Red Fan Communications

9. Decent Photography Skills

Having a good DSLR camera in house with some adequate skills to use it can go a long way with your clients. You can bring it to meetings and capture bio photos of new employees, office renovations and social media images. It's a value-add to both the client and the agency because it's quick and you don't need to schedule a photographer anymore. - T. Maxwell, eMaximize

10. Marketing Technology

A must-have skill for today's agency professional is the ability to run up and down not just the marketing stack but also the technology stack. Gone are the days when agencies relied solely on their creative abilities. They now have to be exceptionally versed in the technology domain as well. - Terry Tateossian, Socialfix Media

11. Creating A Culture Of Experimentation

In a digital world evolving so fast, experiments are valuable to improve experiences and performances. Agencies should create an environment where anyone can conduct a test and where data is king. Over time, experiments will result in thousands of changes that collectively generate huge benefits. Decisions should not be based on personal opinion alone. - Antoine Forest, Stargazer

12. Managing A Team With Diverse Capabilities

Today's clients require an increasingly varied roster of services from agency partners. Account leaders need to build, cultivate and manage a diverse team that still includes account executives, but new faces, such as social strategist, planner and creative lead. These new team members must be part of the core team -- not drop in/out as needed -- that demonstrates to clients you're listening to them. - Edward Hoffman, Padilla  

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