For our next entry in our “Meet Our Leaders” series, we sat down with Sr. Account Director Andrew Barrett. Read on to learn more about Andrew’s experience working on the agency and client side, and on both sides of the Atlantic.
This transcript has been lightly edited for context and clarity.
What led you to enter the marketing industry?
I majored in Advertising and minored in marketing. Then, I had the great experience of moving out to DC and working at a non-profit. It was a pretty fun experience to start on the ground floor as an intern and then scale up in the marketing department as a coordinator, then a marketing manager after that. With any kind of startup or non-profit, it’s a great place for learning. I got to manage multi-million dollar advertising campaigns pretty early on. We were early movers into advertising in internet radio on Pandora, so I got some fun, cool experiences that you might not get at a larger firm.
Next, I moved to London, England, with my wife and worked at a startup there that was trying to bring political and tech communities together. I worked on marketing events and on client management for senior government officials and individuals in the tech space. In that job, I started as a project manager and was later promoted to director, where I oversaw PnLs. I had a great first experience managing a team and learned what it looks like to manage a business line from a profitability standpoint.
From there, I moved over to an agency on the trendy East side of London, which was a lot of fun. After I moved back to the U.S, I got an awesome opportunity to work at Hyatt. I came in to help them scale their local agencies that worked with local hotels, support agency management, and strategy. I also had the opportunity to work on corporate-level display and search campaigns.
KLIK came along as a fantastic opportunity to get back into the startup world and back on the agency side. I was super excited for the opportunity to have a team, and to be able to share all the amazing things that KLIK does. If you look at KLIK from a performance standpoint, it’s the best in the business for sure. I feel that my job is to set us up for success by communicating ideas to clients in new, fresh, and fun ways. I’m excited to continue to scale the team and the business.
What does your day-to-day look like here at KLIK?
I manage a team of seven through direct or indirect reports, so my day is ensuring we are all focused and providing the best client service that we possibly can. This involves a lot of thinking through what processes we have in place now and how we can continue to refine those and scale them in the future. It’s a fantastic team full of talented people. It’s been a matter of allowing them to run with their creative ideas, providing overall guardrails, and pointing us in the right direction. My job is basically finding ways to allow the team to continue doing what they do best.
What trends are you observing in the Digital Marketing space that will become important in the next 5-10 years?
I think a big trend is that cookies are going away and that what KLIK is doing in particular, in terms of managing the funnel, is going to continue to be more and more important. I’ll let the performance team talk about that more. From a client management side, it’s going to be critically important that we’re able to share that story and continue to be on the leading edge of how those changes will impact a client’s business.
I think we’ve done an amazing job so far, but anytime that you have these seismic changes in the industry, it’s super important we partner with our clients to not only educate but demonstrate how we’re continuing to provide value. I think the education and communication piece, from a client management perspective, is going to become that much more important.
What’s a common mistake you see people make in performance marketing/media management?
A common mistake is not understanding the clients’ business and trying to put one type of account management plan or media plan across all clients. Many people in the space don’t take the time to really get to know and understand where client profitability is. This leads to misunderstanding of client needs and goals, resulting in campaigns that don’t ladder up to those goals. It’s important to know what campaigns are really going to drive the bottom line, from a client standpoint. Essentially, don’t make the mistake of trying to force a client into silos of what that particular agency does best, without really thinking through what is best for the client.
Have you made any professional pivots throughout your career?
I think a major move for me was going to Hyatt. It was the first time I was at a really large company that had many levels between both myself and those on the ground floor and up to senior leadership. It was a great opportunity for me to learn what it’s like managing larger clients and all that goes into making decisions that lead to positive business impact. Everything from sign-offs on a budget all the way through major strategic shifts—there are quite a few more hands on those decisions. It’s not as simple at startups, where we can easily move and correct from one decision to another. For large businesses, making gut decisions can be detrimental from a revenue and business standpoint.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to those looking to enter the industry?
Try to get your hands in as many different aspects of digital advertising as possible. Don’t pigeonhole yourself in only one area. You might think you have the skills in performance marketing but it turns out you’re more passionate about account management. I would encourage those early in their careers to work in places where they can get exposure to different vertices within an agency. Always have an open mind about where your career path could lead.
When you first start off, find a mentor in or out of the business that can give you great feedback on career development. You might think you’re doing a fabulous job or not meeting expectations, but it’s nice to have someone more senior talk you through it. So often when you start out, it’s really hard to self-evaluate what your strengths and weaknesses are. Having someone that can coach and guide you, as you move through your career, is super important.
What sets KLIK apart from other professional experiences you’ve had?
What sets KLIK apart is that it’s a phenomenal team. I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of fantastic teams and world-class talent. It’s fun being at an agency where performance is taken seriously. From an account director standpoint, it makes life a lot easier because I’m able to share stories of us crushing it on the performance side.
KLIK also has a great culture. While we’re competitive from a client performance standpoint, we also want everyone to succeed from a team and career standpoint.
Where can we find you outside of work?
You can find me coaching, at a Brewery or on the golf course. I enjoy exploring fun, new restaurants in Chicago, which is a great city for breweries. I’m also involved with a mentorship program in the West side of Chicago, and I volunteer as a coach for a local high school football team.
BONUS: Lightning Round
First Job? Intramural referee in college
Favorite Vacation? France and Italy for my one-year anniversary
Favorite day of the week? Thursday is a great day because you’re still in full swing with work, but it’s alright to do happy hour.
Right now, we should be watching: Chernobyl on HBO
Book(s) you’d take to a deserted island? A biography of some type. I just finished one on Einstein and am about to start one on Jeff Bezos.
Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? Usually Twitter for sports and news.
Three words to describe yourself are: Energetic, Curious, and Competitive