“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”
– Vince Lombardi
We have football on the brain at TJA. We just concluded our inaugural agency fantasy football season (congrats, Riley!) and Super Bowl LVI is here. While we’re gearing up for a weekend of snacks, beer, football and hilarious commercials, we’re thinking a ton about how marketing agencies are built a lot like football teams.
Each department has a purpose, made up of specific positions that all bring unique skills to the field. Each role targets a specific agency goal. There’s a lot of preparation, research and training involved before game time-including knowing who our opponents are, how to win with strategy, and sometimes, how to learn from losses.
Football is a simple game, but this metaphor needs a break down. Hike!
Quarterback – Account Managers
The QB is running the show, in more ways than one. They’re play-callers, decision makers and number generators. They stand tall at the line of scrimmage, coaching the team through difficult situations and recognizing the resources at their disposal.
At TJA, our account managers are our QBs. They continuously monitor our clients’ YOY trends, resources and personnel, managing our people in response to optimize success. Tough decisions, quick thinking, lots of face time-it all comes with the account manager territory and it certainly isn’t for everyone. Our account managers keep communication strong between our clients and internal team members, helping the entire agency identify opportunities to strike and put points on the board.
Offensive Line – Project Managers
Next up, the offensive line-our project managers. Their main objective: protection. In football, the offensive line blocks against the defense, giving the quarterback time to assess the situation and make plays. It can be an overlooked position, but an incredibly important one for the success of the team.
At the agency, our project managers do a lot of work behind the scenes to protect our projects. They make sure our work gets completed on time and schedules don’t get overloaded. Project managers work in tandem with account managers and the internal team to ensure workloads are stable, deadlines are being met and clients are happy.
Wide Receivers – Creatives
A football team’s wide receiver corps is usually made up of superstars: an array of highly competitive, talented personalities who aren’t afraid of the spotlight. When it comes to the game, they’re fast off the line, aggressive in coverage and they create opportunities for the QB to gash the secondary and find the end zone.
It’s no surprise that TJA’s WRs are creatives. These graphic designers, art directors and production designers are high-profile, exciting roles in the agency that require a lot of training and talent. These skill positions impress clients, win new business and generate breathtaking content. They know how to solve problems and meet our goals by providing a wide set of deliverables like brand development, website design, social media animation and more.
Running Backs – Copywriters
Deep behind the line of scrimmage, the running back lies in wait. When the QB hands them the ball, the line of scrimmage becomes a breakneck point of attack. Head down, full of steam, running backs plow their way into defensive lines, relentlessly establishing a foundation of offensive power for the rest of the team to lean on.
It’s classic football wisdom: run game first, passing game second.
Enter copywriters. Written content producers are experts at establishing foundational messaging, aligning headlines with a brand’s aspirational tone and giving clarity to project creative. Often working under the radar, copywriters dream up creative ideas for other skill positions like graphic designers and social media managers to take to even greater heights.
So how about we establish some new-age marketing wisdom: Write first. Design second.
Tight Ends – Media Team
Other than being an innuendo we just can’t stop laughing at, tight ends on a football team are hybrid players who do a little of everything on an offense. Anywhere from one to three TEs can be utilized in a play for extra run blocking, blitz defense, chain moving, late-read catch options and more. As such, there’s no perfect formula for how TE’s look and work. They adapt to their team however they need to get the job done.
At TJA, this is our media team. They work with just about everyone to help us win the day. They work with project managers to strategize timelines and budgets to optimize client investments. They work with creative to cater a media strategy and produce ads that hit target audiences. They work with account managers to design knock-your-pants-off presentations that flex analytics and data to bring marketing efforts down to Earth.
Simply put, they do it all. And we definitely wouldn’t be on the board without them.
Defense – Digital Team
We’ve covered a lot of positions, but we’re missing an entire side of the ball: defense. A talented defense is built with a lot of specialized positions to battle different offensive packages. They’re resourceful, flexible and tough, focusing all their attention on preventing damage and capitalizing on small windows of opportunity.
TJA’s defense is undoubtedly our digital team. They’re not only responsible for crafting and executing beautiful, functional websites, but also for keeping them functional. Maintenance is a harrowing job-it requires preventing disruptions and errors across all our clients’ sites, as well as making updates whenever necessary.
Here’s some more sage football wisdom: “Defenses win championships.”
Whenever we’re lucky enough to hoist a shiny trophy, our web team definitely had a hand in it.
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That was one hail-mary of a metaphor. But at the end of every metaphor is a lesson. TJA is like a football team because we value teamwork. Everyone has specialties, perspectives and skills to help one another-and we win big when we work together.