Here Are The 5 Things I Learned from Talking to Advertising Veteran David Kelly

XX min
Aug 08, 2022


Episode #53 with David Kelly 

In episode #53 of Over a Pint Podcast good friend to the pod, David Kelly, joins us. Not only is David a warm guy and a great storyteller, but he's also a 40+ veteran in the agency world! Uh...for those of you that don't do advertising, not many get this far. You either get fired before you're ready to leave, or your liver gives out on you!

For 15-ish years I worked with him, and I wish I had some of that time back. We had a great time though and I sure did walk away with some great insights and perspectives from him. 


Key Takeaways 

#1 Build Trust with Every Client

Trust is a big and powerful force. If you have it…you can do great things with a client.

You can hold on to business during downtimes. And you can get a lot of extra business when times are good.

But building trust is a long, hard road. And with just one slip-up it could all be washed away.

So, how do you go about building and maintaining trust?

Start with this: It takes time so set expectations. This won’t happen overnight.

Next, keep your promises. Deliver when you say you are going to deliver.

And finally, stand up and take accountability when you make a mistake. Simple. But not always easy.


#2 Know Your Client’s Job — Understand Their World

David made a point about this one. If you are going to build trust, it’s important to understand your client’s job.

  • What challenges do they have?
  • How is their organization structured?
  • Who do they have to report to?
  • How are they being evaluated?
  • What’s important to them?

It comes down to this: If you are in it for the long haul, then give a damn about your clients.


#3 The Pace of Business Has Increased And It's Never Going to Slow Down

This is a reoccurring theme on our show: the speed of business is increasing. Clients demand more in shorter periods of time.

What used to take 8 weeks now needs to be done in 4. and 2 weeks would be even better.

Can’t keep up? You won’t hold on to the business very long.

Does this increase in speed come at a price? It sure does. But it’s not going to change.

This is the new game. Accept it and build it into your organization.


#4 It’s All About the Art of Give and Take

David had a lot of great lines throughout the episode. One of my favorites was: “clients don’t like to fight with their agency.”

Agencies need to understand this idea. Because at the end of the day…the client is the one cutting the checks.

Sure, they may be wrong. They might have selected the wrong campaign or gone with the safe creative…oh well.

Trying to bulldoze ideas through can work…but not for long before the client gets fed up and pulls the account.

I’ve seen it happen firsthand.

Instead, look for opportunities to test out new ideas where it makes sense. Give a little and take a little. It may not be ideal…but it is an approach that will help retain clients.


#5: At The End of The Day, It’s About the Relationships You Forge

Over the years I’ve heard my share of agency stories from David, but when he looks back on an outstanding career — it’s not the war stories that count it’s the relationship with others.

That for sure got me thinking. We spend so much time at our jobs. And all too often the relationships that seem strong and deep go out the door once a person leaves.

Keeping the connection going is a lot of work, but it sure seems worth the effort.

Thanks again, David for your time and your insights.


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