Building Your Team: Critical Traits for Agency Professionals

PandaOne of the hardest aspects of running an agency is finding and retaining top talent.

This is especially true in today’s evolving marketing landscape. Not only do professionals need solid business and client service skills, but they also need to be able to adapt to changing marketing strategies as technology innovations shift consumer behaviors.

As we’ve discovered in our own hiring process, hybrid marketers are rare—kind of like our friend, the Panda. 🙂

So, what are the critical traits of agency professionals? What are those golden skills and personalities for which everyone is vying? We turned to the Marketing Agency Insider community for their insight. Here’s what they had to say.

What are the Most Critical Traits in an Agency Professional?

“It is critical for agencies to possess talent who have a real-world understanding of today’s business challenges. They need to know the trenches and relate to the challenges business leaders face every day.”Todd Reding (@tlreding), chief marketing officer, Spindustry


“Marketing professionals must be ambitious, driven and have passion for the industry. It’s with this [that] they will continue to gain new up-to-date knowledge and skills to better their performance. It’s imperative to have strong language skills, both written and verbal, but most importantly to have a thirst for knowledge and willingness to take risks. Personally, I don’t think marketing professionals need to be educated to university or college degree level, as I believe everyone has greatness in them. It’s just working hard and using opportunities to release potential.” — Kevin Gallagher (@kevinjgallagher), founder, Stargazer Digital


The best marketing agency professionals are naturally interested in everything! They have an insatiable curiosity and a desire to know how things work and why. This trait makes them quick learners. Even though they are generalists, they are able to understand a wide variety of client business strategies and can help market even the most unusual products and services.” — Clarke Bishop (@inboundteam), web traffic generator and lead converter, Inbound Team


Transparency. In order for the relationship between an agency and client to prosper, there has to be complete transparency between them […] An agency professional must also learn how to focus on making the client’s goals their main focus of success, not tasks and activity.”Eric Baum (@Eric_Baum), CEO and founder, BluLeadz Inbound Marketing


“Agency professionals must be aware of how their behavior affects others around them. Body language, tone of voice and facial expressions can communicate more loudly than the words spoken. Great professionals don’t transfer stress onto others. They learn how to work effectively during stressful situations. Another trait is the ability to quickly and effectively process enormous amounts of information. Agency professionals need a reliable process for discerning what matters most and avoid getting sidetracked by the wrong stuff.”Laura Kinoshita (@lkinoshita), president and client services director, Kinoshita Communications LLC


“I consider being a great listener one of the most critical traits of a marketing agency professional.  In everything that we do, we need to be listening—whether it’s listening to our clients’ needs, or listening to the needs of our clients’ prospects and customers. Without that critical trait, we’re blindly putting things out there to see what sticks. It also requires us to know how to properly use analytics tools. We must be well-versed in a variety of analytics tools and know what to look for, in order to be great online listeners.”Katie Gutwein (@kbkcomm), director of marketing and social media, KBK Communications


Add your thoughts to the discussion in the comments below, or check out the ebook, The Evolution of the Prototype Marketer, for our take.

Image Source: George Lu

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