Had there never been a film made of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” it would still be my favorite musical for many reasons not relevant to this post. However, when placed in the hands of the most talented director Norman Jewison, who directed such masterpieces as “The Thomas Crown Affair,” “The Cincinnati Kid,” and “In The Heat Of The Night,” JCS was elevated to “movie epic” status for me.
When adapting a stage play for film, the director is faced with the challenge of how to “raise the curtain” on the action since he/she has to substitute some sort of active sequence in that place. Most directors would start the film with the characters “already in character”…however, Jewison makes a different, and IMO, brilliant choice. In the first 5 minutes of the film, he shows an old school bus filled with the actors being transported to the middle of the desert. He then shows the characters getting ready for the performance and the sets being created. Then, as Carl Anderson (in the role of Judas) walks up the hill, the viewer can see the entire cast become fully transformed into their roles. The first musical piece in JCS is called “Overture,” and Jewison uses that instrumental as a vehicle for transforming reality into stage performance.
As I watch this most innovative film sequence, I see incredible parallels between it and my agency routine. My clients see the finished product of my efforts…a combination of reports, analysis, and conversation that shows progress and success in fulfilling their paid search requirements. However, clients frequently don’t see what goes behind the scenes that goes into the creation of the deliverables and commentary that is shared with them.
All my clients get weekly reports custom-designed for their needs in advanced of the phone conversations, with custom data pulls available on request. Reports are created in advance of the weekly meetings, and behind the scenes, plenty of discussion and interplay between myself and the production staff takes place during the creation process. The data in these reports drives a portion of the meeting agenda, which is always created in advance of the meeting and is sent to the client.
Other important discussion points are also included in the agenda that might not be reflected in the reports. Agendas are guides to the meeting but aren’t meant to replace the spontaneity of the conversation as ultimately, the meetings are to serve the client needs, and we’ll discuss and take action upon whatever is most important to them. During the meeting, I present and discuss the relevant information that I’ve worked through prior to the conversation.
However, I draw from many external elements as I get myself “into character” prior to my client interactions. There’s the normal email conversations that have taken place between myself and the client during the previous week. There’s my monitoring of the accounts…both the “routine and regular” monitoring, and the “jazz” that occurs when I see something unique and interesting in the data, and like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, I travel down an unknown path to see what I come up with and what insights I can derive that can benefit the client. There’s the external conversations with other members of my team…the production staff (as previously discussed)…the other members of our company who either ask questions or share insights via email…the weekly internal meetings we have either in big or small groups where we go over issues in a more personal basis…the reading in my RSS Reader from our two PPC Associates blogs and other relevant publications in our industry…and the social media conversations I have with other very smart industry colleagues and friends who know and share tidbits of information that either I might not know or that I might know but, seen in a different light, gives me insights that I might not already have.
So, when I’m in my role of “Senior Account Manager,” I’m drawing from a large number of sources that helps me perform in such a way that meets client expectations. The client only sees the end product of my efforts. However, the deliverables that I offer as part of my customer service are actually a gumbo-like fusion of my entire industry experience as it relates to the client’s account filtered through the prism of the past week’s account performance. Hopefully, I got the seasoning just right :.)
- Todd Mintz, Sr. Account Manager