We’re back again with our latest installment of “What We Know Now,” where we ask fellow Hansonites to reflect on their careers. Most recently we’ve talked to Account Director Michael Hirsh and Director of New Business Development Craig Hagenbuch. Today, we’re talking to Account Manager Kate Whetsel.
Sally: Before you came to Hanson, you worked in client services for a media measurement and analytics company that provided marketing data to other companies. Did you always know you wanted to work in the client services field?
Kate: I was a marketing and leadership major in college, and I think I always knew I wanted to work in account management in some way. My dad was in sales for most of his career, and he’s been a huge influence on pretty much everything I’ve done. He actually got into digital when it first came about. And actually it’s funny because at my first job I worked with my dad’s direct competitor!
Sally: How ironic! So how did your previous experience prepare you for agency life here at Hanson?
Kate: My first job was a good start for me because it was more of a vendor role, whereas an agency is all about being a partner and an extension of a brand. So I was able to get great, broad exposure to different facets of the digital marketing industry. Once I came here, I got more ingrained in agency life and learned what actually happens with data and analytics. I started to see how data guides digital strategies and initiatives, and quickly discovered while that data at my previous job was my whole world, here it’s only a piece of a puzzle that includes other insights.
Sally: What’s something that surprised you when you first started working in client services?
Kate: The learning curve in digital is huge. There is so much to learn at the beginning and it can be overwhelming, but when you realize you can’t always know everything and that this industry is constantly changing, you realize just how much you can handle and can learn how to adjust to a fast-paced work environment.
Sally: How important is it to develop strong client relationships?
Kate: It’s very important because in order to provide the best solutions you really need to understand the needs. Clients can be wary to open up all the way, but if they hold back, your recommendations can only go so far. But when they share a lot, you can provide more holistic solutions and build an extremely beneficial partnership. A lot depends on good communication.
Sally: What advice would you give to someone going into client services?
Kate: Always be open to learning. Turn to news, podcasts, books, or any other resources that are helpful. At the same time, tapping into people around you is important. So look for mentors and people in your field that can guide you. I’ve had my dad, who has had a huge impact on my early career, and have colleagues now with years’ more experience, so I’ve always been surrounded by people that can help me learn and grow—you just have to be open to it. Be willing to ask questions and be proactive.
And organization is huge! To start my week, I spend 30 minutes in the morning planning my to-do list and organizing priorities instead of immediately diving in. I try to be diligent about staying true to this list, which makes my week so much more productive.
Sally: Is there anything you know now that you wish you’d known at the start of your career?
Kate: I think if there was something I would tell my previous self, it’s that you’re never going to know everything. You’re always going to be learning something new. And that’s exciting to me, that’s what I like about client services specifically. Things are always progressing and you have to adapt, but that’s what makes it rewarding at the same time.