What I learnt from being a Tutor at Spikes Asia Digital Academy

4 min read.

I was a tutor at Spikes academy for the second year but this year I was tutoring my favorite academy: Digital marketing.

When I talk to people about Spikes and the digital academy, I realized that not everybody knows what this is about, so let me give a bit of context. I spent 3 days locked in a room with about 20 young professionals who want to learn more about digital marketing. The digital academy is organized by Spikes and happens at the same time as the festival, hence the name, Spikes Asia Digital Academy.

I strongly believe in the power of 3, therefore let me share with you 3 things that I learnt during these 3 amazing days!

1. Give me an App

These 20 talented young professionals that I tutored are all coming from agencies, creative and media agencies. No need to say that they are always under pressure to do more for less, are not time rich and on top of that the world of technology is growing exponentially which adds another challenge for them.

It means that they are constantly looking for shortcuts or ways that can help them manage their day to day better and deliver better work to their clients. Some examples of where they are looking for help are: how to find new relevant technologies, how to increase knowledge in digital marketing, how to have clients adopt more creative ideas and innovations? All these are very valid questions and challenges that these young professionals are facing daily. What struck me is that they are all asking for shortcuts, resources, recipes for answering these challenges. In other words, like an App that can solve these challenges. However, I can tell you, there are no Apps answering these challenges! I would love that it exists but there is nothing like that. The only thing that there is, is you. You, finding new ways of doing things, spending time to step back and try to solve challenges. In my previous example about finding new technologies, it is for example about contacting accelerators around the world and see which Adtech companies they work with that could be relevant to clients.

2. I change the agency?

When you work in an agency you work hard and play hard. It is a fun environment to work in but it also comes with its set of issues. For example, the bigger the agency the more silos you have between teams and less collaboration. People don’t know how to collaborate between teams. People don’t have time to expand their knowledge as much as they wish. People don’t know who to meet to be up to speed on the next trends.

All of these issues are not new to agencies but they are becoming more and more present as agency people have less time than before to focus on things that are not vital or client related.

The agency is a people business, therefore it belongs to the people. It is up to agency people to reinvent the agency model, whatever level you are at: a director or an executive. The young professionals should feel empowered to suggest and make the necessary changes to make the agency a better place and ultimately the client will benefit from it. Don’t think that because you are a junior person you can’t change things. Yes, you can! You can change the way it works.

3. My piece of advice

I was impressed by the passion for the advertising industry that the people in my academy showed. It was alive and kicking! It should continue to be like that but this energy should also be used to change the established processes.

I would recommend young professionals to dip their toes at startups and tech companies where they will learn how to disrupt, look at problems from a different angle and how to be super flexible. All of these essential skills in the world we live in now, cannot be learnt in traditional agencies. You need to get in the tranches, do things and learn. The theory that you would learn at big companies is only one side of the coin and less valuable than the practice.

Once you do that for few years then if you decide to come back to the traditional agencies, you will bring invaluable experience that will help you change the traditional agencies.

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