Integrated Agency Blog

From the Eyes of an Intern: Phoenix Marketing Agency FabCom – Week 4

​As an underclassman, I am still uncertain of what I see myself passionately pursuing for a 40-year career once I graduate. My old coach and now first new business mentor, marketing agency CEO Brian Fabiano, created this internship position for this specific scenario. As a top Phoenix advertising agency, he wanted to provide a “balanced” and holistic first impression of the marketing industry and how it applies to business in general. The “internship program” at this strategic integrated marketing agency, was designed for me to experience various sides of the diversified, integrated and highly fragmented marketing and advertising landscape. Until this week, I have been immersed in the marketing world from the viewpoint of industry experts from one of the top strategic marketing firms in the Southwest. This week, however, I was given a wonderful opportunity to see another perspective: the client’s.

At the commencement of my internship, I was assigned as an intern to three client accounts: a medical billing company, a technology-focused university and a postgraduate medical university. This assignment required that I attend each of FabCom’s weekly marketing and advertising meetings with these three clients. The agency’s internship also included a day shadowing the CEO or CMO of each company in order to get a feel for how the client prepares for the meetings with their marketing and advertising agency. That being said, this week I was able to observe a very well respected leader manage his business, company and personnel in what seemed an effortless manner. It was inspiring to watch him lead.

The President and CEO of the University of Advancing Technology (UAT), Jason Pistillo, invited me to spend the day and shadow him as he worked through his packed schedule. Not only was this a wonderful learning opportunity, it was an incredible experience to be able to see how one of the Phoenix Business Journal’s Top 40 under 40 performs and manages this leading local prestigious private university.

Most of the day, I attended executive meetings, one-on-one marketing team meetings and even acted as “a fly on the wall” during an interview. What I found to be the most interesting meeting was the in-house marketing manager session in preparation for the client’s meeting with the marketing agency the next day. It was here I was able to see some of the startling differences between an in-house marketing team and a full service integrated marketing agency: the way they think, the way they interact and the resources as well as the experiences they pull from to navigate issues (to be discussed further in a future blog post).

During the remainder of my day with Mr. Pistillo at this remarkably impressive university, I was submerged into a completely different business world. I watched him exercise various management skills and was impressed by the many theories and tactics he demonstrated in his everyday interactions. One thing in particular, which he illuminated for more thought, was the idea of force ranking. Force ranking is a manner of prioritizing (used in marketing and advertising and most other professions). It is the idea that, when faced with too much to do and too little time, a prioritization mechanism must be used.

Mr. Pistillo detailed two main ways to force rank. The first one is the idea that when assessing a task, the task’s worth and effort required (based on difficulty and time) must be assessed on two separate 1-10 scales. By doing this, one can evaluate each and every task and order them. It teaches that when something is worth very little (1-4) but requires more effort (8-10), it can be put aside for later. He also added that a low-worth task requiring high effort can afford to be accomplished with a lower effort due to its lack of worth.

The second force ranking method is by ranking all actions or jobs on a one through four scale. A rating of one means that the task is both urgent and important, a two is important but not yet urgent, a three is urgent but not important and a four is neither important nor urgent at the moment. In doing this, the ones and twos get accomplished first before the threes and fours, if they are even reached. This style is explained more in depth in Stephen R. Covey’s book entitled The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

In addition to this time management strategy, I examined how he interacted with his staff and team. I was intrigued by how he could treat and speak to each of his personnel differently. When I asked him about it, he explained that much of his people managing skills and theories stem from another management book called Leadership and the One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard. The main concept the book teaches, situational leadership, is that a manager must be diverse in how he treats his staff. Each individual person needs to be spoken to and worked with differently based on their personality, experience, competency, commitment and position. Time and time again I witnessed meetings conducted both efficiently and effectively, although it was the strength of each relationship he had built that I found to be incredible. It is for this reason that I feel he has been and has become extremely successful at such a young age.

There is much more I could write solely from my day with this insightful, young and powerful CEO making a difference everyday for so many, however it would probably take me through my next blog. I know that I am not supposed to mention clients or brands by name on this blog but, after having cleared it with both the client and the agency team, an exception has been made.

Overall, I’m really excited to begin leveraging many of the things I’ve been learning at both the FabCom office as well as with some of the long-term client agency relationships.