I reached out to Jason Prance of Swarm Agency for insight into the corporate world of marketing. Jason is the VP of Accounts & Strategy at Swarm Agency which is located in the greater Atlanta area. He is also part of the UGA Digital Marketing Executive Board, which contributes to developing programs that support the Terry College of Business.
I first asked him – “How did you hear about the Swarm Agency, and why did you choose to work for them?”
Jason – “In 2014, I was working in the digital group of a larger more traditional agency working with large CPG brands. While our digital group was strong, there were some challenges of the digital team reaching it’s full potential when the rest of the agency was still thinking traditionally. I started looking for an all-digital marketing agency and that’s when I found Swarm. Someone I actually used to work with reached out to me and after a second interview that may have involved beer, I was hired.”
This is a great example for showcasing the importance of networking with fellow coworkers, as well as fellow undergrads in our case, because it’s much easier to get your foot in the door of a company where one of your friend already works.
I then asked him – “What has been your favorite project that you have worked on while at Swarm?”
Jason – “My favorite project at Swarm was when I jokingly pitched a crazy idea to our client and they actually bought it. College Football Hall of Fame was looking for a fun Halloween event and I said “wouldn’t it be cool if we had football player and cheerleader zombies roaming around the halls and they did a flashmob dance to Michael Jackson’s Thriller?” The next thing I knew, we were working with make-up artists, choreographers, and a film crew which resulted in a fun and memorable event for fan attendees and also did well on social.”
It never hurts to put all of your ideas on the table when working with a client; you never know what ideas could make a big impact!
My next question was – “What is the biggest change from a classroom setting to real life business practices when it comes to working at a digital marketing agency?”
Jason – “Well, this is awkward… I went to Georgia State University and I dropped out in my sophomore year. I started my own business as a freshman and was fortunate enough to be able to sell my small company and work at a startup for 10 years which allowed me to learn every aspect of business, marketing, operations, and IT. From what I do remember in college, I would say the biggest change is getting yourself past focusing on how much you need to know about something. Most of the time, what you think is going to happen doesn’t. And that’s ok. Instead, be really good at asking questions and always start with Why. It’s the single most important question to start with that will help lead you to the simplest solution that matters the most.”
I believe that his response was very accurate. You will never be fully prepared for a new job, but if you are willing to ask questions to get the job done and act on the given responses with an open mind, then you will be well on your way to being successful in your line of work.
To end our interview I asked Jason – “What separates Swarm from other digital marketing agencies?”
Jason – “Nobody has a culture like ours and if I could bottle it up and sell it for a fortune, I wouldn’t. It’s too unique and special. I come to work every day looking forward to being with talented like-minded people. Many agencies can be cut-throat and cold-hearted but we are not. How we approach new clients and grow existing accounts is different too. We don’t have sales people and we don’t sell our clients on anything that isn’t right for their business. We are strategic first and creative where it counts. We measure only what matters the most and that includes building strong relationships with our clients and doing meaningful work.”
Interviewing Jason provided great insight into the modern day corporate agency world. He gave a lot of valuable information for anyone aspiring to join the corporate marketing field. The key takeaways I gathered from our interview were: Network with your peers, don’t be afraid to pitch “crazy” ideas, don’t be scared to ask questions and be open minded when working in the real world, and not every agency is cut-throat, there still exists welcoming ones! I would like to thank Mr. Prance for taking the time to conduct this interview with me, and I hope it gave valuable insight for anyone looking into the marketing sector!