A Day in the Life of an Agency Access Research Associate
If you’re an Agency Access Researcher, a typical morning begins with waking up, rolling out of bed, heading to a computer, and logging onto Slack. After saying “good morning” to your fellow Researchers, you might think about how strange it is that the team has been working completely remotely since November! You also might wonder if you left anything perishable in the break-room fridge. After praying you didn’t, it’s time to get to work.
We start our work day by logging into our database, ARS. This is the system that allows us to add companies, creative contacts, and important information about the individuals our members are sending their work to. Here, we review which companies are “due” for an update. We review and split the work evenly—between our small team, we review hundreds of companies per day.
“What does a Researcher do for me?”
We are the ones adding companies and contacts to the database! We work hard to make sure that all information listed is correct. Being that agency information is constantly changing - we verify our data every 90 days to ensure that our members are getting the most accurate data possible..
Every company in our database—from The Wall Street Journal to Del Taco— has four important elements: their corporate address, their phone number, their email addresses, and their creative points of contact.
We affirm the corporate address to make sure that when our artists mail over physical prints, like direct mail or special projects, that it ends up in the right hands. Sometimes companies move locations, so we have to contact the company to make sure we still have the correct address. More recently, some companies have gone fully remote for the duration of COVID, so in these cases, we write a note in our system to let our members know they will only receive emails, not physical mail sSave the postage for someone else!)
This brings us to how we verify the phone number. Our main mode of contacting these companies is to simply call and ask! However, a company we call today may not have a working phone number three months from now. Sometimes we’ll call a number that previously worked perfectly, only to discover that it is now disconnected. Is the company still operational? This is when we need to set that company aside and do a fully comprehensive check. Whether that be by emailing the contacts we have available, scanning the company website, or trudging through Google, we almost always emerge triumphant with a new and correct phone number. Occasionally, a company will simply confirm that they no longer offer phone support, and that’s good information too!
This brings us to emails and why confirming working emails is essential; not just for us to be able to verify company information, but for our members to be able to digitally send out their work confidently; knowing the creative they intended to see it, is actually on the receiving end. If an email that previously worked now suddenly bounces back, this doesn’t mean the employee is no longer with the company. Most of the time, a company will change its email format for its employees. For simplicity’s sake, I’ll make up a company: “Hello Reader.” Maybe Hello Reader’s email format for its employees was always firstname.lastname@example.org. But if they merge with another company, get bought out, or their company name changes, their new email format could be different. It could change to something like email@example.com! It’s also important to note that some emails will be different depending on the job title the point of contact has. Perhaps the CEO’s email is just firstname.lastname@example.org instead of the standard email@example.com like the rest of the employees.
Now, I've said "points of contact" quite a bit; allow me to explain what I mean. Points of contact are the people we’re trying to put you in touch with. Take note of people with “Core Titles;” these are the creatives that will increase your chances of getting a response:
Art Producer — Someone who purchases art specifically based on how tailored it is to their clients’ needs.
Art Director — An individual who leads an art team in order to accomplish the creative vision/aesthetic being aimed for.
Creative Director — A team leader who manages most aspects of a creative campaign, usually dictating everything from artistic storytelling to means of production.
Design Director — An important member of the art team who conducts individual design elements for a larger project.
Editor-in-Chief — The manager of any publication who oversees and approves creative decisions made by the editorial team.
Marketing Manager — A director in charge of a company’s branding, who works with a creative team to control advertising choices.
Photo Manager — A studio runner who tends to direct photographers and organize a company’s creative photography portfolio.
Production Manager — A senior operator who ensures the creative values of a production (videographers, photographs, set design, etc.) all come to fruition.
Social Media Manager — The head of online operations which greatly contribute to a company’s branding and advertising.
Producers — Aside from aiding in the creative vision, Producers are responsible for assigning what creative elements (and individuals) a production will need.
Creative Operations (or Creative Services) Manager — A company’s creative controller who keeps track of every artistic tool or individual they may need to contract.
What we’ve found is that anyone in a “Manager” or “Director” position is usually a strong point of contact.
Another important part of a Researcher's job is to make sure that the creatives our members are trying to get in touch with are still with their respective companies. We confirm contacts based on the following pieces of evidence: they’ve got a working email, an up-to-date Linkedin page, they’re in their company’s phone directory, or they’re on the company website. We’ll typically confirm them if they meet two out of the four requirements.
After we’ve gone through every company that was due for an update, we move onto our secondary tasks of the day: reviewing/updating international companies, adding contacts, or adding companies we think would be great for all of you—or ones YOU request!
That’s right! As a member, you’re able (and happily encouraged) to submit any company you’d like us to add. All you need to do is send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, with a list of companies you’d like us to look into (but be sure to double-check to see if those companies are already in the database before you submit—they may be live and ready for you!)
The Research Department at Agency Access is dedicated to helping you land that dream gig, so if your dream company isn’t in our database, don’t ever hesitate to reach out to your friends: the Researchers.