CLOSE-UP: ON THE CAMPAIGN COUCH ... WITH JB

Q: My reputation is spreading around town and my voicemail box is full of headhunter calls. How can I best let my head of account management know this and leverage my popularity without going to all the effort of leaving?

A: I suppose what you ask is a perfectly reasonable question - yet I wonder if you realise just what a prune it reveals you to be.

It's clear that you'd like to stay with your present agency. This must mean, presumably, that its management, at the very least, verges on the adequate. What makes you believe that they, unlike the rest of the city, are totally unaware of your burgeoning reputation?

It may well be, of course, that your own assessment of your box-office appeal, inflamed and inflated by those siren headhunters, somewhat exceeds that of your management. It is even possible that you belong to that small but significant group of people whose professional reputation resonates magnificently throughout the entire advertising village - with the single exception of their present agency, where it stinks.

But on the basis that any competent management is likely to be aware of your value, you should keep your head down, work hard - and wait for your next salary review. After that, write again if necessary.

Q: My agency has lost a whole string of big retail accounts and as a fellow marketer in the retail sector, I'm becoming very worried. I'm still happy with the agency but is this because I have low standards or are the other clients just being unfair? Either way, should I review regardless because the agency is in danger of becoming a laughing stock?

A: Nothing identifies inadequate marketing directors more decisively than a preoccupation with fashion in their choice of agencies. Twenty-something years ago, I met a particularly creepy marketing director at a non-business party. Clearly seeking to impress, he volunteered the fact that his agency (his agency) was Saatchi & Saatchi. When I asked the name of his main contact there, he became strangely evasive; and it soon became apparent that his agency wasn't, in fact, Saatchi & Saatchi at all but Dorlands - a relatively low-profile part of the Saatchi group.

Any marketing director so deficient in personal authority that he depends for esteem on his association with an advertising agency is unfit to be a marketing director.

You say you're happy with your agency. Yet you contemplate putting your business up for review because your agency is in danger of becoming a laughing stock. Because other retail clients have walked out of your agency, you suddenly begin to doubt your own judgment.

Pull yourself together, my good fellow. (I know you can't be a woman.) Being happy with your agency is rare and wonderful and a fact to be celebrated.

Their loss of other key retail clients now makes you centrally important to them. Exploit this fact. Take the agency chief executive out to lunch (you pay; this will scare him witless to begin with) and propose a benign conspiracy.

Propose that the full resources of his agency (now with some unexpected time on their hands) be put to the task of producing on your behalf the most thrilling and demonstrably stuff-shifting retail campaign since Macy's in 1957.

New riches for you; new fame for his agency; and a deeply satisfying poke in the eye for all those other retailers who so fecklessly defected.That would be an achievement you should feel free to swank about.

Q: Any ideas for a summer party? Pick another agency - preferably one you admire.

A: Establish a budget. Then each of you agrees to invent and execute the other's summer party: much more fun for both of you.

If all goes well, your staff will be delighted and you'll bask in the credit. If it's a disaster, there's a scapegoat to hand and one less agency able to poach your best people.

- Jeremy Bullmore is a former chairman of J. Walter Thompson and a director of WPP. He also writes a monthly column for Management Today. Address your problems to him at campaign@haynet.com or Campaign, 174 Hammersmith Rd, London W6 7JP.

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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).