Lenovo’s Vice President, Global Marketing, Quinn O’Brien has worked in marketing for over 25 years. Having seen the world through both agency and client’s eyes, his Shiny New Object is the changing role of agencies. 

When Quinn was growing up, he was aiming to become a lawyer – not just a lawyer, however, but a specific fictional character from LA Law. He calls his one of his biggest career screw-ups: essentially picking a career not for what it was or what he could bring to the table, but for what it looked like on-screen. Thankfully, a career adviser turned him around and on to marketing, which ended up his true vocation. 

His first and most important piece of advice for students, especially in light of the importance of having good counselling, is to choose their first job and manager well: “Worry a lot less about what company you work for, what your title and salary is, and worry a lot more about who you work for,” he says.

Having a good boss who has your back and helps you acclimate to the working world is priceless.

Quinn’s Shiny New Object reflects his background in both agency and in-house marketing: the changing role of agencies. As more ex-agency marketers have moved in-house, Quinn believes agencies are scrambling to show their true value when pitching to clients. He also warns that clients are nowadays more assertive and want to go through a consultative conversation about their business as a whole before committing to work with an agency.

This is why trust is essential. Getting through to meetings with your ideal customers should rely on networking and being referred by other clients, to build that initial trust. 

To find out more about Quinn’s career path, his view on having the “wow” factor in marketing, and his advice for switching to consultative selling as a marketing agency, listen to the podcast here