September 20, 2019

A Day in the Life of an Associate Creative Director

Colored pencils

Throughout this year, we’ve been celebrating Intouch’s 20th anniversary. We’ve grown so much over the past two decades — from a humble home office staffed by a team of three to four locations in major U.S. cities and a European presence! We’re nearly one-thousand strong now, and we intend to keep on growing.

One of the key ingredients to our growth and continued success is — obviously! — our employees. It’s been said before, but it’s worth saying again: none of this would be possible without the talented people who work here. At the time of this writing, there are thirty-six open positions in our four U.S. offices, several of which are for “creatives,” which is why, for this edition of Day in the Life, we talked with Elke Mermis, an associate creative director in the KC office. Read on to learn about what she does each day!

What field did you work in before you joined Intouch, and how long have you been in marketing?
I’ve been working in the ad agency world for about eight years, largely focused on consumer brands, travel and pharmaceuticals. Before that, I worked as the music editor for Kansas City’s local alternative weekly paper, The Pitch, reviewing shows and writing features on local and national musicians.

How is working in pharma marketing different than you expected when you started here?
I didn’t realize the amount of straight-up learning I’d be doing about pharmaceuticals – both the industry and the way that these products work! (Now that I write that down, it’s kind of an obvious realization … but it’s true.) I always loved biology; so I like getting to dig into the science of how these products work.

How would you describe your job to someone who isn’t in the marketing/advertising field?
At a 40,000 foot view: creating things that make communicating about health easier. “Health” can have a lot of meanings, and there are many ways that it’s interpreted across our portfolio, but that’s the easiest way to summarize the wide depth and breadth of strategies and materials that we create.

What are your typical responsibilities and challenges — what’s your average day like?
As a writer, I’m responsible for the messaging for all of the pieces and projects that I work on. I collaborate with my creative partners from an art background to solve problems, and then I help present those solutions to our clients.

How often do you interact with clients, and in what capacity?
At least every week – almost every day. We’re always presenting and advocating for creative work. Speaking in person and on the phone is a great way to build a relationship. Presentations can be nerve-wracking when you’re not used to them, but being able to speak to the intention and thought behind your work is a great way to learn.

What type of a personality/disposition or skill(s) do you think is best suited for your job?
Resilience is key – no matter what form that comes in. If you’re flexible, hard-working and enjoy a challenge, you’ll do well, because in creative, you’re never really sure what pivot, curveball or new piece of information is coming next. (And of course, a great sense of humor is always welcome, too.)

What do you find most challenging about your position?
In an industry like pharmaceutical marketing, there’s definitely a learning curve. Doing the homework to figure out how to effectively communicate to patients and healthcare providers can be a lot of work – but if you like learning, it can also be a lot of fun.

Any advice for people interested in getting into a role like yours, or advertising/marketing in general?
One of the things I love most about my role is finding ways to solve problems – small copy solves or big brand-strategy questions. My advice: Learn to love the challenge.

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Are you someone who loves a challenge? Check out our jobs page and see if there’s something that inspires you!