| Job Search |

So, You Want to Be a…Marketing Agency Director

Marketing professionals research, develop, and implement strategies and techniques to attract customers to their clients’ businesses and grow them further

What will I be doing all day?

Marketing professionals research, develop, and implement strategies and techniques to attract customers to their clients’ businesses and grow them further. They do this by monitoring and analyzing market trends, and creating advertising campaigns through multi-channel media, including print, digital, social media, content, ads, and more. The director of a marketing agency will oversee a team that may include a graphic designer, copywriter, web developer, SEO specialist, social media manager, photographer, videographer, and more, ensuring that the marketing strategy and messaging is carried through consistently, efficiently, and successfully.

What kind of schooling do I need?

While no formal degree is necessary, it can be helpful to earn a BA or MA in marketing, business administration, or a related field. However, most training in this field comes from experience acquired on the job.

Do I have the personality for it?

A good marketing executive is creative, original, flexible, and able to think out of the box. They are also skilled communicators, empathetic, and good at listening and connecting with others as well as understanding clients’ thoughts, emotions, and needs. In addition, they need to be organized and have good time management skills.

What can I expect to make?

As business owners, profits can fluctuate greatly, but earning potential in this field is quite large. The head of a marketing agency can easily build himself up to earning over $100,000 within two years, and grow exponentially from there.


Yitzchok Saftlas
Flatbush, New York
CEO, Bottom Line Marketing Group, Brooklyn
Years in Field: 30+


My Typical Day at Work

On a daily basis, I deal with clients from the corporate world, nonprofit world, or yeshivos, and all of them have a vision, a dream. As I constantly share with my team, our vision is the client’s vision. Our firm then applies our creativity and strategy to execute their vision and achieve the bottom line for the client. While bottom line often connotes making money, it’s not necessarily about money — it’s about results. Our goal is to most effectively communicate our clients’ message/goal/product to the masses, so that people will understand their dream and feel it as well.

In a typical week, I focus about 40 percent of my time on our current clients, which includes meeting directly with the clients themselves and giving our team direction and guidance. Thirty percent of my time is spent on direct sales, including meetings, Zoom calls, phone calls, and more. It’s important for us to identify if a client is a good fit and if we can genuinely help them. We won’t take on a client whom we don’t feel is a good fit for who we are and what we do. And the other 30 percent of my time is focused on company vision and growth — developing new ideas and new channels for our own marketing, such as my weekly broadcast radio show, which I started in 2015, and which is currently on 710 WOR/iHeartRadio.

A company needs a great team on the frontlines; that’s what enables the CEO to focus on vision. We have 20 staff members, and we pride ourselves on running a managed workflow. While it’s not unusual in this industry to work until ten p.m. on a regular basis, I have an aversion to that. Our team members are blessed with families and want to spend time with them! We work regular hours and respect our staff’s boundaries. That’s why we have such great retention.

How I Chose the Profession

I always enjoyed the marketing/design/writing space; in camp I worked on the banners in color war, and while learning in Adelphia Yeshivah, I worked on a weekly Torah publication, together with Chaskel Bennett. When I was ready to pursue a career, I got a scholarship from YU to train in design.

However, I received my real training during the three years that I worked for ArtScroll from ’89–’92. I had the zechus to work under three great giants and incredible visionaries: Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz, Rabbi Shia Brander, and Rabbi Nosson Sherman. I learned so much from them.

How I Chose My Specialty

Our client base is approximately 60 percent non-profits, many of which reach out to us for larger campaigns and milestone campaigns (e.g., a 50th anniversary), or overall branding and positioning campaigns. The other 40 percent are corporate clients, primarily for lead generation, retention, and branding.

What I Love Most about the Field

Helping people achieve their dreams and goals on a massive scale. Often clients will come to us with a great product or mission but only a limited client base. By using marketing strategies for lead generation and building community awareness, we’re able to exponentially increase their reach and impact.

I also feel privileged to interact with great visionaries, such as Rav Dovid Hofstedter from Dirshu, whom we’ve had the zechus to service as a client for many years. L’havdil, through my show I’ve also interviewed some very big Fortune 500 superstars like John Sculley, former CEO of Apple, and Beth Comstock, former vice chair of General Electric.

What I Find Most Challenging about the Field

It can be frustrating when we develop a really creative campaign, and the client summarily rejects it. It’s often an emotional reaction, not based on sound judgment, but at the end of the day, he’s the client, and, as every businessman knows, the client’s always right — even when he may not be.

Another challenge in this field is that it can take a long time to see results. Marketing is like planting seeds; you’d never stick seeds in the ground and then wake up the next morning and say, “I don’t see anything growing; this was a waste of money.” Clients need to be patient in order to see results. All marketing experts agree about that, but when you tell that to a client, it can sound a bit self-serving, like you’re just trying to convince him to spend more money on more campaigns.

I’ll Never Forget When

I remember sitting in a meeting years ago, hoping to land a prestigious account. The meeting ran around two hours, at the end of which the client, John Fernandez, turned to me and said, “Yitzchok, you must not be a very busy guy.” I was taken aback, but asked why he thought so. He responded, “Because for two hours you didn’t get one phone call or email!” I told him my phone had buzzed numerous times. “But I didn’t take the calls,” I said, “because I was with you.” On the spot he said, “Yitzchok, you got the account.”

Something I Wish People Knew About Marketing Professionals

As the great marketing guru David Ogilvy said, if you’re hiring an ad agency, let them do their thing. When a good marketing firm creates a concept, it’s not just graphics — there’s a strategy behind it. Imagine if someone goes to a big-name accounting firm and then questions their results — “I have a calculator, I also know how to add numbers.” Just because someone says they can write or create graphics doesn’t mean they have the marketing experience and know-how to engage clients.

How I’ve Seen the Field Change Over the Years

There’s been tremendous change in the industry in the past 30 years, primarily due to technological advances. I remember when I was training in design in 1989 and they brought in that very first Mac, and my professor said, “This is the future of graphic design.” And everyone was like, wow!

Along those lines, here’s a powerful lesson I learned from Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz. In the 1980s, ArtScroll invested many hundreds of thousands of dollars into new typesetting equipment. A few years later, when Rabbi Zlotowitz saw the Macs and PCs coming out and doing a better job than the expensive equipment that he’d invested hundreds of thousands into, he embraced it. It was a huge mussar haskel for me. Sometimes you need to be able to let go of your investment and embrace advancement.

My Advice for People Starting Out

It may sound cliché but it’s very important advice: You know what you enjoy. Stay in that space and turn that into a parnassah. If you love what you do, you’ll do it better, quicker, and with more passion. I see too many people who just grind away at their job.

Also, to be successful in this field, you need great communication skills. If you have lousy communication skills, then marketing is not for you. But even with natural skills, it helps to develop them further. I took the Dale Carnegie immersion course after being in the field over 25 years, and I strongly recommend it.


Devorah Wagner
Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel
Director and owner, Identity Marketing, Ramat Beit Shemesh
Years in Field: 20


My Typical Day at Work

I usually start off my day going through emails. Next, I do a round with the staff, to see where everyone is holding. I have an in-house graphic designer, web designer/developer, and copywriter. (Even though using freelancers can work out much cheaper than having employees, I will not compromise. You can’t compare the end result when the full team is involved, connected and sharing ideas, skills, etc.)

I’m very involved in the development stages of a project. Once things are in place, I’ll step back but continue to oversee the work. A uniform brand message is very important in marketing, and I’m constantly checking that the team is maintaining that.

A large part of my day is spent in meetings, with both existing and potential clients. Beyond the meetings at the beginning stages of a project, I insist on weekly meetings with clients throughout, because it’s essential that we’re on the same page and that the client feels involved in the process.

How I Chose the Profession

I was always very creative and enjoyed design, so I trained as a graphic designer. Once I started working, it bothered me when people asked for graphics or ads that didn’t accurately portray their business. For example, a very simple, homey business would ask for an uber-professional, corporate-looking ad.

In an effort to better guide my clients, I started asking questions and trying to understand what each company was about and what made it special. After I’d explain why the client’s request didn’t match the message he wanted to convey, clients would ask how they could use the appropriate messaging. I realized how much I enjoyed the strategy side of marketing, and pivoted my business into that.

How I Chose My Specialty

As I mentioned, my particular strength is strategy — developing a marketing approach for the client that’s individualized, unique, and research-driven. We don’t do cookie-cutter campaigns; every one of our projects is unique.

What I Love Most about the Field

Seeing the results of all of the planning and designing come together, whether it’s a logo or a major event in Binyanei Haumah (like our big N’shei Keren Hashviis event last year). There’s nothing like seeing it all come together.

What I Find Most Challenging about the Field

When creating big projects, you need to filter out a lot of negativity and discouragement from people who don’t believe it will work out. It takes courage to believe in your ideas and keep going. But it’s worth it when you see the results and the excitement and buzz!

Another personal challenge is that many of my clients are tzedakah organizations that I truly believe in, and I feel bad about charging them. On the other hand, I really invest in a project and have an entire staff and office to run. I’ve asked sh’eilos and was told that the only way I can do a good job for the organizations is by charging them, but I still find it hard every time. But tzedakah can also mean investing your heart and effort, and that’s definitely something I do.

I’ll Never Forget When

I had an amazing story happen recently. I’m currently working on a long-term campaign for Nachzik Chazak, an incredible organization that helps almanos and yesomim. One morning, the head of the organization sent me a picture of a broken boiler they’d just replaced for the family of a widower with many children, who’d been without hot water.

Well, later that same day, my husband stopped to give someone a lift. The man started telling him how he’d woken up to such a surprise that morning — a brand-new boiler on the roof! “They didn’t even stop at my door to let me say thank you!”

My husband was amazed by the Hashgachah. It was incredibly strengthening for us; as much as we believe in what our clients are doing, there’s nothing like getting a powerful reminder that these are real people being helped.

Something I Wish People Knew About Marketing Professionals

Some people perceive marketing as convincing people to do something they don’t really want to do. but that’s not true. The only way to effectively market a product or organization is by being real and genuine.

How I’ve Seen the Field Change Over the Years

Obviously, technology has had a major influence on marketing. Today everything is digital, and social media has taken over. But, at the end of the day, no matter what medium is used, the basic principles are the same: a strong message, amazing visuals, and genuine emotion.

My Advice for People Starting Out

I believe that the only way to be an effective marketer is by understanding all of the elements of the process, and strongly recommend taking a course in, say, graphic or web design. A big part of marketing is confidence, and if you don’t have the tools, you won’t have confidence.

There’s a lot of pressure in the marketing field; when you ask most clients when their deadline is, they’ll say, “yesterday.” For many years, I’d work hours into the night to meet those deadlines, which took a toll on my family. Today, I try not to take on clients if they don’t allow me the time to do the job properly. I generally won’t take on a campaign less than four months in advance. In addition, when I’m in the office, I try to stay very focused on work, and dedicate home time to family, without mixing the two. Both the client and my family gain!


Chayale Kaufman
Lakewood, New Jersey
Founder and Owner, Consult Write Media and Jewish Content Network, Lakewood
Years in Field: 19


My Typical Day at Work

A large part of my day is filled with calls and meetings with both potential and existing clients, while throughout the rest of the day, I manage clients’ campaigns, on both the creative and strategic levels.

When you see ads or events publicized in print publications or online, you just glance at them before flipping the page or screen. But there are so many steps that go into getting that ad in your hands.

First there’s the sales pitch to potential clients: Why should someone choose us over others?

Once we close the deal, we get started with the creative work and brainstorming. Depending on the nature of the project, I either bring on freelance writers or do the writing myself, to develop the message and feel for the client’s mission.

Then there’s the approval process, where the vision and copy are shared with the client. Hopefully, they love it (and they usually do!), which then brings us to the design phase. I bring on specific designers whom I feel will bring out the essence of the message.

While the design is in process, we figure out a marketing strategy. How will we get the world to understand this product or message? How much money must be spent to promote it? Which publications, websites, and social media platforms should be used? What is the internal marketing process of the company/organization? Do we need outdoor media? Do we need the magazines to organically cover this campaign? If so, how will we get that to happen?

My amazing employees and I treat every single advertising dollar as if it were our own money being spent. We deliberate carefully over every detail of our marketing plan, and if midway through we feel that things need to be switched up or changed, we do so.

How I Chose the Profession

I started off working in sales in the Yated, which I’ve always loved. When you’re selling something, you learn how to communicate and connect with the customer, and are forced to be creative in doing so. I slowly learned what people were really missing when it came to advertising, and after many years, I went off on my own to build my marketing agency.

When people ask me what they need to get started in this industry, I tell them, you don’t need to start in this industry! You need to become an asset in any company you work for and come up with creative ways to make a difference in the lives of the people you serve.

How I Chose My Specialty

Our specialty is marketing strategy. We really understand strategies and the marketing options that are out there in the Jewish world. We have our finger on the pulse, we learn about whatever new channels are available for clients to promote themselves, and we make sure every single client gets a thought-out marketing plan.

The reason why we’re so knowledgeable is because of a sister company I founded together with my partner, Chaim Chernoff — the Jewish Content Network. It’s an online marketplace for advertising, and the entire business is based on knowing all the advertising platforms out there!

What I Love Most about the Field

It’s a rewarding industry. You meet amazing people, relay incredible messages, and have opportunities to make a big impact.

There’s nothing like the feeling of completing a successful campaign for a yeshivah dinner or an online campaign that raised millions of dollars for an amazing cause. Of course, any success is a massive brachah from Hashem that I’m truly grateful for.

What I Find Most Challenging about the Field

Clients who hire us but then micromanage us can be a big challenge. Please don’t hire us if you want to do it yourself! If I feel I don’t have the client’s trust, or the client needs to overly control things, I just won’t feel the same sense of responsibility for the results.

I need my clients’ input, but I value their trust more. That’s how you get me 100 percent.

I’ll Never Forget When

Lately, we’ve been getting calls from successful businessmen who want to make a difference by starting an initiative or promoting a strong message. I’m amazed at how much time, energy, and funds they dedicate to make this world a better place. It’s purely selfless; most of them don’t put their names on these initiatives and do it just to make a difference.

Something I Wish People Knew About Marketing Professionals

People think marketing just means writing and designing an ad, but it’s so much more than that! Marketing means comprehending human psychology and how people think, and then being able to create your desired outcome.

How I’ve Seen the Field Change Over the Years

The field is constantly changing, but in the last ten years the Internet and online world has exploded. When we started the Jewish Content Network, we were just selling online banners on two websites and press releases. Today, we sell hundreds of different ways to reach the frum market, so messages need to be curated to fit each product that is being sold in advertising.

Additionally, the frum world gets bored pretty quickly, and we have to constantly think of the next new thing. We make sure to become educated about all of them. The good part is, new platforms actually reach out to us to explain who they are and what their niche is, because they know we represent so many businesses and organizations.

My Advice for People Starting Out

No matter what your field, make sure you’re constantly working on self-growth and your connection to Hashem. I discovered this secret later in my life than I would have liked to, and suffered deeply before I did. Today, this is the only way I can survive. By being a better you, you will be better to everyone around you.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 954)

Oops! We could not locate your form.