Reflecting on 20: Moving ahead in Traffic

Over the last 20 years LMO has become much more than the traditional advertising agency it started as in 1995. Today, LMO is a full-service communications agency that serves its clients best by capturing their essence through advertising across a variety of mediums and platforms.

So where does the traditional Traffic department fit in?

It doesn’t. 

Twenty years ago, Traffic, a one-person department, was mostly responsible for creating schedules, routing jobs and releasing files to media outlets or the Production department. Today, we are a nimble, four-person department supported by a studio manager and four graphic designers. We don't just manage the administrative aspects of projects; we contribute to and help facilitate every aspect of the job from start to finish.

Today’s Traffic department monitors the pulse of what happens daily in the agency and our industry. We’ve evolved along with the needs of our clients, adapting to a digital media landscape, which incorporates HTML5 animated banners, social media posts, customized responsive email messages, in addition to print and broadcast. From the inception of a job, Traffic coordinates the kick off meeting, bringing together the key players. We collaborate with just about every department to determine the information needed, and we balance the resources of one job against all the others going on in the agency. Not to mention, we troubleshoot and provide quality control all along the way.

Gone are the days of faxing broadcast traffic instructions, sending out dubs of Beta tapes, and mailing files to publications and vendors. Industry standard hardware and software from Apple and Adobe has allowed us to speed up our processes and do our daily tasks more effectively. We use proven project management systems like Basecamp and Confluence, which helps us track jobs throughout the agency and promotes more open and collaborative communication between departments. Cloud computing technologies give us the ability to instantly transfer files and communicate with vendors and media outlets.

Recently, we collaborated with Ad Ops for a knowledge sharing session. Ad Ops provided insight into their process and how they work with Sizmek, a third-party ad server that tracks impressions, clicks, conversion and interaction metrics. Traffic discussed the media chart, file naming conventions and lead-time requirements. And Graphics gave us an in-depth introduction to Adobe Edge Animate, an HTML5 compatible animation software that replaced Adobe Flash. Graphics shared the need to create mobile content first versus the traditional method of designing print ads first. As a result of this type of inter-department collaboration, we are now better positioned to swiftly and smoothly release digital files into the marketplace.

A few things still remain from the Traffic department of 20 years ago though, like routing of mechanical layouts. Because sometimes old school is still the best way to go.

Traffic will continue to grow and adapt along with the agency and industry. We will streamline processes where needed, trim timelines without sacrificing quality of work and ensure we have the right resources available.  In addition, we will continue to collaborate with other departments to identify areas that need improvement, encourage growth, and above all get the job done right and on time.

Jennifer Lennon

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