By Caroline Henley

May 15th, 2015

Peggy Olson is a great model for any advertising agency employee worth his or her salt. But how would Peggy operate in the modern digital world? How would she explain wavering organic reach numbers to Chevrolet? How would she anticipate the next big trends in pantyhose for Topaz? How would she prove herself to her new colleagues when Sterling Cooper & Partners merges with McCann? We explore.

Home is where the Heinz is (and where Peggy can schedule tweets!)
Peggy’s direct supervisor and mentor has, for the most part, been Don Draper, who has been, for the most part, Creative Director at Sterling Cooper, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, and Sterling Cooper & Partners. Don can sweep into a room, make an elaborate speech, and leave a prospective client wiping back tears. But when it comes down to the actual work, Peggy is the one spending long nights translating his grand ideas into actionable panels for TV spots, or sketching out taglines onto print ads.

life of a social media manager

In the modern world of social media, there is a better way. If Peggy took Don’s taglines and scheduled them in one fell swoop into various posts across social networks, she’d be able to easily create a distribution strategy for all those ideas.

life of a social media manager Mad Men

Peggy can schedule all of her clients’ ads from one place.

A content pool means more time for Kodak moments. 
Peggy has spent more late nights with her Art Director Stan Rizzo than any mere boyfriend. These two are the most overworked in the company, often crashing on an office couch, not able to leave until each line of Peggy’s copy matches perfectly with Stan’s art and layouts. If only they had a content pool!


Rather than spend long nights working on ads for Kodak, a content pool would give Peggy more time to have her own Kodak moments. Stan could create a batch of artwork that is up to his standards, upload it to the cloud, and Peggy can sift through and choose the pictures she’d like to assign to her various copy. She could easily take one image into separate posts for Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, adding the appropriate text that works best on each distinct network.

“If you don’t like what they’re saying, change the conversation” with Listening and Sentiment 
In season seven, Peggy is enjoying her success at the firm, but hits a roadblock with the Burger Chef account. How do you sell fast food to mothers who feel guilty about not having time to cook? The team tours several restaurant locations in the midwest, and, in a panic, Peggy resorts to running up to mothers in Burger Chef parking lots, asking leading questions about Burger Chef’s “convenience.” Not so efficient, huh, Peggy? This impromptu attempt at market research would be much simpler and more powerful if she used a social media monitoring tool.

Peggy could set up a listening query around phrases like “mother AND easy dinner,” and effectively take the temperature of moms, worldwide, across social media and the entire web (talk about a sizable audience!).

Peggy impressed Heinz ketchup with the idea that “if you don’t like what they’re saying, change the conversation.” She addressed the brand’s fear that it was being confused with other condiments and the inferior “catsup” by drafting a strong print ad that read “Heinz. The Only Ketchup.” Nowadays, there are much more powerful ways to change the conversation than a print ad.

By measuring sentiment in these listening queries, you can filter the negative conversations to the top, and jump into the conversation to sway the unhappy parties. Social media now provides a two-way street between consumers and advertisers. Rather than blasting the population with billboards, advertisers are now able to reach much more relevant audiences and create a conversation. I think, if Peggy Olson knew about the endless possibilities that open up here–I think that her head might just explode.

How do you measure a basket full of kisses?
Peggy’s biggest hurdle has always been justifying her place on a team full of men. Peggy Olson acts as the show’s vanguard for feminism in the workplace. When Peggy first started as a secretary, Don asked for her advice on how to sell Belle Jolie lipstick–what would women respond to? She looked at a trashcan full of lipstick-blotted tissues and called it a “basket full of kisses.” The men’s knees buckled at her catchy turn of phrase. Freddy Rumsen was so astonished that a woman could do his job, he said “it was like watching a dog play the piano.”

Peggy doesn’t always have to go out of her way to prove her worth at higher standards than her co-workers. Just point to the numbers. Use a tool that automatically measures team performance. Tracking the number of posts scheduled, the number of replies sent, the average response time will immediately separate the users who are doing the most work from those who are less active on social.

As we bid adieu to the most stylish, entertaining show about advertising, I salute Peggy Olson. If there’s anyone who is the embodiment of letting your passion sing through your work, it’s Peggy, as she won hearts and minds, from the most bigoted colleagues to the most hard-won accounts. And she would no doubt make a formidable social media manager all these fifty years later.


Images credit: AMC

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