Also known as...
Client Services Manager; Business Manager.
The role in brief...
The Account Manager, and wider account management team, are the bridge between the client and the agency. They are responsible for ensuring that the agency is meeting the client’s needs, working with all the key functions, including at other client agencies, that go into creating the agency’s advertising output. They are constantly solving problems, managing internal and external communications, and driving projects to completion.
- Internal: Agency account team, including planners/strategists; Creative teams and directors; Creative services and production staff; Finance/accounts.
- External: Client marketing team; Other agencies e.g. Media, Public Relations etc; Regulatory bodies.
- Account Managers will report into an Account Director, and can have management responsibility for more junior staff and their development e.g. an Account Executive.
- They will often have line management responsibility for Account Executives and Interns, being accountable for their performance and providing them with professional development opportunities.
- Managing the client relationship through effective communication, problem solving, and responding to requests.
- Taking client business/marketing briefs and, where required, supporting the Account Planner.
- Presenting and selling creative work, although an Account Director would be more likely to present work that is high budget or takes the creative work into new territory.
- Ensuring that project deadlines and budgets are met, communicating and seeking approval of any changes to these.
- Identifying ways to grow client accounts through organic new business opportunities.
- Managing the work and performance of team members e.g. Account Executive and Intern.
- Keeping the team and the client up to date with useful knowledge and information, for example a story in the marketing press about a competitor brand.
- Maintaining accurate records of meetings, decisions and next actions.
- Working with Producers and the Creative Service Team to ensure all creative material produced and presented is legal and adheres to the regulatory Code.
- Working with Finance to limit write offs, bill client accurately, chase unpaid invoices, do reconciliations e.g. for TV commercials.
- Updating agency systems and maintaining up to date client account information.
- Preparing materials for pitches.
- Conducting account analysis and preparing materials for client meetings including conducting competitor reviews.
- They may be involved in recruitment and selection decisions.
- Focused on the personal and professional development of their team. They also seek to constantly update their own tech knowledge and their people management skills.
Those who succeed are…
- Personable, and able to work effectively with a variety of different people.
- Organised, with strong attention to detail and time management skills.
- Effective communicators, both verbally and in writing.
- Persuasive, able to sell work and ideas, and respond positively to feedback.
- Flexible, and able to solve problems.
- Resilient and positive in difficult situations.
- Able to juggle competing demands and accept pressure with equanimity.
- Numerate enough to e.g. reconcile budgets
- Keen to work on new business pitches and learn from senior people who are running them
Where they come from, and where they go...
Account Managers have usually gained some previous agency experience, typically as an Account Executive. Some may transition into the role from other disciplines such as project management, or from a marketing role at a client organisation. Account Managers can then go on to become Account Directors, before progressing into agency management roles. These promotions will come as a result of delivering excellent work for the client, managing effective relationships both externally and internally, finding new business, dealing well with pressure and negative feedback, and demonstrating a passion for the role and their client’s brands. Having gained experience of the communications process, some Account Managers decide to take a different career direction and transition into other agency disciplines such as Account Planning.