Also known as...
Media Group Head
The role in brief...
The Media Account Director leads client accounts within the agency, ensuring that they are profitable, and growing. They take responsibility for the delivery of media planning and buying that meets the client’s needs and addresses their business problems. They will do so through the effective management of their own team, and their ability to lead and inspire others inside and outside the agency. They will regularly be involved with pitches for organic and new business, approaching these with both a strategic and commercial mindset.
- Internal: Agency management/leadership team; Media planners and buyers; Insight Executives; Finance/accounts. New Business, HR/ Talent Teams.
- External: Client marketing team, including Marketing Director; Client procurement personnel; Other agencies on their client’s roster e.g. Creative, Public Relations; Media research organisations; Media owners; New business opportunity contacts and intermediaries.
- Media Account Directors will report to the senior management team of the agency, usually a managing Partner/Department Head/Board Director or Managing Director. They will recruit and manage staff within their team, being accountable for their performance and providing them with professional development opportunities.
- Leading client accounts within the agency, with overall responsibility for the client agency relationship, and the profitability and growth of client accounts.
- Directing the strategic planning and buying of media, presenting and selling plans effectively to clients. The strategic planning is done in collaboration with Account Planners and Strategists from roster agencies to ensure integrated work is delivered for the client, for example on the target audience.
- Identifying, developing and converting new business. opportunities with existing and future agency clients.
- Negotiating contracts and fees with marketing directors and client procurement personnel.
- Negotiating contracts and rates with media owners, ensuring buying efficiencies across the agency and value for money on behalf of clients.
- Maintaining strong relationships with media owners and ensuring up-to-date knowledge of new developments and media opportunities.
- Building and maintaining positive, cooperative working relationships with other roster agencies, especially in relation to planning campaigns and media strategies.
- Maintaining a detailed awareness of relevant media research and market trends affecting their accounts, and developments in the wider advertising and communications industry.
- Managing the work, performance and professional development of team members, for example their appraisal and making sure the agreed actions are carried out by the appraisee and the agency.
- Reporting key financial and team data to the agency’s senior leadership, finance and human resources departments.
- Preparing media spend reports and plans for new business meetings and pitches.
- Involved in recruitment and selection decisions.
- Focused on the personal and professional development of their team for example the latest in negotiation techniques or data mining tools, as required.
Those who succeed are...
- Able to lead and inspire their team, the wider agency, clients, and other external partners.
- Highly numerate.
- Commercially astute.
- Good listeners – they appreciate how much the client knows about their brand.
- Effective negotiators, both as service providers and buyers.
- Decisive and able to build support for their decisions. Beginning to appreciate that not just short term actions are required but that a consensus needs to be built around a long term vision for the team and their brands.
- Great communicators in person and in writing.
- Well informed about trends in media research and are curious about the media landscape. Aware of technological developments and how these translate into new opportunities for clients and the agency to reach consumers at the right time and place.
- Knowledgeable and curious about their client’s business and market, and how media strategy contributes to success.
- Responsible and accountable their own and others’ work, delegating effectively to balance a varied and demanding workload.
- Prepared to share credit and shoulder responsibility. Good at giving immediate, honest and specific praise.
- Focused on the personal and professional development of their team, understanding when to give opportunity or motivational feedback but also when they have to ‘be the boss’.
- Aware that successful delegation is vital, because it is through a team working well that success will come.
Where they come from, and where they go...
Media Account Directors have usually gained considerable previous agency experience as a Media Planner or Buyer. Some will transition into the role from a sales or client services role at a media owner, and a few from a senior marketing position at a client organisation. Media Account Directors can progress to board-level positions such as Media Director or Director of New Business. From these board-level roles they may go on to become agency Managing Directors or Chief Executives. These promotions will depend on the commercial success of their accounts, their relationships with clients, the effectiveness of their work, a strong new business record, and their ability to lead and develop teams.