Some might ask, ‘What would a Copywriter know about being good at Account Management?’ Well, plenty.
That’s because sometimes it’s the person sitting outside that can offer the clearest perspective. Plus, people in the Creative Department have a vested interest with how good the Account Management person is at their job.
So in no particular order, here are five ways to be a better Account Manager:
1. Always ask ‘why?’
I’ve written about this before. Whether it’s something that the client or the creative team has requested, it’s imperative that you know the reason why you’re doing something. Not only does it make you aware of any other agendas that are at play, it helps your understanding and makes sure the solution provided actually fits the problem. If you’re simply relaying a message from the client (or anybody else), you are effectively reducing your role to that of an expensive answering machine.
2. Don’t be a ‘Problem Development Officer’
Okay, we know there’s a certain amount of due diligence everyone must do in ‘stress-testing’ the work to make sure it’s fit to send to client. The trick is not to overdo it. Don’t be a nervous suit. Don’t second-guess the client. Your job is to show the client the work and if they have a problem with it, they’ll let you know. It’s frightening how much resource some agencies use by fixing ‘problems’ that might not even exist.
3. Make sure the client is giving you a problem, not a solution
It’s an agency’s job to provide a solution for their client. If the client is dictating the solution, the agency’s role is diminished to being a ‘creative studio’. If you’re delivering exactly what they ask for, you’re simply a facilitator of a process. Some agencies give clients the work they want, great agencies give clients the work they need. You wouldn’t hire the services of a doctor and then tell her how to treat you, so why work that way in advertising?
4. Have the conversation that needs to be had
For communication professionals, it’s amazing how many suits avoid having proper conversations with their clients. For example, if an unreasonable deadline is given by the client, some suits find it easier to try and crack the whip over the creatives rather than have the chat they should be having with the client.
5. Know what type of agency you’re working for
This will help define what you role is. For some agencies, your role might be to simply give the client what they ask for, when they ask for it, and then invoice them. Instead of a partnership, the relationship becomes one of servitude.
For other agencies (the ones that do better work), your job will be to challenge clients. You’ll be required to foster a partnership with them in achieving a common goal.