The movie Divergent takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where each human is assigned a faction or specific job. This faction is assigned to the individual based on their personality and is the job they will do for the rest of their life. Near the end of the movie, one of the characters breaks the social norm and states: “I don’t want to be just one thing; I can’t be. I want to be brave, and selfless, intelligent, honest and kind.”
An Account Manager’s job is no different. We can’t be just one thing. We must know a great deal about almost everything that happens within an advertising agency. We are the bridge between the client and the agency as well as all the internal teams. All communication, thoughts, questions, concerns and victories are translated through us. We represent the client to the agency. We keep the peace. We smooth situations over. We are the beginning and the end. The Alpha and Omega. Ok, maybe that’s a little too far, but you get the point.
Every day, an Account Manager is asked various questions about design, development and digital marketing. We need to have the ability to hone in on what the team has discussed internally, and have the general knowledge to be able to answer the questions intelligently. For example, one of the last websites I was in charge of I had to utilize my general knowledge of development. While sitting with the client, they had many ideas and pieces of functionality they wanted to incorporate into their website. While I answered the client’s questions, I had to be able to put myself in a developer’s shoes and let them know what I thought was and was not possible based on the agreed budget. I still had to approve all ideas through a developer but being able to guide the client really helped to move the project along quickly and mitigate any timing or budget issues.
Without a doubt, the key skill an Account Manager needs is the ability to create and maintain a positive, enjoyable, and effective relationship with the client. This can be difficult when there are tight deadlines and unforeseen issues. But at the end of the day, businesses are built on relationships.
The world of Advertising is a fast-paced and fun industry. But who will be the gatekeeper, the quarterback, the captain of the project? You guessed it, the Account Manager.