The answer to that question could be a mile-long. For a job that requires many different skills, it really boils down to this: Account Managers are responsible for managing expectations.
In the agency world, an Account Manager is responsible for making sure the needs of the client (you) is communicated back to the rest of the team (us). This allows for there to be one primary point of contact for the client, as opposed to communicating with all the different roles in the agency (designers, project managers, web developers, etc.). On any project, the Account Manager interprets what the goal is and what the client wants, relays that clearly and effectively back to their team, and then makes sure both sides understand what is expected and will work toward a common outcome.
In our case, every client at VSG Marketing is assigned an Account Manager during the onboarding process.
We asked our own Account Managers (also referred to as AM’s), Alex and Katie, a few questions about their experiences in the field.
Q: What is the biggest benefit to the client from working with an AM?
A: Account Managers are the marketing-minded bridge between your business and the agency. They have the ability to learn about your organization, figure out your goals, and apply their knowledge in a strategic way to get you results. The more you let your AM in, the better they can serve you as they work with their team and yours.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to help your clients with?
K: My favorite thing to help clients with is strategy. Many people have great ideas for cool and exciting projects, but if they don’t fit into your company/organization’s bigger picture and vision they can fall flat and be ineffective. It’s always a fun, yet challenging process to get clients to start from a 30,000 ft level vision and then bring it down to ground level with the specific tasks and projects that can fulfill their overarching vision.
Q: What makes a perfect client-agency relationship?
A: No relationship is without a few bumps in the road, so while we should never strive for perfection, we should strive for mutual respect. (No different than any other type of healthy relationship!) The client must trust that the AM has their best interest in mind AND that they are providing expertise in the area they’ve been hired for. Just like AM’s have to remember that the client is the expert about their business and is juggling not just marketing/ PR/ Creative projects, but hundreds of other tasks and responsibilities! Once the right partnership is made, (client needs are matched up well with agency skills) if we give each other grace and respect, great things happen. Both parties can focus on working towards success rather than getting bogged down in the details.
Q: What are some easily avoided roadblocks that appear when working on a project?
K: Clear communication and organization is key for the process to be successful. The more planned out a project is, the quicker and easier the process. One of the biggest roadblocks that make the job more difficult is not having all the content for a project. For example if you are the client and need a website built but haven’t gathered the copy and content for what will be on the site, it will be a continual process of hurry-up and wait.
Ultimately, Account Managers are your point-person, your go-to, your biggest advocate and your best listener. They want to see your successes in marketing just as much as you do. By working with an Account Manager you get help strategizing and executing your project, and a dedicated resource for all the other brilliant and creative minds back at the agency.
Think your marketing needs some Account Manager attention? Contact VSG Marketing
to put your ideas into action.
Disclaimer: all responses are meant to be in the context of a Marketing/PR agency or other creative environment. Account Managers in sales positions are also important and do many of the same things, but are in a different category.