So, What Does an “Account Person” Really Do?
If you, yourself, are an “account person” at an advertising/marketing agency, I would think (hope!) you already know what an account coordinator/executive/manager/director does in that role. However, it might look slightly different from what your counterpart does at another agency – it might actually differ quite a bit. It’s not a cut-and-dry definition for us agency folk, let alone someone on the outside of our world. Usually, when people ask me what I do, I give them a very generic answer such as “I’m the liaison between the client and the agency,” but let’s be real – what does that even mean?
Hopefully what’s to follow will give you non-agency people a better picture, and give you other “account people” a good chuckle and something to relate to.
Having gotten my agency start as a media planner/buyer, I made the switch over to account management about four years ago. I was excited about getting to have facetime with clients and to be the day-to-day voice of the agency for them, and vice versa. I enjoy getting to touch a little bit of everything, rather than being too siloed in one area of focus. I’m a numbers person (yes, I will make a spreadsheet for everything), I thrive off of a good deadline, my project management dashboard is my north star, and I much prefer tracking other peoples’ budgets than my own. These are a few of the qualities that, in my opinion, you’ve got to have in this role. P.S. If this sounds like you, we’d really love to have your resume on file.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all sunflowers and rainbows all the time. The final deliverable may not always be exactly as you’d envisioned it, not everyone is always going to love everything your team has produced, and, let me tell you, “herding cats” is a very real thing.
But with all of that said, there is something super rewarding about coming up with and creating a solution for a client that your team is proud of, the client is proud of, and that was a true collaboration between both parties (and that was delivered on time and on budget). This is a great feeling for everyone, of course. But, as the account manager, you’re the strategic lead that keeps the teams focused and going down the right path. You push back when it’s the right thing to do, you have the tough conversations when you need to, and, sometimes, you just have to take one for the team. But all of this makes each project so much more rewarding in the end.
I will also say that, as someone on the account management side of the house, the team that surrounds you makes all of the difference. At KPS3, I’ve got a support system of super savvy creatives and developers, digital media and SEO extraordinaires, strategic communications rockstars and my fellow account managers, who are all really hard to stump. I can easily say that they make me smarter, push me to be better and always have my back.
As an account person, it’s your job to lead the teams and lead them together. It’s your job to make sure everyone’s working toward the same goal. Sometimes, you’re the one keeping them motivated to get there (I mean, we all have bad days sometimes). These might be the things that make the job challenging, but they’re also the things us “account people” have come to love about it.