It baffles me just a tiny bit the misconception and general misunderstanding that exists in the digital ad world around the role of an Account Director. I would generally agree that “account services” is a bit vague, and frankly is not the best literary description of what we do – so confusion is valid. Also, the job is frequently depicted in a manner that generates more question than answer when it comes to what an account person does day in and day out…. I can assure you it’s not all booze, dinner and cigars.
As I said, I can understand the misconception of the role. I truly can. In all honesty, it does entail a lot of time spent on the phone, frequently not being in the office, and considerable amounts of talking, often loudly (though that could be more personality than responsibility). At the end of the day, however (with the right blog author, obviously), I think it can break down pretty easily. For those wondering what those Account Directors and account people actually do at their agency, here’s (hopefully) a clear description…
The biggest responsibility of an AD is to know our clients organization and operation. That sentence is generic and vague – I get it – but don’t blow it off. The job is not to know what your clients business does, like selling products or getting subscribers. That’s a piece. When I say “knowing the organization and operation” it means you are able to clearly understand, interpret and articulate how your client thinks, acts and approaches their business within their industry. It means you know their competitors businesses. You know the financial health of your client. You know their audiences. You understand their product line, and where they’re taking it. You know when things are good for their biz, and when things get bad. You grasp seasonality. You understand the financial model that their business is built on. You understand how the people of an organization react to changes, evolutions and technology changes inside the landscape. You have social awareness and know how to interpersonally connect with your clients. Any member of an account services team should be seen as an extension of the client’s business – while being an employee of an agency. So, what does that knowledge actually mean to your agency? Why is this role important? Your value internally is to assist in the ideation and campaign development with an intimate knowledge of how your clients will react. You are (or should be) the person that ties every campaign initiative back to a business goal that will help the organization. And, in helping the client’s organization, you should be helping your agency.
A final thought on the Account Director and account services team. These individuals and groups are by no means a brain-trust, nor are they the crucial people that make anything necessarily successful. These roles are merely one or two on an entire team. They’re as important as every single other person – the job is just a bit different. I’m a believer that a great Account Director is only as great as the client team they work with. You can have all the intimate knowledge you want of a client, their operation and organization, but if you don’t have subject matter experts who can interpret that knowledge, make it actionable, prove it and refine it, then your team simply won’t be successful.
The great news about Booyah, we have all these pieces in place J
Hopefully this helps clarify what us account folks do… now if you’ll excuse me, I need to finish this scotch, relight my cigar and make some phone calls…. On my way to dinner, of course.