The truth about account managers and why you need one

When I had an in-house marketing job and hired agencies, I often felt confused by the middleman between me and the agency creative director. I really didn’t understand the role of my assigned account manager. 

I wanted to go to the source for my creative needs and media buys. Could my account manager really articulate the goals of my project? Well, my career path led to a role as an account manager and now I know the answer is yes. In fact, I see now that my account managers probably articulated my needs better than I did, since they knew exactly how to communicate with the creative team.

I had it all wrong as a client and didn’t maximize my experience with my agencies. So now I’d like to tell you why you need an account manager:

Account managers are immersed in both sides of the business.

As an Account Manager, we deep-dive into your business. We do a crash course on what you do, how you do it and what you’d like to achieve. Account managers aren’t always experts in your specific industry, but we are proficient in the world of marketing and business. We hone in to get up to speed quickly and build a deep relationship with you, so we can represent you and your interests inside the agency. So lean in. We will inform you of the agency’s processes, help you explore your ideas, keep diligent timelines, and explain the steps it takes to complete your project. In short, we listen, ask questions and keep open communication as we move through the project. 

Account managers take organization to the next level.

We organize the flow of information, team members, tasks, timelines and budgets. We make sure there is a clear path moving forward and we have what we need for our team to succeed. With many moving parts it can be challenging for a client to be on top of each detail. While we are wrangling your projects, you can focus on other important aspects of your job. We bring structure to the madness. Your account manager will keep you well informed and keep you on task. Phone a friend, err, your account manager, we have the answer. 

Account managers advocate for you.

We are your champion. We make sure the team understands your needs and we ensure the agency delivers. It is our responsibility to understand your short and long-term goals. Before you see any deliverables, we make sure those goals are met. We stand up for what you want but also offer suggestions about the best course of action. Ultimately, we take accountability for the agency and the agency’s deliverables.  

Account managers provide a necessary barrier.

Creative teams work hard to develop outstanding work. However, they can grow biased to what they’ve created. An account manager’s goal is to only deliver exactly what you are looking for, but from time to time we may bring you something that does not resonate with you and your team. As a client, you can feel frustrated that it isn’t what you envisioned. As a professional, you try to muster up the right words in the right tone to make sure you are being heard, but sometimes you just need to be blunt. An account manager is your sounding board, your buffer and your confidant. In a great client-account manager relationship, honesty wins the day. And we can provide a valuable barrier between you and the creative team. 

So be blunt. 

We want to know exactly what you think, in the exact words that come to mind. We know how to communicate your feedback with our creatives in a way that will get the results you want without ruffling feathers. Be honest and straightforward with your account manager we can empathize with both sides and we promise we’ll wait until after you have left the building to cry.

Understanding your business, supporting you and your team, establishing order and being your sounding board helps us be proactive for you. We collaborate and maintain knowledge of strategies, industry trends and data insights and can recognize new opportunities for your business. We can step in to support you where needed and help you reach your highest potential. So the next time you’re wondering what the middleman is for, know that your account manager is an extension of your team and is critical to the success of the project and your business.