1. So, what do you do? –Everyone at the cocktail party
One way I’ve learned to answer this question is: “I am the liaison between the client and the creative teams.” Creative teams need account managers to help schedule their tasks for each client project, provide direction and support, and defend the strategic products that the creative teams produce. Clients are particularly in need of an account service person and may not even know it. They need someone who can work within their schedule, strategy and budget to deliver products that will make an impact. Clients and creatives don’t exactly speak the same language: enter the Account Service team who is 1 part business, 1 part creative and 1 part dizzy from all the back and forth.
2. Can you provide us with a ____ by ____? –Clients
This is the beginning of the production pipeline. The client has a problem and needs a solution. Often times, clients plan in advance for the advertising efforts they want to pursue. Other times, clients need a this and then a that, and they need them as soon as possible. At BBR Creative, I’ve witnessed firsthand how we try our very best to accommodate tight deadlines without sacrificing an effective and creative solution. So, the more in advance the client gives the problem, the easier account service can plan, schedule and facilitate the creative process on time and within budget.
3. What’s the creative direction? –Designers
Example: A new client has come to BBR requesting a new logo. They know they like green and hate yellow, but that’s the only direction they’ve provided. It’s up to the Account Service team to do more discovery with the client and ask difficult questions like: what’s your biggest challenge? If you could leave your audience with one main idea about your company, what would it be? Then, Account Managers do more research on the client’s competitors and industry, eventually developing a creative brief. Within the creative brief, we list out any creative considerations (remember: definitely NO yellow) and the strategies behind the project. The designers are to refer to this creative brief if ever in doubt of what they are producing. If it’s not aligned with the brief, it won’t be aligned with the client’s expectations.
4. What’s the scope? –Production Manager
This magical five-letter word directs the work produced by BBR. Our production cycle usually consists of the client presenting the agency with a problem, BBR defining the problem and a creative solution within a timeframe and budget, the client approving this scope and then, the work begins. As soon as new problems are brought to BBR, the instinctive reaction is to ask this question. By redefining the scope when a new project comes in, this keeps everyone honest. It keeps the client on track for budget and keeps the agency on track for capacity.
5. Do we have approval yet? –Traffic Coordinators
Because there are so many pieces flying in and out of an agency, there must be a traffic coordinator to keep track of all the works in progress, missed tasks and what’s on the docket for the next day. Many times the agency is waiting on approval from our clients before we can proceed with next steps or revisions. An A+ client would approve or provide feedback within 24 hours, but we know that’s almost never the case. Often times our traffic coordinator asks this question to each account service person before she plans future schedules. If account service doesn’t have timely approval from clients, it creates a ripple effect throughout the whole agency. One solution to receiving approvals in a more timely manner is a follow-up phone call because often emails get buried in inboxes and by calling to attention the hot item via phone, you’re more likely to get some feedback (or at least an expected date for when you will receive approval).
6. What’s the next step? –The conscience in every account manager
By asking myself this question each day for each client’s project, I am able to define my plan of attack. Every account service person has their to-do list each day and nothing brings greater joy than checking off a completed task. However, as soon as one task is completed, I ask myself “what’s the next step?”, write it down and plan accordingly. I keep a running list of my clients and what I have currently in the shop for them, what I am waiting for and what could be the next step in the production cycle. Account service teams think about the big picture and what the necessary next steps are to complete a task and ultimately reach a goal.
Sometimes the questions are more important than the answers. These five questions keep the account service team in check on a daily basis because we are constantly being asked one of these. But that’s the fun part of my job: where there is a question, it’s up to the account service team to come up with an answer.
If you have any other questions for me, please feel free to drop me a line [email protected].