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What Makes a Good Agency Account Manager?

So you think you might have what it takes to become a marketing agency account manager? Before jumping to any conclusions, it would help to explore the true job responsibilities that this career entails. Some people might assume that the workplace is mainly an opportunity to socialize with co-workers, gossip and drink a lot of alcohol (thanks Mad Men) but the hard truth is that being an agency account manager is a much tougher job than it might seem from the outside.

Here’s what to expect if you’re thinking about going after a career in this field.

It’s Not All Fun and Games

Sure, the office looks like a fun place to work – you’re probably envisioning ping pong tournaments and beer on tap (okay that last one is true). But the vast majority of the work week is spent actually doing work. If you’re considering a career as an agency account manager, prepare yourself for long hours at the office since “9 to 5” is a rare treat – plus you’ll spend extra time working from home.

You’ll be responsible for making smart decisions when working on projects, and you’ll have to learn to deal with high-pressure situations. Depending on the industry, you’ll be under tight deadlines, and you may be facing a lot of pressure from clients to get projects done sooner than anticipated. The ideal agency account manager will be capable of working efficiently, while still putting forward quality work.

agency account manager

You’ll Have Countless Responsibilities

Because you’re the one who must take responsibility for the final project, it’s sometimes necessary to assume the roles of other positions as well. Consequentially, this means that you must understand the language of other specialized areas that departments deal with in order to successfully manage the assignment on a whole.

For one, you’ll have to attend sales meetings with clients as a reassurance that you’ll take good care of their project. You may also have to occasionally write copy in order to get projects out on time. This is all in addition to meticulously checking over all work put into the project – nothing screams “distrustful agency” like typos and errors in finished projects.

And when departments disagree, you have to remember that you’re responsible for the outcome of the final project, so it’s essential that you figure out how to get everyone to work well together and produce their best work. You’re the one who is presenting the project to your client, so make sure it does a good job of representing your company’s work.

You’ll Become a Familiar Face to Clients

In addition to coordinating between various teams on a daily basis, such as the creative team and agency directors, you’ll also be dealing directly with clients – so when something goes wrong with the project, you’re the one who’s questioned. You’ll have to walk the fine line of standing up for your project and understanding that what the client says goes, so it helps to have thick skin.

In terms of managing clients, you’ll be communicating with them directly about the status of their project and handling any of their questions. Throughout the process, you’ll have to update clients on what’s happening with their project and how much it will cost them. You’ll also be handling their concerns and fixing anything that needs to be changed, without getting weighed down by extraneous feedback that will prevent you from completing the project on time. In the end, an agency account manager should work on finding a balance between what the client wants and what they know is best.

On top of communicating with the client, you’re in charge of keeping track of the budget, schedule and scope of the project. Because these three aspects are so intertwined, you can’t change one without changing the other two. It’s your job to manage these parts of the project – don’t allow the client to completely take over.

And again, strive to put forth your best work even in the short amount of time you may have, because this is what people will remember the most. Not only will your client’s customers see your work, but the project may also go in your portfolio as well, so make sure you’re proud of the finished product.

agency account manager

But Your Career Can Be Awesome Too

The culture within a marketing agency is something you are unlikely to find anywhere else. Beer on tap, dogs in the office and a relaxed office atmosphere are all common sites in the industry. Despite the fact that being an agency account manager is a very demanding and challenging career, people who enjoy their job find a way to maintain their lifestyle without getting burnt out.

This position will introduce you to some of the most creative and hard-working people within the business, and give you the opportunity to work alongside them. You will always be working on new and interesting projects with exciting companies.

And even though you will find yourself dealing with many challenging tasks, the career is a rewarding and memorable experience if you do make it in this field.

Do you have any other tips on preparing for a job as an agency account manager?
Let us know in the comments below!

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