Another excerpt of my new book, the A-Z of branding, everything you need to know about how to build a brand.
Depending on the size of your account, you will be assigned either an account manager or an account executive as your point of contact with the agency you appoint. There really isn’t much difference between the two although you can expect an account manager to have at least a couple of years more experience than an account executive. Look for someone with at least a years experience in the position.
The account executive/manager will be your principal contact in the advertising agency. Generally they will work with you to determine what it is you require and what the agency’s role will be on your project. The account manager will then be responsible for conceptualizing and communicating those needs to other agency staff especially those in the creative department.
You should expect your account executive/manager to have an extensive knowledge, not only of traditional advertising tools such as TV, print, out of home (OOH), direct mail and radio but also digital and social media and viral advertising. As a client you have a responsibility to listen to their proposals with an open mind and put your personal preferences aside and keep an open mind to all recommendations.
So the account executive/manager is the link between the two organisations and will be responsible for managing all of the services provided by the agency to you and coordinating the agency staff working with you and/or your staff. Depending on the seniority, the account manager may also brief creative and other departments and review creative work, approve it and ensure budgets are adhered to.
It is important to remember that the account executive/manager/ represents the agency and therefore has the agency’s interests at heart. It is also quite likely that the account executive/manager will be working on up to four other accounts at the same time as yours. They may also be expected to go out and make pitches to prospects to help win new business. With such a schedule, they are always going to have a time crunch.
As a client you need to be clear about who is the account executive or account manager who is going to be working on your account so invest some time in getting to know them. Also ask what other accounts they are working on and whether they are also expected to source new business. This will help give you an idea of how much time they will dedicate to your account.
The account executive/manager will need to do a lot of research into your business and industry before coming up with recommendations. You can help them by furnishing them with information on your industry as well as what competitors are doing. Also make sure you are clear with your feedback because they will be communicating that feedback to their creative department later on. The relationship should be one of mutual respect and trust so be prepared to share potentially sensitive information with your account executive/manager. This may be something you are uncomfortable with, s don’t be afraid to ask them to sign a non disclosure agreement (NDA).
It is important to remember that you are the client so if you don’t like or are not impressed with your account executive, don’t be afraid to ask for him/her to be replaced.