Do I Really Need an Account Manager for Creative Projects?
By: Carmesha Thompson, Project Manager
This is a question that is sometimes posed to our Accounts Department by clients and the answer is always, “Absolutely!” Clients may view an accounts person as someone who is not actually creating the end product, but whose time they have to pay for to act as a liaison between the client and creative team. They may ask themselves, “Why not just get rid of the middleman and work directly with the graphic designer myself?”
Even though an Account Manager is not producing the creative asset per se, they are contributing to the project and assisting the creative team to ensure it exceeds client expectations by providing invaluable insight, guidance, and service. Hence, they should be thought of as more than just a liaison and point person for the client. So, while working with a talented and experienced designer is obviously an important component of a creative project, the role of an Account Manager should not be undervalued either.
Read on for more information about why working with an agency that delivers strong account management is vital to the success of any creative project.
Account Managers Specialize in Client Services & Interpersonal Communication
More than any other specialty, Account Managers are especially skilled in the art of providing exceptional client services. This involves taking the time to form and foster great relationships with clients that goes beyond just the work.
The account manager serves as trusted ally for the client and a constant presence on every project. They are there to make certain that the client’s strategy and goals are driving all the work the creative team is producing and ensure client expectations are exceeded.
Account Managers have also mastered essential interpersonal skills needed when working with clients on creative projects. An accounts person knows how to draw important information out of a client by asking the right questions, listening carefully, probing for answers, and even picking up on inconspicuous cues. This all helps the creative team produce work that is not only stellar, but is an ideal fit for the client.
Account Managers Serve as a Resource for Everything Client-Related
A creative’s primary focus should be on brainstorming innovative ideas and creating inspiring work that accurately reflects a company’s brand, engages the target audience, and assists to accomplish a goal.
Producing this type of work demands a creative’s full dedication, time, and attention and they should not be preoccupied with conducting necessary background research and sifting through comprehensive documents to help them understand a client’s business, its industry, and the competitive landscape. This will only chip away at the time they need to focus on the task at hand. And while it is important for the designer to have a strong understanding of the client, he or she should not be the one pulling the research and spending an abundance of time reviewing a considerable amount of information.
Additionally, creatives are usually juggling various assets for multiple clients, and it can be hard for them to remember and keep track of the details for every campaign (including goals, target audience, etc.) as well as the specific nuances about the client themselves, including their idiosyncrasies, specific preferences, likes and dislikes.
So, it’s the Accounts team (and a strong creative brief) to the rescue! No one at an agency will know more about a client than its Account Manager – especially if he or she has been on the account for several years. It’s the Account Manager’s responsibility to live the client’s brand, know the ins-and-outs of the company and speak the industry language.
A great Account Manager will also know the client’s campaign through and through and be well-aware of client nuances. The accounts person is there to make sure creative assets don’t include a Verdana font because they know the client absolutely hates that type of font or that the creative doesn’t include a look and feel that the competitor has already done.
Through their deep understanding of the client’s business and campaign, as well as the client themselves, the accounts person does the legwork and provides a concisely summarized creative brief with the most relevant and important information to the designer, allowing him or her to quickly review and easily learn more about or refamiliarize themselves on the client or campaign. Having a strong creative brief allows the creative team to develop work that is on point the first time around resulting in little to no revisions.
Account Managers Serve as the Client’s Representative and Advocate
Another way to think of an Account Manager is as the client’s representative, as they are the first line of feedback before the creative is shown to the client. Account Managers make a point to view the work from the client’s perspective. They vet the creative and identify red flags before it gets to the client. A great Account Manager knows their client’s style and will instantly recognize work that will impress them and work they will be unmoved by. Additionally, the accounts person ensures that the creative aligns with the campaign strategy and will resonate with the target audience.
Furthermore, an accounts person is a client’s main advocate. They work to ensure the creative team is always putting their best foot forward and does not become complacent or sloppy with their work. They make certain clients are presented with viable creative options that will make a difference for their brand by pushing the team to produce remarkable work that drives results.
Account Managers Act as a High-Level Intermediary
Account Managers help creatives save time by acting as an intermediary between the client and the creative team. Creatives are usually extremely busy focusing on producing compelling work, which as we established earlier, takes a substantial amount of effort, and they are not always accessible. On the flip side, when it comes to account managers, it is their job to be as accessible as possible.
Just like they speak the client’s language, Account Managers also speak creative’s language and can effectively explain design terms and jargon to clients in layman terms. Things like knowing what printing crops and bleeds are and knowing the difference between PMS and CMYK.
An accounts person also helps to streamline revisions; however, they do more than just take feedback and relay them over to the designer. Account Managers also asks thoughtful questions that allow them to get to the bottom of revisions and address any issues at the core whether than just at a surface level.
For an agency with a robust creative and accounts team, look no further than MassMedia. Our creative team’s design expertise combined with our accounts team’s fantastic client services will result in great, effective work. Contact us for more information!