Words to live by….
When I first started my career in advertising, my supervisor handed me a memo (yes, I’ve been in this business that long…); the content of which was “the 20 key principles of account management”. This business has evolved quite a bit in the 15 years since..but has it really? Marketing trends have surely shifted, and the electronic age has changed the media landscape and the tools we use to conduct our business. But is the foundation truly any different? I decided to put this to the test. I pulled out the infamous memo (seriously, I still have it) and read the list yet again. Hmm….what do you know?! Despite all the changes in our industry, these 20 principles of account management still hold true. In the spirit of sharing, here are the first 10.
1) Stay involved in your client’s business. Their business is your business. The more you know about their product and its marketing, the more they will see you as a true partner in their business.
2) Keep your client’s sales healthy. Most clients correlate good sales results to good advertising. In some cases, there is a direct correlation; in some others, not. But a bad sales trend overshadows the most brilliant creative. Identify key factors to your client’s success and work on them
3) First earn your client’s respect. Love will follow. You need your client’s respect first. Entertainment is the dessert – not the main course of the relationship. Do your homework, prepare your POV and present it with conviction…but also be willing to admit you are wrong if the logic falls on the other side.
4) Respect your client. Learn to appreciate their problems, their side of the fence, and their know-how. There is no faster way to kill a client-agency relationship than to bad mouth a client within the agency walls or adopting an attitude that signals a lack of respect.
5) Make your clients look good. In my book, this should have been at the top of the list. The better your client looks, the better the Agency looks.
6) Stay ahead of your client. Marketing trends shift so fast. Anticipate. Lead. Be innovative. Think ahead about important issues as well as solving the problems of the day.
7) Stay out of client politics. Avoid taking sides in internal client hassles. Be objective and honest. Stick to business rather than people.
8) Ideas are your business. And I don’t mean advertising ideas only, but product, packaging, promotion, direct, PR, or any other idea that will build client sales. You’ll never make it big in account work if you are only an administrator
9) Have guts. Be willing to err for an idea or unpopular view. No risks…no big gains.
10) Be responsible. Ah….my personal favorite…..Assume that everything that goes wrong on your account is your fault, or could have been prevented if you were doing your job right. Never assume that something will happen unless you have made sure it will happen.