AAAI Beginners Series l esson sx insi gcl in e i n t s r v ic e 1
Account Management -A NecessityManagement is like a pivot aroundwhich an agency’s business revolves.What many fail to recognise is thatadvertising is a ‘business’. It is thereason that clients are calledAccounts. And every business needsa good manager to manage accounts.Account Managers of The Real Reality or Whatthe Shaolin good Account Management isAccount Managers tend to be at the all aboutreceiving end of both, clients and As the name itself implies, it is aboutcreative. Creatives brand them as the managing. Good Account Managerswell-dressed ‘courier guy’ or are Jack of all Trades, the difference‘postman’. No one listens to them. is that they are Masters of All, asAnd all of them say that they didn’t well. Account Managers who ‘know’do an MBA to chase artworks, are smugly comfortable about thedespatch stuff, spend nights in office fact that they can do anything theywaiting for material to arrive, write want (copywriting, media planning,contact reports, fight with creative, media buying, film production,and get paid peanuts compared to whatever…) anytime, but the otherstheir peers in banking. cannot do what they do. 2
Account Management is Account Management is Account Management is about Managing Sales about Managing People about Managing Negotiations Agencies are in the business of Being the link between the agency Account Managers have to be expert selling creative solutions. It is as and the client (or put differently, negotiators, be it with clients, be itAccount Management is ambiguous and intangible a product Account Management is being at the epicentre), Account Account Management is with creatives, be it withabout Managing Business as it can get. Good Account about Managing Agency PR Managers have to manage people about Managing the Science photographers or film makers or beGood Account Management is about Managers are the ones who manage Good Account Managers need to within the office as well as their of Marketing with the Art it with media. They always strive tonever losing sight of the fact that it these sales. As mentioned before, it know about the agency, the clients. They have to play a of Advertising get the best so that the agency’sis a business they are into. They is once again a fine balancing act happenings in the agency network, balancing act so as not to Like Luke Sullivan says in his book, creative as well as businesshave to keep the wheels of the since the interests of the client as the philosophy of the agency, its antagonise everyone all the time, ‘Hey Whipple, Squeeze This’, interests are never compromised.account moving all the time. They well as that of the agency have to convictions and beliefs. It is only or, for that matter, anyone anytime. “Advertising is a craft executed by They need to have enough maturityhave to manage costs, revenues, be kept in mind all the time. So they then, that armed with such They have to play consultant, people who aspire to be artists, but to understand which battles are toprofits and not just manage, but have to be prepared with their knowledge, they can present a friend, partner, boss, agony aunt, is assessed by those who aspire to be fought and defended with theirmake them grow without clients ever rationale and base their sale on a confident and definite picture of the mentor, guide, patient listener and be scientists. I cannot imagine any life, and which are to be let off.getting the feeling that the agency strategic thought. They also need to agency to their existing clients as many other things all the time and human relationship more perfectlyis taking them for a ride. have an open mind. They shouldn’t well as prospective ones. They are sometimes at the same time. designed to produce total mayhem.” unnecessarily defend, either with the the best link the agency has with By possessing some of the above client or within the agency. the outside world. mentioned skill sets, Account Managers can actually help achieve this balance. 3
Here is the how and why. Account Management is about Managing Knowledge. The knowledgethat Account Managers need to acquire can be broadly classified into 3 classes:Knowledge of Agency Knowledge of Client’sProcesses BusinessIn an agency, it is only Account This will truly help the relationship.Management that is ‘unskilled’ Account Managers need to be aslabour. Everyone from art directors, concerned about their client’sto production people, to copywriters business as they should be aboutand even media all have a set of their own. They need to know asskills that they have mastered. much (and maybe even more) aboutAccount Managers, being the only the competitive environment as theregular point of contact with the client does. They need to know theclient, need to have a working happenings in the marketplace soknowledge of all disciplines so as to as to recommend ideas andbe able to manage the account. solutions to the client.General KnowledgeA well read and well-informedAccount Manager needs to furtherdevelop his knowledge to be able toapply it to seemingly disparate andunrelated things. Advertising Agencies Association of India 35, Maker Tower F, 3rd Floor, Cuffe Parade, Mumbai 400 005. Tel: (022) 2218 2164 / 2218 7609 Fax: (022) 2218 9590 Email: email@example.com www.aaaindia.org
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