The Three Stages of Account Management

November 29, 2023
3 min read

“I work in advertising.”

“Wow, do you design or write the ads?”

“No, not really.”

“Oh, then do you place ads where people can see them?”

“Well, no not that either.”

Explaining what account management is to those who aren’t familiar with the advertising industry is sometimes tricky. But if you’re here reading this blog, then you probably have some idea of what the typical “account person” does. But maybe you’re only indirectly involved with a traditional agency. Or maybe you’re a young professional just starting out. What this blog will do is go over the important aspects of an account management professional’s career path. Or what I like to call The Three Stages of Account Management.

Stage One: Grind
Typically, early-stage account management professionals are grinders. There will probably be lots of process-related tasks and roles they need to perform. But these duties are essential, not only to ensure that the work gets done efficiently, but also to build a solid foundation for one’s career. Being detail oriented is key at this stage. Making sure the Agency’s work is done correctly – whether it’s proofreading, billing, or tracking – can save hours upon hours of time later to correct mistakes. My first internship was with an Agency whose main Client ran over 1,000 different ads every year. The campaign was a literal grind, but I am forever grateful for that experience. It is in this stage that you learn exactly how this crazy business works. Another piece of advice I have for grinders is to be nosey. Ask tons of questions and learn all about the processes, both within the Agency and at your Client.

Stage Two: Mind
As you progress towards mid-career, you’ll need to be a minder. That means you’ll have more responsibility within the Agency and to the Client. You’ll need to have daily contact with the Client, making sure goals are agreed upon and achieved. You’ll need to be a main liaison within the Agency, making sure that timelines are met and the creative is on strategy. Remember all those details and processes you had to deal with before? Well, knowing how things work and being able to clearly communicate them helps you build trust, both internally and externally. The best advice I have here is to be confident, yet humble. Knowing the right answer is great, but knowing when to take a little time to make sure is often better.

Stage Three: Find
As a more mature professional, you now become more of a finder. Finding solutions to issues. Finding new ideas for the marketing. Finding resources to collaborate with. Finding new business opportunities. Building meaningful relationships is incredibly helpful here. Remember how knowing all the little details meant that you were able to convey messaging clearly and decisively, and how everyone was impressed with your knowledge? Those relationships will inevitably come back to be beneficial. My advice here is to keep your eyes and ears open. New opportunities can be found just as easily at a networking event as they can be at the dog park.

Everyone’s career path is a little different, just like every Agency operates differently. And the industry is changing constantly. But these are the major milestones to cross as you develop your experience in this business.

© 2024 Soubriet Byrne & Associates, Inc.