What is account management and why is it important?

After I finished my bachelors degree I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but through a friend I landed myself a role at a media agency. I found my way into account management and worked for five years in account management roles, first for a small independent agency and then for a larger group agency. Keen to see more of the world, I then moved to London and made the jump to client-side, working for two years at a children’s charity. I have always had a passion for not-for-profit and loved this experience. When I moved back to Sydney, I knew I wanted my next move to involve similar work and was initially looking for client-side roles. But then I came across a role at the Media Precinct with the opportunity to work across a number of not-for-profit clients. And here I am today. It is the perfect role bringing together my account management experience and my passion to make a difference.

The key role of account management is to be the main contact person and source of truth for a client. You field all the questions and requests, ensure the relevant people are around the table, are the final sense check for all work and push back when needed. All of this needs to be done with the clients’ interests and objectives top of mind. And to do this you need to understand the client’s business back to front. For these reasons you become a trusted advisor to the client and become a great support for them in their role. This role only becomes more important the more complex an organisation is, bringing together the work across a number of teams and multiple projects and campaigns.

Not only does the account management role benefit clients but is also a great asset to internal teams. It helps to streamline communication, prioritise projects, allows teams to focus on their areas of expertise, and is a final set of eyes across all work that is produced.

So what qualities and skills are important in account management? The key ones I believe that have helped me along the way are organisation, attention to detail, communication and relationship building skills. A key part of organisation is establishing clear processes to enable everyone to work together efficiently and to ensure nothing is missed. Attention to detail is important as you are the final check on all work and you can save a lot of time going back and forth with a client on corrections. And then finally, communication and relationship building skills are hugely important as you get to work with a number of internal and external stakeholders across all levels of an organisation. All of these qualities help to build trust and grow the relationship and opportunities in working together.

Outside of these key qualities and skills, I believe the experience I gained client-side will really help me in this role. I have developed a greater understanding of what a client is looking for from an agency and how best to add value. Sometimes in agencies we can get lost in the world of paid media, but there is a much bigger picture beyond paid activity where we can contribute our expertise. This is especially important when working with not-for-profits where every dollar counts. And in a world where there are an increasing number of brands and channels to compete for an audiences' attention.

In my role in London, I was also very lucky to have the experience of working on the launch of the organisation's new brand. While I already understood the importance of brand, the experience gave me a much deeper understanding of this world and the importance of brand guidelines, tone of voice, writing style and all the other things that come along with it. I was heavily involved in developing these materials and became the go-to brand contact. This is another experience that will help me as I work across clients’ brand campaigns and review our work to ensure we maintain brand consistency and integrity for our clients.

I am now a few months into the role and getting my teeth stuck in. I am focusing on building an in-depth understanding of our clients and identifying the pain points and how we can work more effectively together. I am very lucky to have joined a passionate team and be working with great clients where strong relationships have already been built. I am looking forward to what is to come!

Nicole Aitken is the Account Director of our Client Services team.