Service, please...

OPINION / 30th August 2016

In writing a job description for an Account Director role recently, started to wonder what person actively chooses a career in Client Services?

I mean who would want a job where you're jointly sandwiched between your clients' needs, your colleagues' ability and, likely, a hefty sales target? Then there's the crap the role often involves.

On any given day an AD may have to apologise for practitioner error, stay late to turn a strategy into client-consumable English and, believe it or not, get it in the neck if one of your projects over burns or goes late (damn you PM!).

Perhaps it's being in charge is where the allure lies. Or, maybe, just the enjoyment of making decisions and getting stuff done.  Personally, though, I think it's to do with making a difference. Any account manager, with half-decent emotional intelligence, can listen to a Marketing Director and badger his/her agency colleagues to ensure the end deliverable is suitably reflective of the brief. They can even make target easily enough in these digital 'gold rush' times.

The 'making a difference' bit is where the job satisfaction lies.  An AD's role has three strands, as I see it:

  1. To interpret a client's needs, spot commercial opportunities, facilitate expert input and, using all of these and their SME knowledge, advise the best path forward.

  2. To get under the skin of your client's business, become a brand advocate, and ensure the deliverable is of the standard to make your client smile.

  3. And lastly, to build a relationship where you are seen as trustworthy, reliable and – dare I say – insightful enough to make a difference to their role/brand/company.

Combining these three all day, every day isn't easy, especially with a smile on your face (just ask my colleagues). After all, a career as a CSer can be just as exhausting and frustrating as it is rewarding and exhilarating. I can tell you one thing, though – it's magic when it works. Not only because I avoid silly conversations about justifying payment for my time, or watch clients double their business with you. Or getting to work with brands you never thought you'd be responsible for.

It's because it's truly, epically rewarding helping a client transform their digital and deliver excellence, knowing you were there every step of the way.

Mark Hopkins Mark Hopkins Executive Director Mark Hopkins