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Forgotten the basics of account management? Then be guilty for stopping creativity

Forgotten the basics of account management? Then be guilty for stopping creativity
Dare's Alex Smith kicks off the agency's series with a look at how focusing on fundamentals can make all the difference.

How many times will a phrase ‘the basics’ be heard in the career of an account manager?

If I was a betting man, my answer would be countless.

The sad fact is that I believe account managers across adland forget the basics or, more specifically, believe that the need to do the basics either stops or can be forgotten as you progress up the career ladder.

Actually, I would go one step further and argue doing the basics of account management is the difference between being an account manager and being a suit.

By the nature of the profession, those who work in account management can’t show off a design they spent four weeks crafting in Photoshop, or a website that has been hand-built in a piece of software that rivals the NASA Space Programme.

We are the art curators of our industry. What we can proudly lay claim to, is that we make the environment for creativity to flourish. How? By doing the basics.

Take meeting rooms as one example. Ask yourself when you last attended a client meeting (doesn't matter their level or pay-grade) in which the chairs were all the right height or the IT setup was flawless?

Such a meeting is sadly in the minority. If an agency can’t present to a client a simple thing such as a turned-out room with a crisp agenda, then why should the client trust you and gamble on that brave piece of creative work or assign a chunk of marketing budget to your idea?

You may be an ex-suit CEO reading this article. Whilst I don’t expect you to set out a meeting for 20 at 8:45am in the morning, I do expect the healthy paranoia and the inherent basics to question the meeting room your client will experience for the next two hours.

From a meeting room to actively choosing phone over email (although hard) to speak to the client in a morning call, it’s the small (dare I say old school) basics of account management which have been lost. Forget the films of Martin Scorsese, your clients and their business should be your Mastermind specialist subject.

What happens if you, yes you, reading this is guilty of the above? Poor client-agency relationships only lead one way - towards poor creative work.

It’s our role as suits to curate and guide both our agency and our clients through the work, through both the good times and the tough. You must be one part cheerleader and two bits Royal Marine, your healthy paranoia blended with a dash of 007’s charm.

All of this is achievable if we remember to do the basics. It’s these basics which form the plumbing behind a Sony ‘Balls’ campaign or indeed a 10 year client-agency relationship. It’s the basics which mean your client takes your hand and jumps with you.

Whilst I could spend all day listing out what I see as the basics, I won’t. What I will ask of you is to have a rethink as to what basics you have forgotten or may have fallen by the wayside.

I'll finish with a question - what was your client’s business revenue and profit last year?

Alex Smith is a suit at Dare.

This is the first in a series so check back for more each week.

Last updated 21/08/2014

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