Advertising Account Manager

Be vital link between clients and the internal staff at advertising agencies.
Ivy Simon
Editorial Writer
Be vital link between clients and the internal staff at advertising agencies.

The primary job of an advertising account manager is to manage the relationship and flow of work between an advertising agency and its clients. They consult with clients to understand their needs, convey client proposals to relevant creative, planning, and media buying staff within the agency, and monitor progress on the work and its deliverables.  

Agencies typically assign account managers to a small number of client accounts each, due to the high-touch nature of advertising work. Account managers serve as the primary point of contact between clients and the agency’s internal teams. They play the dual role of being gatekeepers and project managers for all incoming and outgoing agency work.

Life on the job

This job can be quite fast-paced and demanding. Account managers typically work long hours and may need to be on call at all times – whether with clients or internal team members. You will usually be juggling multiple projects or campaigns at any one time, so the ability to multi-task and work under pressure will be key.  

Your primary role as an account manager will be to keep projects moving. Externally, this involves conducting meetings with clients, tracking and delivering campaign assets for client review, and managing clients’ expectations. Internally, you will be liaising with creative teams for campaign assets, working with account planners and media buyers to determine campaign timeframes and rollout periods, conveying client feedback to relevant team members, and making sure everything stays on schedule overall.   

The best account managers are those who can develop a deep understanding of what their clients really want and can effectively convey it to the internal teams, reducing needless back-and-forth with the client. They also serve as the first line of defense, gatekeeping clients from overwhelming the agency with too much extra work while simultaneously keeping them satisfied with the quality of the deliverables they receive.    

Though working as an account manager can be quite demanding, it does come with some great perks. You will gain exposure to many different industries, and build a strong network of contacts which could benefit you later on in your career. You will also have the opportunity to work closely with creatives and influence their work, which is great experience for if you decide to switch over to the creative side of advertising eventually.  

Required Skills

Account managers need to possess strong communication skills. They must be able to clearly articulate the client’s needs to team members, as well as the agency’s own creative ideas and recommendations to clients. 

The majority of an account manager’s work involves coordinating and working with others, so strong interpersonal and teamwork skills are a must. Clients can get very demanding, and agencies are often staffed with plenty of headstrong individuals. Knowing how to manage such relationships on every level will be key to getting things done effectively. 

Account managers must also have good problem-solving skills. No campaign ever goes entirely according to plan, so you must be quick on your feet and able to come up with good solutions when unexpected challenges arise. Being able to keep a cool head under pressure is essential as well.

Lastly, despite the project management-focused nature of this role, you will still need to have a good eye for design and copy, as well as a good overall sense of marketing and branding best practices. You will be working very closely with individuals across both the creative and business side of the agency, and having sharp commercial sense for what works and what doesn’t is what separates a good account manager from a truly great one.