I'm Vicky, and I'm an account director
Describe your job
I’m an Account Director, which means I’m the face of the agency to the client, and the face of the client to the agency.
It’s my job to immerse myself completely in my clients’ businesses, understand what their pain points are, and help them set marketing objectives to overcome those pain points. We’re often tasked with getting customers to spend more or sign up to services more frequently.
This is where the agency brief comes in! A need for some superstar creative brains to work out how we might communicate to customers and encourage them to take action. I’ll work with a client – and a brilliant agency strategist – to develop a creative brief, which will then be brought in house to be developed into comms, which could be anything from a social post, to a newspaper ad or 30 seconds on TV.
A huge part of my job is pushing the best possible creative solutions through the agency and helping the team to position it appropriately for the clients to want to buy it. Having that client relationship and knowledge of their business is most important at this stage – presenting the work and the price tag that comes with it! With any luck, it flies through approvals and we are good to get producing!
What are the most important skills you need to do your job?
Understanding people! Being able to read the room and support the work that is important to your team with bundles of enthusiasm. But also, knowing when enough is enough if at risk of pushing too hard. It’s our job to motivate, inspire and bring the client and agency teams together, with one shared vision.
It’s also important working agency side, to be creatively driven and super passionate about the work. The industry itself is no mean feet! But it is made up of a lot of brilliant grafters who are all ultimately striving for the same goal – to make the best, most effective, and most talked about creative work.
I left school and...
I made a last minute rash decision to ditch my Uni plans... Something to do with waking up one day and realising I didn’t want to be the wedding planner I thought I did back when I applied, aged 16.
I decided to trial the working world and apply for a completely different course for the following year – just in case. But once you start, it’s pretty hard to go back to a student life, so I stuck with it!
After a few different jobs, I started to focus on a plan for the longer term. Marketing sparked some intrigue at the time, so I started in a small, independent shop which specialised mainly in branding. It was perfect to cement some good marketing knowledge, and allowed me to study a professional marketing course in the evenings, but I felt hungry for a faster paced life.
So I packed my bags for London and joined a wonderful advertising agency as an Account Manager on a luxury automotive account. There are lots of similarities in marketing and advertising agencies, but working on an automotive account was a huge baptism of fire – big production budgets, pretty full on clients, and lots of fast paced work. There was a huge work hard, play hard culture at the agency and I threw myself right in the midst of it all. It was an incredible experience, in which I made some lifelong friends, and would do all over again in a heartbeat. I enjoyed two brilliant years there but still feeling so new to the industry, I was keen to see what other agencies had in store.
I briefly freelanced before finding my feet at a wonderful small independent shop. I had moved from a 150+ network agency to one of 25 people - run by three superstar pals, with a very flat structure. Who knew it was possible to turn creative work around in 24 hours?!
There are some great benefits of small agency working – you can be incredibly nimble at responding to briefs and somehow, weirdly, you feel less of a standstill impact when the agency goes into pitch mode. Everyone played a huge role in the work and it was an agency of wonderfully talented people.
The social aspect will never quite live up to the early years within a network agency, but that was perfect for me at the time.
My partner and I made the big move to Melbourne 12 months ago – we were in the mood for a big change and wanted to see what life down under had to offer. It’s so liberating to up and leave and know no one in a completely new country, I would recommend it to anyone. Luckily the global advertising industry gives us great opportunities to move and still be able to work in the same roles in most big cities.
I had my eye on an agency I thought would be the perfect fit, but nothing secured before arriving. Thankfully, the stars have since aligned and I’m six months into the role, feeling like home away from home...
Before I started my career, I wish I knew…
Say yes to the small stuff.
If a client wants a bigger logo at the end of their ad – give them a bigger logo! It’s not going to ruin the work. Bide your time building your relationships so that when you push for something creatively, they hear you!
A mistake I made which you can avoid repeating is...
I wouldn’t recommend lying to clients! As an Account Manager on my first production, I was a little out of my depth and turned to a colleague for advice communicating a pretty serious last minute production change to the client… a very obvious lie to a very experienced client who, in turn, ate me alive for it.
I still shudder thinking about it now… That lesson was quickly learned!
So, what’s next?
I’m really enjoying soaking up the advertising world down under at the moment, but nothing compares to the buzz of the biz back in London! I will most definitely return in the next 2 years and look forward to seeing who’s making great work at that time.
The advertising industry is seriously competitive, so agencies tend to ride waves of greatness – the people making brilliant work now may be nowhere to be seen in 2 years’ time!