When I was a child, I would watch MTV almost the whole day, and I would form alternate concepts for music videos I didn’t like.
A decade ago, a college friend asked me, “What do you want to be after college?” I told him, “an eventologist”. Eventologist was the term coined by media for known event managers at that time. Both of us wanted to organize events because the event management was new and had some kind of sophistication at that time. And being in college, all I wanted to really do was party and “be seen”.
I tried out for the marketing and advertising organizations. I didn’t get through, but I helped implement a few events in the organization that I got in. I also directed an event for the organization I had my internship in. After college, I still participated in events, specifically for my second job. Despite having a social science degree and a political orientation in my thinking, God (or for others, “the Universe”, especially for adherents of Law of Attraction and The Secret) seemed to hear clearly what I had said ten years ago, and is still leading me into a profession that still involves events. I may not have gotten into my university’s marketing and advertising organizations, but I am now working for a marketing and communications agency, and many of our projects involve event management and video production.
Your dreams can be reality. But in order to keep on living your dream as you had wished it to be, you have to really work at it. Some people want to work for marketing, communications and advertising because of the money, the high life and partying. Yes, people in these industries party hard, but they work hard first. My not-so-great stint in account management actually lead me to write these, so I could help account managers-to-be, and account managers in general to be better than me and achieve success in what they do, especially in jobs that involve marketing, communications or advertising, and enjoy the life they want!
Account management is largely coordination in nature, and so it requires a person to be really organized. To-do lists and a checklist of requirements are needed. Don’t rely on your ability to remember things, even if you’re very good in keeping this in mind because they are bound to get cluttered. Have a notebook and actually write on it (I LOVE notebooks). Put up a whiteboard on your desk. Use your mobile phone’s native calendar and note-taking apps to keep the requirements and appointments in mind. These two lists are needed, especially since you may get to handle more than one account.
Thinking on your feet is another requirement for account management. The cliche, “expect the unexpected” is true for any project, be it events, video production, creatives or even strategy. The event’s emcee suddenly catches an illness, the equipment for the shoot gets delayed, client changes their mind on what their material should look like, etcetera etcetera etcetera. Always have a back-up plans.
Nowadays account management is not just about getting things done for the project , it’s also about managing relationships. As an account manager, a person has to have excellent communication skills and intuition, in order for him or her to communicate well to know and understand what the client thinks or needs, and communicate these thoughts or needs to staff or suppliers. An account manager’s listening and responding skills are important for his or her company’s reputation and success. Also, having a great, friendly attitude counts a lot!
Transactions within a project have to be documented. Some people prefer business transactions over e-mail or SMS (at least here in the Philippines) because of the trail. Other people, like me, prefer business transactions over the phone. In any case, every discussion has to be documented through contact reports, and has to be sent to everyone who should be looped in.
Breathe. Pace yourself. With the flurry of tasks on your list, there is a possibility for you to want to respond to everyone at the same time. Again, breathe and pace yourself. After listening to your clients, and talking to your staff and suppliers, take time to recollect before moving again.
Always strive to deliver excellent work.
Initially, this blog post was supposed to be about creating the perfect checklist of account management. I realized just how much more it is than being organized, hence the longer more detailed post.
Thanks for reading my blog post. Hope it helped!