Account Management is Dead
Ian Lurie Dec 3 2007
Account management, long the bastion of 3-martini lunches and oh-so-happy clients, is dead, and internet marketing killed it.
Well, traditional account management, anyway. I don’t want to scare my employees.
In the past, account managers had to know how to schmooze, and how to communicate. Their job was to advise the client about creative, shuttle work between the agency, the client and the publisher, and provide a good face for the company. They didn’t have to know how the TV station would broadcast the ad, or the science behind 4-color printing, or how radios were built.
Internet marketing is a whole new world.
An account manager can’t just talk about how the website looks. They have to know how it works.
They can’t just talk about media placement. They have to know about SEO.
And they can’t just talk about results. They have to know web analytics.
Sure, they can always answer client questions with “I’ll get back to you on that”. In my experience, though, clients hate that.
The account manager position has gone from a starting job to the most demanding role in the agency.
At my company, we’re developing a template for a new role: The account strategist. These folks work with the client on everything from features to creative to search marketing to media planning. Typically we promote from within, training candidates first in PPC and search, and then promoting them to account strategist.
What do you think? Am I just having a case of the account management Mondays?
CEO & Founder
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He’s recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch.
Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle.