If you are about to embark on your Digital Agency career, the Account Director position might seem like a far-off dream - the ultimate goal to work towards. Or maybe you’ve spent a couple of years as an Account Manager, and you’re wondering if it’s time to start thinking about the next step? Either way, we’re here to lift the curtain on what a day as an Account Director really looks like.
Janey Leonard-Myers, Account Director at The Behaviours Agency, has given us a peek into her day-to-day life at work, as well as some valuable advice if this is your career goal…
What is an Account Director?
An Account Director is responsible for overseeing client projects, as well as developing and nurturing client relationships. They have a range of regular duties, including project planning, budget management, and co-ordinating and developing their Account Management team. Account Directors are also heavily involved in growth plans and strategic planning.
They lead the Account Management team, developing the team and overseeing their work. They also get to jump in and gets hands-on when required, especially in smaller agencies.
How do you become an Account Director?
There is no one way of becoming an Account Director, instead your career trajectory will likely be dependant on your qualifications, employer, and personal ability.
Janey’s journey to Account Director began at university, where she studied Marketing and Business. After graduating, she fell into advertising, starting her career in the New Business team, before moving more towards Client Services as creativity called to her. She made the leap from a large group agency to a smaller, specialist boutique agency, where she has been able to grow and develop her career.
A degree, however, is not essential to the role in Janey’s opinion (despite what some job adverts and agency owners say!). It is possible to work your way up from the very bottom, as an Account Executive or Assistant, by constantly improving yourself and your skills.
To be a successful Account Director, you need to be a bit of a ‘Yes Man’, taking your client’s vision, strategically considering if it is the right decision, and looking at how you can elevate their ideas even further. You’ll also be incredibly open to new ideas, never happy to repeat the same formula over and over again.
The saying ‘Jack of all trades’ often gets a bad rep, but in a role like this one that’s what you’ll need to be! As a result of this, you are exposed to a wide variety of different projects, helping you develop a wide range of skills very quickly. Your time management skills will be on point, and your ability to handle stress will be second-to-none.
Janey’s top advice for working your way up the ladder is to build a network by going to as many events and talks as you can, meeting and talking to as many people as possible whilst you’re there. In a role such as this one, you must be a generalist… but a very knowledgeable generalist! By building a strong network of knowledgeable people, you have people that you can reach out to for advice, knowledge, or referrals when you need it.
A Day in the Life
What does a typical day in the office look like for an Account Director? We chatted to Janey to discover just that…
Time to get out of bed and walk the dog! Nothing gets you out of bed quite like a Labrador waiting for his walk…
You arrive at the office (with a coffee, of course!) ready to crack on with your day! First things first, a quick check of your emails to make sure that nothing urgent has landed in your inbox overnight, then it’s time to throw together a quick to-do list.
It’s time for a 15-minute workflow meeting with your team. It’s an opportunity to catch up on what everyone is working on at the moment, if they are keeping on track or need extra support, and to discuss any issues.
After making a quick brew, you’re back at your desk getting yourself prepared for…
Briefing time! As you work in a smaller digital agency, you still get to be hands-on with this, and today your team is reviewing a creative brief for a rebrand for one of your clients. The whole team pitches in with ideas and feedback, and you assign tasks for your team to go away and complete.
From one meeting to another, you’re about to jump on a call with another of your clients to update them on the status of a project you are working on. It’s important to keep your clients in the loop!
You want to catch up with a few members of your team, so you’ve scheduled in a few 15/20 minute meetings with some team members to touch base on where they’re at with their work and if they need any support or guidance.
12.30pm – Lunchtime!
Back at your desk, you finally have an hour to crack on with something fun and creative! You’re working on a concept for a new advertisement, so you open your files and continue to work on them…
A new client meeting! Your team recently won a pitch for a TV advertisement, and now it’s time to make it happen! You’ll kick off the meeting by discussing the project, before assigning responsibilities to those best placed to complete them. You’ll also get into the nitty-gritty of the project, discussing time frames and managing client expectations.
You have another half hour meeting with a loyal client, who is thinking of launching a new marketing campaign and needs your agency’s support. You discuss a few ideas, and then arrange another meeting in a week to bring them some ideas and move forward with the campaign.
It’s time for your weekly New Business meeting. On this call, you discuss new opportunities for the business, share market intel, and dream up growth plans for both your team and the wider business. You’ll also share ideas and contacts, working together to keep the business growing.
After a busy, busy day in the office… you are ready for home! After a quick goodbye to your colleagues (and one last email check, of course), you head out of the door to relax for the evening.
Your Dream Career?
No two days as an Account Director are ever the same, according to Janey. “You can be a marketing manager, a communications manager, a business development specialist… you never get bored! With an agency, you get to wear many different hats and work on multiple projects, which helps keep the creativity flowing.” She says.
If this sounds exactly like the type of career that you would love, it's time to start preparing to be the best Account Director out there! Not sure where to start in a Digital Agency?
Examples of other Digital Agency roles:
New Business Manager
Digital Project Manager
Social Media Account Manager