OPINION: Account management is stronger than ever

Michael McEwan
By Michael McEwan | 19 November 2012

Following the published interview with Y&R's worldwide planning boss Sandy Thompson last week in AdNews, there was a flurry of emails and phone calls demanding a call to arms to publicly defend the reputation of account management in Australia. At first glance, it appeared as though she had all but announced the death of account management, suggesting it's at risk of becoming an extinct art form.

However, those of us working within this great occupation know better than most that there has never been a greater number of highly educated, passionate people working in account management, building their careers and fighting for great work.

Account management is about leadership regardless of whether you are a graduate starting out or a business director running the largest account team in the nation. No other time in our industry's history has there been so much media fragmentation, competitiveness, stakeholders, challenges and opportunity confronting our clients. Good account managers work across this fragmentation providing the leadership required to get the best outcome for clients.

And in my view, this kind of vital account management leadership is in fine health.  These days, everything is measured, results are real time and agencies are held to account. It's the leadership provided by account management in collaboration with their colleagues, including planners, that creates an environment for creativity to drive business.

None of this could occur without the ability of account managers to understand how to solve clients' business problems.  In fact, the majority of our country's leading account managers use their broad skills to work with brands across a range of complex issues that reach far beyond simply being 'meeting organisers' as Ms Thompson infers.

Account management is as tough and as rewarding as it's ever been.  It's a place for those looking to become strong leaders with a deep understanding of their clients brands and businesses, and certainly not a place for those looking to have their role 'downgraded' as she states.

The Account Management Group is committed to helping attract and retain the best talent to our industry. Sandy, if you happen to be jetting into Melbourne next Wednesday, you are most welcome to join our soirée and hear from those in our industry who see a much brighter future for account managers and the leadership role they provide. They will be talking on the topic of 'The dark arts of account management' and how they are alive and well. At least in Australia anyway.

Michael McEwan
General Manager
Badjar Ogilvy

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