An account director is a role that is commonly found in advertising and marketing agencies, but can also exist within in-house marketing departments. They are typically responsible for overall client satisfaction, the development of client relationships, and ultimately the success of the accounts they are assigned.
This can be a complex, exciting and very rewarding role that requires strong organisational, communication and interpersonal skills.
Account directors work with a variety of teams within an organisation, both client-facing and non-client-facing. This requires them to have a broad understanding of marketing and to draw on the knowledge and specialisms of different departments, such as copywriters, graphic designers and digital strategists, to achieve success. As such, they are often required to take a holistic view of an account, rather than focusing solely on the department they may have specialised in while working their way up.
Typically, account directors manage, coordinate, and oversee all of a client’s commercial ventures, from establishing and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders to managing day-to-day activities. This means having to provide direction and inspiration to ensure work is completed on time and to a high standard, as well as optimising resources and budgets.
When managing client relationships, it is essential that the account director acts as a liaison between the agency, the client and other stakeholders, ensuring a clear line of communication between the parties is maintained.
They should aim to understand the goals of all stakeholders involved and respond to any feedback to maintain their relationship with the client.
As a bridge between the agency and the client, it is also essential that the account director has a good understanding of both groups. This means being aware of the culture and operations of both, and utilising their expertise and knowledge to ensure successful working relationships between the two.
At the heart of the role is the drive to understand a client's businesses and their needs. For each account, it is important for the account director to be highly organised, with the ability to confidently interpret and juggle multiple briefs and deadlines. In addition, they must also be able to solve complex issues and take decisions quickly, while remaining calm in times of high pressure.
Account directors must also be highly competent communicators, able to think creatively, while also articulate their ideas effectively and accurately to the client, helping to develop the project and keep it on track. In addition, they must be able to lead with authority and respect, and also be willing to listen to and take on board the feedback of everyone involved in the project.
In terms of best practices, it is important for the account director to focus on developing relationships with their clients, to do what is right for the client and agency, and to remain open to feedback and criticism. They should also strive to improve their own knowledge and understanding of the industry, and ensure that their work meets the highest standards. As with any role, the account director must strive to continually develop, learn from mistakes and seek out new ideas and opportunities.
The account director is a pivotal role that leads the client relationship and sets the tone for the working of both agency and client. A successful account director must be flexible, creative, an excellent communicator and people-person, and possess an in-depth knowledge of the industry. Working as a key point of contact between clients and the agency, it is an exciting role that requires hard work, dedication and expertise.