A few months after graduating from university, I got offered a job at Realise Digital, one of the Top 100 Digital Marketing Agencies in the UK. I applied for an Account Executive role and if I’m honest, was not entirely sure what the role would entail but was ready for a new challenge. An Account Executive is one of the direct links between an agency and their clients. We help clients to fulfil their digital needs and desires. We make digital things happen. And we always try to deliver on time and on budget.
Since joining Realise and working as a member of Client Service, I have learned 10 invaluable lessons.
1. Satisfy your curiosity: Ask questions. No question is a silly question, especially if you have never worked in a digital agency before. Agencies are made up of people with different personalities, backgrounds and experience, who in combination have a wealth of vast, varied and valuable digital knowledge.
2. Be able to read your own handwriting: Always remember to take notes during meetings and calls in order to follow up with minutes which detail the key decisions which were made, any actions required and the associated owners.
3. Always be prepared: It is important to plan ahead; this may involve researching clients before a meeting or simply writing a to-do-list at the beginning of the day. If you are organised, it will allow you to manage your workload and client’s expectation more effectively.
4. Unleash your inner geek: Technology is changing the way people interact with organisations and consume their products and services. As a member of Client Service, it is essential you are aware of the latest new-fangled technologies and digital trends in order to help your clients find the most effective and competitive ways to target existing/potential new consumers online and offline.
5. Pay close attention to detail: Risk is inherent in every project. Projects can run over schedule and budget for numerous different reasons. To help reduce the risk of project failure, it is essential you are able to pay close attention to detail. This can be as simple as foreseeing and responding to a resource shortage early in a project or identifying a change request and its impact on the original project plan.
6. Let Techies bamboozle you with science: Digital Marketing is full of buzz words and acronyms so make sure you know the difference between your XML and XSLTs. You should be able to understand and translate complex technical concepts and jargon into clear, concise pieces of information which clients will understand.
7. Be afraid to speak your mind: When decisions need to be made quickly, it is important to use your judgement. In Client Service you soon learn what you can and cannot commit to and when it is appropriate to say no to clients as well as colleagues.
8. Give up: Be persistent, meticulous and learn from your mistakes. Mistakes will happen but it is how you deal with them which will determine your success as a member of Client Service. Make sure your clients remember what went well rather than what didn’t go so well.
9. Panic under pressure: Panicking about your work will cause others to worry and decrease your productivity at work. As a member of Client Service, you should be able to remain calm, collected and in control of difficult situations or during periods of change.
10. Always react: Business critical issues, like a website outage, often need to be resolved as they arise. This reactive approach to Client Service will satisfy your clients. However, in order to surprise and delight clients, you also need to be proactive, continuously trying to spot opportunities for improvement and resolve problems before they arise.
Life in a digital agency is fast pasted, hard work and unpredictable. Change is part of agency life - people, projects and technology are constantly changing and so, you learn to adapt and embrace change. I love the exciting, challenging and ever-changing nature of my role as an Account Executive at Realise. Long gone are my student days – day time TV binges and late night library lock-ins are well and truly a thing of the past!