What does it take to be an account manager today? What skills and knowledge are necessary, and how have they shifted over time? Client service has definitely evolved from what it was 10 years ago. There are more ways of building a brand and reaching audiences. While we used to be fairly limited to traditional outlets like television, print, radio and outdoor campaigns, the digital explosion has created exponentially more opportunities to communicate with customers. This landscape has upped the marketing game, and we are seeing a lot of new possibilities. The fundamental role that account managers play hasn’t changed. Building trust with clients, having a sense of leadership and looking at a client’s business from strategic perspectives are still necessary, but the means of doing those and what clients expect from them have changed. The challenge for account managers is how to make themselves more valuable experts in today’s digital world.
While business results are the single most important measure of our success, we do admit that we get excited about awards around here. It is always nice to be recognized, and we have lots and lots of beautiful trophies that we proudly display just outside our conference room.
We’re all familiar with the phrase “the customer is always right,” but when it comes to client/agency relationships, this motto shouldn’t always apply.
At M/C/C, we pride ourselves on being great consultants because, after all, that’s what our clients hire us for. In our 30 years of business, we’ve always been committed, first and foremost, to our clients’ success. With every recommendation we make and every action we take, we keep our clients’ business and marketing objectives in focus.
There are times, however, when we may disagree with our clients in an effort to get the best results. It’s what we consider the method to our madness.
How would your company like to attract and retain better employees than your competition can? Employees who are engaged with your customers and are invested in the success of your business? Employees who are advocates for your brand and who collaborate with one another?
It’s hard to imagine any company that wouldn’t like to enjoy these benefits.
As I look back on the year 2016, five favorite M/C/C moments come to mind.
This month, M/C/C reached a new milestone – our 30th year in marketing communications. In that time, we’ve seen a number of advances. Amongst them, some of the broadest have included the design implications of personal computers, the birth of analytics in marketing and an entire evolution of how people receive information. Those changes are societal though. Everyone has seen the impacts firsthand. The business of advertising and public relations has progressed just as much one or two levels deeper as well, and that’s the part of our sausage-making that outsiders rarely get to see.
Since its release on July 6th, the world’s population has been split into two categories: those who play Pokémon GO and those who do not. I personally fall into the first category, though my Pokédex is nothing to brag about. Regardless of which category you fall into, there’s a very good chance you’ve talked about it. This is because the app was an instant record-setter. According to a Fox News article, “it hit Number 1 on US iPhone sales after precisely 13 hours.” It comes as no surprise that this massive trend has become a hot topic in the past month.
Our agency just so happens to sit on one of the game’s gyms, and it isn’t uncommon to find people hovering by the office building’s doors seeking an epic Pokémon battle. Seeing the app’s success at our front door, one can’t help but ask, “What lessons from Pokémon GO can apply to our industry?”
It’s easy to accept something for what it is at face value. A tree is something to climb on. A cactus makes a great desk plant. A flower is something to pick that also happens to smell nice. And yet, there is so much more beneath the surface. A flowering plant is more than its petals; there are roots, a stem, leaves.
The same can be said for advertising and public relations agencies. At face value, they design banner ads, make TV commercials and write press releases. Like most things, however, there is much more going on behind the scenes.
As someone who works in the industry, I find it easy to focus solely on analytics. Our clients find it easy to focus on the department that they primarily interact with, most likely the account services team. But, like a flowering plant is more than its parts, an agency is more than just one department. To understand this, it’s important to comprehend the different functions performed by each department within an agency. For the sake of a metaphor, we can define departments and their functions with botany!
SXSW Interactive is more branded today than it has ever been in the past. As a marketer, I was like a kid in a candy shop last month as I wandered the streets of Austin, Texas, trying to absorb all the marketing around me. It seemed as though everything at SXSW was branded in some form or fashion, and, while much of this branding came in the form of typical guerilla marketing or free swag, there were a few brands that had stepped up their game and took their SXSW marketing to a whole new level.
Brands took over restaurants, bars and event spaces around the convention center, and some even built temporary structures for the week. The brands completely transformed these venues into immersive experiences for SXSW Interactive attendees with everything from product showcases to cocktail bars and buffets to lounges with stunning views of the Austin skyline. The brands did everything from repainting the interiors and exteriors to replacing the existing furniture and walls with their own. Most even replaced the name on the side of the building with their own logos and names. Marketers did all of this to facilitate innovative and memorable experiences for SXSWi attendees and to engage thought leaders in a live, experiential ways.
After visiting many of these, I could clearly see which were truly engaging with the attendees and creative positive associations between the consumers and the brand and which were missing the target. It all came down to whether the brand stayed true to itself and how well its execution aligned with the event. The two best examples were IBM and Samsung.
Having completed its 21st year, the SXSW Interactive conference has been around almost as long as M/C/C has, and that is impressive. Its hundreds of panel sessions cover a variety of topics from future trends to marketing and branding. For a full-service digital marketing communications agency like ours, this conference is a great source for insights, ideas and inspiration as well as validation for our employees.
Our agency has always been on top of new media, technologies and applications. We have proactive relationships with our clients, and they expect us to continually recommend new ideas and tactics that will improve their efficiencies and increase their ROI.
At M/C/C, we’re always looking for seminars and conferences that add value. Our employees get new ideas, and we pass those onto our clients through enhanced services and/or increased performance.