At the beginning of the year, Melissa Gullickson, Marketwave’s Director of Client Services, tasked the team with reading “The Art of Client Service,” by Robert Solomon. The book lists 58 things that Solomon, an account management and client service expert, believes every advertising and marketing professional should know.
These are my top takeaways:
1. Respect what it takes to do creative work.
An account executive’s job is “to improve the work, not approve it.” At an agency, each employee has an area of expertise – creative, sales, account service, administrative – and each requires different strengths and talents. It’s important to respect the strengths of each employee and recognize the challenges they face. This fosters teamwork within the agency – an essential component of delivering great work to the client.
2. Listening is more important than talking.
As marketers, we like to talk. But meetings, presentations and brainstorms should never be a one-way street. The goal is not to make every point on an outline – it’s to encourage an open dialogue that “leads to a sharing of ideas and opinions,” and a successful plan of action.
3. You can’t lead an account from your desk.
In a world of cubicles and office seclusion, physical interaction in the workplace is rare. Put down the phone, stop typing emails and limit virtual conferences – instead, get up and interact with clients and colleagues. As Solomon says, “Account work is fieldwork. You need to visit your clients regularly, no matter if they are on the next street or in the next time zone.” Face time is important; it helps solidify better marketing and build relationships.
4. Judgment overrides any rule.
There is an exception to every rule. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake, because you will. The important thing is to learn from it. “The account people with the best judgment are the ones who made mistakes and learned from them. Their good judgment comes in part from previous bad judgment.”
So turn on R-E-S-P-E-C-T, listen more, walk away from your desk and break some rules. Read the book and let us know your top takeaways!