Marketing Agency Account Manager Characteristics

Ahh… I finally get to write a blog about my favorite person within a marketing agency. The Account Manager! I love the accomplishments and volatility good account management brings and the relationships they build. Why do you ask why I like account management so much? It’s simple. Because it’s one of the most important jobs in the building!

Account management is no easy task. Great Account Managers are like a concert orchestra conductor, who plays all the instruments. Imagine that? You walk into a concert hall and see someone conducting while playing all the instruments for the entire show.  Yea, exactly! That’s what Account Management feels like sometimes. You are consistently pulling strings, monitoring progress, keeping track of budgets, temper-tantrums, and your occasional fire – all while ensuring the client’s goals and expectations are being met. Account Management involves more psychology, babysitting and hand-holding then an actual sometimes, but at a marketing agency, this role is more crucial than ever.

In this article, I will cover the different types of account manager’s characteristics. Now I’m no doctor, so please don’t expect some in-depth analysis of the brain. You won’t find complex medical terms or citations from the American Journal of Medicine. I won’t bore you! This entertaining analysis simply defines some characteristics I’ve come across over my 18 years’ experience. This article is meant to entertain, as much as inform. So hope you enjoy!

The Philosopher: This account manager is generally smarter than the average cookie. This individual has a good sense of business knowledge but occasionally lacks implementation techniques to take the strategy to the next level. This Philosopher is constantly redefining business strategies, goals, and ads while trying to avoid any real work. So nothing ever really gets done.

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The Philosopher loves to hear themselves talk and often believe they are the smartest person in the room.

Overcomplicating things is something these account managers do often. They figure if you’re confused, then they’re in control! This person reads Socrates, marketing blogs, digital marketing magazines and any book that they can find. How else do you think they find things to talk about?

Generally citing things from things they read, they interject into a general conversation to make it things sounds more changing then they are. The Philosopher definitely has a good sense of how to manage an account for the agency, but they tend to frustrate peers because they can never get anything to work consistently. The philosopher is most commonly compared to; shady car salesman, astrologers, and scam artist. This person is a fast talker and often walks around the office picking peoples brain.


Mechanic – Who doesn’t love a good mechanic?  This type of account manager is very good with Google AdWords Editor and Facebook Business Manager but has no actual business sense. This person tends to always be optimizing the campaign, using every new tool Google/Facebook has to offer and believes that more work means better results.

They rarely ever let the account run. This individual is always changing variables, so growth is hard to analyze. Turning knobs and flipping dials defines these people’s habits.

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Most commonly associated with a monkey, this person will be happy to never talk to the client. They love just sending reports. Anti-Social by nature, this person hates talking to people most of the time. They tend to play video games more than average while dreading discussing ideas because they don’t really know what the hell they’re doing with the account. They spend most of the day listening to clients tell them what to do, walking around the office, disrupting other departments with client complaints and confused about campaign progress. These Account Managers tend to retain customers longer than the Philosopher, but eventually burn-out because they are constantly running in circles.

Analyst – One of my favorite types of account managers, this account person walks a fine line between the “Philosopher” and “Mechanic.” They tend to overthink everything like the “Philosopher”, but they actually get work done. They even build data to support some of the concepts they create.

The analyst tends to eat cold pizza and stare at Google Analytics all-day like day-traders watching news announcements. They are waiting for the next big market swing. They are most commonly related to the financial analyst with deep understanding of data and charts.

If statistics were a sport, this account manager will strive to be at the Olympics. They are constantly evaluating performance, testing and comparing data with performance and never really satisfied.

Frequently feeling overwhelmed by data, this account manager tends to wear earphones to distort all real conversations. Reports and arrow indicators define how this person feels, so this account manager is often depressed and seeks the comfort of others to help alleviate the pressure.

Often confused by the amount of data analyzed, this account manager tends to be pushy. Clients generally feel sorry for this individual, because they don’t even understand half the data that’s being presented. Seeing large success, this account manager tends to keep accounts a lot longer than “Philosopher” and “Mechanic” but has trouble when performance is not there. They tend to lose confidence on accounts when the market changes and sales decrease.

The Good Steward – The most character of the Account Manager, the “Good Steward” tends to show empathy and be passionate about performance. The Good Steward is more concise and mindful then all the other character types, as they tend to be more empathetic, conversational, genuine, and less automated than most individuals. They are always looking to please the customer.

Generosity and integrity are of utmost importance to them and they consider developing a relationship with the customer essential. This often leaves them vulnerable to complaints working on accounts, much more than they are allotted.

Often, good-stewards care more about the account then the actual customer does. Always looking out for the best interest of the customer, this account manager would refund the client “more” than the invested amount, if they ever found out the customer was unhappy.

Dog lover and keeper of all things pure, this type of account manager often provide the personal story’s as a way to show compassion. They rather cut off there arm then have you lose a finger. They treat every dollar as if was theirs, and often cry in the bathroom when a client leaves.

Well, there you have it! Ok, maybe I’m being hyperbolic…  The truth is there is no right or wrong way to manage your accounts. However, there is definitely a right and wrong way to manage people. So during your next client meeting, take a second to observe what type of character you’re portraying.

Happy account managing!

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