It’s an industry-wide debate – Project Managers V Account Managers and one that has been going since the (remember this?) pre-digital era.
VML London’s Amanda Farmer presented the BIMA Bristol breakfast briefing with some great thoughts – which does your agency use and why? While many CSDs and AMs are happy to pick up technical know-how from their PM colleagues, they often see themselves as translators for clients, deciphering the technical jargon and limitations during each project. While the AM will want to drive revenue, the PM will be set on delivering on time and on budget.
Whatever the setting or process within an individual agency, the need for clearly defined roles and responsibilities of the PM and AM is crucial and should lead to a collaborative approach between them (and ideally with the UX or Strategist involved too). The best working partnership will deliver the best quality product for the client. Physically sitting side by side in the office can only enhance the understanding and relationship between the PM and AM. By sharing the same goals and focus, the client should then be able to see the value in what they’re paying for. Importantly the trust built working together will lead to a culture of shared success.
An hour long discussion followed Amanda’s engaging presentation with all attendees sharing the bringing together of the different roles in their own agencies. Amanda’s valid point of CSDs and AMs letting go of the control of a client account and allowing PMs to talk directly to clients where necessary through the process was really well illustrated.
A huge thanks to Debi Ehrich CSD at Bray Leino Yucca for hosting and moderating the debate and to Lisa Ballam for organising the delicious treats.