Posted on 4/7/2017 in Digital Marketing
By Jeannine Szymczak
OK. Let’s get this out of the way early.
I am a Digital Marketing Account Manager. And yes, I am on the sales team. Technically.
While being a member of the sales teams inevitably comes with quarterly goals and yearly numbers to hit, I am NOT a sales person. And I will defend that fact to my grave.
As any effective Digital Marketing Account Manager (AM) will tell you, the best way to retain and grow a book of business (and hit our aforementioned goals) is to do everything within our abilities to enable the short- and long-term success of our clients. When you succeed, we succeed. Simple as that. End of story. Ballgame over. Next subject. End of cliché string.
I will not try to sell you something you don’t need. And while I’m humble enough to know that not all my proposals and suggestions will be accepted by you as the best thing for you and your business, always remember, “the best thing for you and your business” is all I care about and all I am working towards.
Now that we have cleared the air, I thought we could highlight a couple of instances that I can help you with.
Planning & Budgeting
Budgeting season brings with it long meetings, late nights, and LOTS of coffee. There are thousands of things a marketing department needs to account for, strategize, and scope in order to ensure you have the resources in place to accomplish your goals in the next fiscal period.
Share these goals and strategic vision with your AM as early as possible during budget planning. Work together to develop a plan for everything you need to accomplish your goals. These plans will often be bigger than your budget will allow, but the answer can never be “well, you can’t do it.” Get the creative juices flowing and come up with different options and understand what you have to give up for an option to work. If you challenge your AM to flush these out and develop short-term & long-term cost benefit analyses for each, you will be enabled to make the best decisions regarding your plans.
Don’t try to shoulder the load alone. You go through this process once a year, I do it on a weekly basis with multiple clients and many prospects alike. Leverage my experience to help you through it and ensure all angles are considered.
When You Don’t Like Something
All partnerships can be challenging at times. We are all human and sometimes we make mistakes that impact others negatively. When issues like missed deadlines or poor communication arise, emotions can elevate and trust in your partner can be tested.
When these things happen, trust that I will fight internally for your best interests. Don’t be afraid to be brutally honest with me. I have a lot of cards that I can play within my agency, but I can’t guarantee that I will play the right one unless you allow me to see the whole picture.
Another, albeit less confrontational, area of potential concern is communication style. Part of your AM’s job is to make sure you are getting the most out of our partnership. If you are an Intuitive Communicator (big picture, see the forest through the trees) and your Project Manager is bogging you down with details, let your AM know. Though we all know details are important, I can work with my team to present those details in a way that highlights KPIs and effectively illustrates big picture direction. We can provide the details in an appendix or a supporting document to be called upon when necessary.
We have all felt that sinking feeling when a key resource gives their notice. Do you have someone ready to step in and take up their role? If you do, what responsibilities will be left unattended from that employee’s previous role? How long will it take to hire a new resource and get them up to speed enough to function on their own?
Ultimately, it’s likely there will be short-term gaps in your team that you will have to deal with. Ask your AM to get creative with you. How can your partner help fill those holes? Maybe you can nail down an additional resource who will work with your team to fulfill the need? Maybe your AM has a relationship with a firm that can solve this need better? Maybe they know a great resource who would be a good fit for your now open position? You won’t know how I can help unless you ask!
My roommate in college was one of those people with absolutely no internal filter (we all know a sales-person or two like this). When we went out, I would jokingly instill the “whisper rule,” under which he would have to whisper to me whatever it was he wanted to say, BEFORE he said it out loud. I would essentially act as his external, internal filter, preventing him from putting his foot in his mouth. It rarely worked, but the spirit of the rule has followed me into my professional life.
Sometimes things sound better in our heads than they do when we say them out loud. As your trusted digital marketing advisor, it is my duty to provide you with honest feedback, especially when I disagree with an idea or how you have positioned it. Feel free to pick up the phone and use me as your sounding board for wild ideas. Maybe there is merit behind it and all it needs is a creative session with someone you trust to brainstorm and flush it out before you bring it to your colleagues.
Looking for New Vendors
Every client has needs that my company can’t fulfill. For example, we can design and build you a really powerful, lead gen website, but we’re probably not the best fit to help you translate content into localized dialects of Italian. Chances are, though, I or someone at my agency has worked with someone who can.
Since your short- and long-term success is my ultimate responsibility, I have a stake in the game when it comes to your other vendors. Ask if I know anyone that can help. I can promise that anyone I refer you to is someone I would trust with my own business, because as your AM, your business is my business.
If I don’t have the right connection, or you find a suitable partner on your own, feel free to ask me to do some casual vetting. Maybe another set of qualified eyes will help flush out something you may have missed.
When You Land a New Job
There are lots of things to figure out when you start that new dream job. Once you get your head above water and start getting the lay of the land, give your former AM a call. I can use my tools and run a few quick audits to help you uncover any skeletons that could be hiding in the closet of your new company’s website. If your predecessor was let go, chances are there will be at least a few skeletons that need cleaning and it can’t hurt to have a second pair of eyes take a look.
Whether you decide to partner with my agency again or not, I will appreciate you reaching out to me. Some of my favorite people are former clients who have moved on and stayed in touch. The digital marketing world is a small one, especially in the Boston area. Chances are good our paths will cross again.
One final thought – You and your digital marketing account manager will go through a lot together, and that tends to generate an invisible and lasting bond. Help me build your trust by coming to me when you need help, not limited to the instances described above. I can be of tremendous support to you and will bring value far beyond the specific projects you hire my agency for, if you allow me to.
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