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The Modern-Day Account Team
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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We have all seen the ways agencies' accounts teams have been glorified. Drinks over lunch, all-nighters around the city on the expense account, and going to movies, shows, and sporting events with clients. Wining and dining galore. A lot of those activities have really happened. The account team wanted to show the client that they picked the right team to take care of their business.

Does it still happen?

Matt Benka, vice president of account service at agency space150 and contributor at Agency Post hopes it's not, lest your agency is falling behind the times. Sure, taking the client out is great and its part of AdLand's tradition, but if that is all your team is doing, good luck keeping the client.

Benka makes a good point. He writes, "We have to be more than account people for our clients — or someone else will." Benka then emphasizes the fact that account folks are no longer just middlemen, account people have to provide content, information, and pretty much be the client's BFF when it comes to advertising and the work the agency is doing for them.

We've seen this firsthand. In an hyper-connected society, do not your account teams talk to clients over Facebook, Twitter, and via text and email? With business being done not only face-to-face anymore, account people must be readily available whenever the client is ready to connect.

And more, in order to keep the client, the account team has to show the client how up-to-date the team is on the latest trends and technology, the latest happenings in the ad world, and the world the client regularly spends their time. Keeping the client full of information (valuable information, mind you) and maintaining an open relationship will, as Benka writes, make it much harder for a client to leave your shop. It makes sense. That's part of the marketing process: the more involved a customer (or client) gets with the brand, the harder it is for them to leave. That's why in direct sales or in-store promotions, you always encourage the customer to touch the product or sample the service because it will make it harder for them to say no or leave.

Benka brings out that having a relationship with a client remains one of the most important aspects of doing business. Yes, the work must be good, but if the client doesn't have a solid access point, you better believe they'll look elsewhere.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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