More than a few members of our crew believe they’ve landed the “best job ever.” I got the chance to sit down with the lovely ladies of our Account Executive team — Karen, Molly, and Kathryn — to glean some insight into their lives here at The Digital Ring.
Read on to see what it’s like to be an Account Executive at a small but mighty digital marketing agency.
First: What exactly is an Account Executive?
In simple terms, Account Executives are the links between our clients and our internal teams. They spearhead client strategy while making use of #fire project management skills to ensure our crew’s efforts are aligned with our partners’ long-term business goals.
As the “faces of TDR,” our AEs are the people who organize client meetings, relay necessary details to the rest of our team, and see every project through to its completion.
No two days are ever the same
One of the only consistent parts about life as an Account Executive is that there really isn’t any consistency. No two days are ever the same.
An AE might:
- Meet with clients
- Brainstorm strategy
- Schedule social posts
- Organize a photoshoot
- Conduct industry research
- Answer internal questions
- Coordinate third-party resources
- Create a project proposal
- Track budgeting
- Respond to an email in record time
- Have a Nerf war
- Make a killer dad joke in Slack
- And more…
… all in the same week. We’re pretty impressed with their ability to seamlessly switch between tasks and constantly make timely, data-driven decisions.
Account Executives get to know everyone on our crew
Because Account Executives coordinate a wide range of client projects (everything from new websites to comprehensive rebrands to digital advertising campaigns and more) they get to work with all of our internal teams.
Every day, they’re in communication with our graphic designers, website developers, content writers, PDA gurus, and other project managers to come up with the best solutions for our clients.
That means that in between tactical discussions, they can find a little time to connect over their favorite beers and Netflix shows. If anyone knows our crew the best, it’s the Account Executives!
What’s more — AEs don’t only get to build personal relationships with their coworkers. They also get to learn about the complete array of services we offer here at The Digital Ring.
Account Executives have their hands on every part of the marketing process to meaningfully engage with each project from start to finish. They’re jills of many trades… and masters at the big picture.
Communication and relational skills are paramount
To an Account Executive, nothing is more important than communication. At its core, their job is to manage multiple relationships at once (it’s really no wonder that the majority of them are people-focused extroverts).
In AE world, the phone is often ringing, the inbox is always full, and the gears never stop turning.
Here are some key ways they use their relational skills:
- Delegating: AEs can’t do everything on their own, but when it comes down to it, the buck stops with them. They need to carefully delegate tasks and manage the timelines of our clients and internal teams.
- Seeing different perspectives: Account Executives are champs at putting themselves in other people’s shoes. (Trust us — if there was an Olympics for empathy, they’d earn the gold every time.) Whether it’s anticipating a client’s response before they even get feedback or taking the time to appreciate a developer’s heavy workload, they always try to see beyond their own perspective.
- Handling conflict: Every project involves multiple people with different preferences, and who’s in the middle? You guessed it: our AEs. With a great group of coworkers and clients, The Digital Ring avoids most “conflict” in the traditional sense — but that doesn’t mean our project managers are off the hook for balancing different interests. Our Account Executives work tirelessly to make everyone happy.
- Planning and practicing: Account Executives do sweat the small stuff. They know excellence is in the details — so they pay close attention to the way they word emails, mirror body language in meetings, and assign tasks to our crew.
A marketing degree isn’t necessary, but it is helpful
A specific degree isn’t the end-all-be-all of a successful marketing career — but our AEs do say that it can help.
The Digital Ring’s Account Executives have varied educational backgrounds ranging from Spanish and International Studies to more traditional tracks like Strategic Communications. As long as you have relevant skills, a good attitude, and a willingness to learn, it doesn’t really matter what your degree is in.
With that said, one of the easiest ways to develop important industry exposure is to take relevant courses.
Nowadays, marketing and strategic communications curriculums are more helpful than they might have been in the “strictly traditional” marketing era. Students often get hands-on experience with common tools and best practices — and that can make their integration into an agency environment significantly smoother.
That’s not to say it can’t be done without formal education, though. There’s a big difference between learning in school and learning in the “real” world, and our Account Executives are the first to admit that they’re constantly growing on the job.
If you’re committed to self-directed education and flexible enough to adapt without feeling overwhelmed, don’t stress about your college major.
Being an Account Executive is hard… but rewarding
Let me tell you: Our Account Executives have one of the hardest jobs at The Digital Ring.
A phrase reiterated throughout our interview was “solution your way through it” — the idea that there are no textbook answers when it comes to client and project management. AEs have to get things done even when timelines shift, budgets change, and the internet decides to stop working yet again.
It’s a tough gig at times, with no hand-holding or room to second guess yourself… but it’s also extremely rewarding.
Our Account Executives’ faces light up when they talk about getting “wins” for clients, overdelivering on their promises, and helping our partners’ businesses grow. They put their hearts and souls into their work every day — and out of it they get lifelong friendships, opportunities to learn, and many, many funny stories to tell.
If that’s not worth it, nothing is.