(By Bob McCurdy) I was speaking with the president of an agency last week who was attempting to hire for a position which he referred to as a hybrid between an Account Planner and an Account Manager. As he described the responsibilities of this role, the functional similarities between it and today’s effective radio salesperson were uncanny.
I have long maintained that it would be beneficial for those of us in radio sales to view ourselves as “marketers who sell,” not simply as salespeople. Last week’s discussion further solidified this point of view.
As explained, this hybrid agency Account Manager/Account Planner would
initiate periodic strategic discussions and serve as the lead “voice” in any meeting between agency and advertiser. Need to thoroughly understand the client’s business/marketing problem to be solved? Work with the client to establish ad campaign goals. Awareness? Increased traffic? Sales?
Determine how campaign progress would be monitored.
Be responsible for making sure the agency’s clients were satisfied, which requires this executive to possess diplomatic skills when straddling the fence between client needs and agency, and agency needs.
Be intimately familiar with the client’s previous marketing efforts. What was being communicated? Was it successful? Providing suggestions for how might it have been improved/refined? Work with the client to establish the correct time frame for the campaign. Is it realistic?
Guide the budget. Is it enough to accomplish the client’s objectives?
Understand what the “market” currently feels, thinks, or does when it comes to the client’s product or service. Is it understood why they feel that way? Do they feel that way about the competition or just about the client? How can this knowledge be used to the client’s advantage?
Understand what the client wants the consumer to feel, think, or do as a result of their messaging/communications and assist the client in creating that messaging.
Be intimately familiar with not only the competition’s marketing, past and present, but their product as well. Identifying ways in which this knowledge could be used to the client’s benefit.
After this discussion, it sure appeared to me as if the role of this agency’s hybrid Account Manager/Account Planner and the radio AE are remarkably similar. One could easily have substituted “radio AE” for “Account Manager/Account Planner” in the description above and be describing the role of the effective radio AE in 2018.
The bottom line is that the more we view ourselves as “marketers who sell” and interact with our clients the way that this agency president wants the executive who fills this hybrid role at his agency to interact with his clients, the more successful we and our own clients will become.
Bob McCurdy is The Vice President of Sales for The Beasley Media Group and can be reached at [email protected]
Indeed, Ron Pell, it can verily suck when real, radio life gets in the way of performing – even adequately – for the advertisers.
AE’s have been trained (indoctrinated) into taking the least resistant path when it comes to the messaging.
I understand the distasteful, demeaning necessity of bending to the whims and/or demands of the advertiser – even as doing so cripples the AE’s potentials of developing a successful long-term relationship with a client. that Developing listenable and influential commercials is still not a practical option. Drat!
It would also be a mistake, I submit, to assume that whizz-bang creative is the one and only alternative.
Fer sher, when Bob lays it out, it would be glorious to be in a position to concentrate on, and apply, what he provides.
I agree with you Ron that Bob always brings the goods. His insightfulness is never underestimated. The only caveat I would add to this comparison, which I believe to be a worthy discussion is the element of time. While one can argue about the similarities of these two positions, the one overriding fact about being a radio AE is the issue of time; time to make your month, time to sell the required station goals (packages / specials, etc.), time to write more effective copy, time to meet with your clients over a period of days, weeks and months (time) to be sure they understand all the necessities that go into building a successful AE / client relationship. To be excellent at either position requires an understanding of and respect for ones time and how to apportion it effectively….harder than it may seem.
Bob can always be expected to “bring the goods”.
The knowledge and approaches he imparts can be put to use almost instantly.
Through no fault of his, however, there is still that niggly little element about the empty sack of locally-produced ad messaging that AE’s are obliged to foist on unsuspecting (maybe somewhat suspicious) advertisers.
When the AE’s are the ones in charge of the creative, both the requirements and the potentials are being ignored.
Meanwhile, the info Bob has been delivering – that gets applied – can only be helpful.