Brand marketers face continual challenges: budget and time constraints, multiple stakeholders, and a relentlessly changing marketplace. When they look for agency support, they are looking for more than just a vendor. They are looking for creative and strategic partners who can help them reach business goals through digital marketing expertise. Enter toolhouse client services and our cadre of account directors, who build long-lasting client relationships based on advocacy, leadership and strategy.
“We have to understand the client’s business, overall. We have to understand their business objectives, their pain points, and the competitive landscape.”.
Perhaps the most fundamental part of being a good account director (AD) is being able to communicate well with the client and to understand the brand’s business needs. Then it’s time to present those needs—effectively and inspirationally—to the internal team at toolhouse. “Essentially,” says toolhouse AD, Abby McCormack, “being a client’s advocate internally is our number one job, which means articulating the client’s needs here.” Throughout a project’s life cycle, Abby and her fellow toolhouse ADs guide strategic, creative, and development discussions, safeguarding the brand’s objectives to ensure solutions are meeting the strategic imperatives of the business.
“I would say the most important element is probably listening,” says toolhouse AD, Sarah Harris. “We’re listening not to just what they’re asking for, but why.” She notes that understanding the context in which business needs are defined is critical to an individual project, as well as to the ongoing client relationship. “We’re paying attention to the business environment, the marketplace, and to the political environment in the client’s company,” she adds. Each of those issues can affect the successful outcome of a project.
Abby agrees, adding that good client service also reaches beyond an initiative’s go-live date. “Once a solution is in play, then we’re accountable for keeping the lines of communication open with a client. We want to make sure the initiative is continuing to meet their needs, and that we’re optimizing accordingly,” says Abby. In the end, it’s about delivering high-quality work that meets or exceeds expectations, and eliminates headaches for busy clients.
When toolhouse takes on a new client, the AD for that account, along with the agency strategy team, spends time getting to know the brand, their colleagues, the company’s business units, and other agency partners. That, however, is only the first step. “Yes, we have to understand the client’s business overall,” says Sarah, “and we also have to understand their business objectives, their pain points, and the competitive landscape. Then, when we bring that knowledge back to the team to brainstorm and create solutions, we’re able to connect our ideas back to those business goals.”
At toolhouse, our account directors become a valuable extension of a brand’s marketing team by wielding a clear understanding of what’s possible in digital, and then marrying that knowledge with the brand’s business objectives. “We are focused on the digital industry—not on print, media buys, or primary research,” says Sarah. A broad digital expertise, coupled with the big picture understanding of a client’s business, means toolhouse ADs often uncover business opportunities or challenges—even before the brand team sees them. Clients appreciate our commitment to proactively developing recommendations to meet their business needs, knowing that it gives them a competitive edge in the marketplace.
Toolhouse is, by design, a lean and agile agency. Our relatively flat structure creates direct lines of communication between various departments, exposing ADs to the latest digital developments and best practices. That structure, says Abby, gives our clients a different—and better—kind of agency experience. “I have the opportunity to get a lot of insight into what is happening with every project,” she explains. “I think that is a huge advantage for our clients.”
Sarah agrees. “While I personally may not be an expert in every area, I have a team full of specialists who bring a tremendous amount of knowledge to each project,” she says, “exposing me to the latest thinking in everything from digital strategy to the mobile user experience.”
Toolhouse account directors are conduits to deep, digital marketing expertise, providing support and solutions. The result? Peace of mind for our clients, knowing that their business objectives are being met, thanks to the work of effective ADs, and the agency that stands behind them.
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