There are plenty of cogs that keep our beloved content agency ticking along, such as our brilliant designers, editors and writers – and from time to time, you’ll notice their great work on our blog and website. But another important team you don’t see often are the account managers – the super-organised, number-crunching and devoted problem solvers that serve as a bridge between the agency and our clients. So, meet Miranda Joy, our newest account manager, who spent seven years working in communications for government departments in New Zealand. I sat down with her to chat about her transition to account management, working at a content agency, and why a clear creative brief makes her job a million times easier.
Who is Miranda Joy, and how would people describe you?
I’m a New Zealander, and I’ve been in London for a year and a half. Southerly is my first venture into the private sector. I’m new to account management but I’m loving it so far. How would people describe me? One of the greatest compliments I’ve ever received was on my leaving card in New Zealand. One of my team members wrote that he always appreciated my common sense and level-headedness. I like that!
Why did you decide to move into marketing?
I have a comms and film degree and then I worked in a government comms team doing PR and media. After I’d been in that role for a year and a half, I moved into the content team. From there I got promoted to digital business analyst, but I was really just the senior digital advisor for the web development and content team. It was my introduction to account management, working with the agencies that supported us with our new websites. That’s why marketing seemed like a natural fit for me.
How is working at Southerly different from your previous jobs?
I can’t quite figure out the differences yet between government and private, but the biggest difference I’m noticing is between a big organisation and a small organisation. I’m loving working for a small content agency because it’s much more fun getting to know everyone. And you can kind of do a lot more. You’re not just stuck in your role; you can pick up anything and run with it. I think that’s the best thing so far.
What have you enjoyed about your role so far?
I think all of it has been pretty interesting so far because I’m learning. The coolest thing I’m learning is the pitch process and doing proposals because I’ve never had to put myself in the selling mindset before. It’s very different being on that side and thinking, ‘What would the client want to see? What would I have wanted to see when I was a client?’
What are the biggest challenges you feel clients generally face?
I think the hardest thing for them is that they have so many stakeholders to keep happy. So many people can be involved and everyone has an opinion on something. Managing all of those expectations can be quite challenging.
What’s something you wish more people understood about your role?
The importance of having a clear creative brief. It’s my job to really interrogate the client and get a great brief out of them. But so much value is added when clients have a clear idea of what they want. The clearer the brief we get, the easier or faster the designers or the content team can turn it around.
Finally, what are your favourite tools to work with?
One of the most important things to being a good account manager is to have a really good e-mail system. You get so many emails, and clients tend to e-mail you however they prefer, so you might get five different emails back on one thing, or one e-mail on one half of something. To manage all of that and keep track of what they’re asking for can be quite tricky. So, having a great filing system in your emails is essential. I like to use Trello, and now Basecamp, to keep track of what’s been going on. And that takes a bit of pressure off of the emails!