Laura is a Senior Account Manager
She has made it to where she wants to be. But it is how she got there that provides lessons for all those trying to make it. Starting her career on the client side and transitioning to agency life has provided her with valuable lessons learnt: “You may not make it into the industry straight away, so you may have to take a side path”.
What is your story and how did you get where you are today?
I completed my Bachelor of Management, majoring in marketing, at UniSA in 2004. I was lucky enough to get an entry-level marketing role at an office supply organisation called Office Matrix. I worked there for about a year, until they were bought out by Corporate Express and was made redundant. From there I started working as a marketing coordinator at automotive aftermarket company called Tenneco, and looked after their Monroe brand of shock absorbers.
I was there for 18 months, before moving to Bradford College, which is a pre-university school for international students going to the University of Adelaide. I worked there as the publications manager, which involved organising all their marketing collateral, advertising, brochures, website and corporate communications. I got to do a fair bit of traveling whilst at Bradford. I went to Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore recruiting students, so that was pretty cool.
On a professional basis, I came across Showpony and met Jamie (Managing Director). I applied for a position at Showpony, moving from the client side to the agency side. That’s how I got into advertising from a marketing background.
How would you describe the role of a Senior Account Manager?
The main part of this role involves looking after larger clients, managing their projects on a day-to-day basis. This ensures that the work we do gets completed to the highest standard, as well as on time and on budget. I also manage the relationship with the client, ensuring they are happy. This role also involves getting to know the client’s business and industry, in addition to consulting and making recommendations to the client, based on your own knowledge and experience.
What skills do you need?
Most importantly, you need really good communication skills and to be able to anticipate your client’s needs. As I have previously been in that position, I can understand and view it from the client’s perspective. It also helps make their job easier if you focus on direction, giving them the best results you can. Basically, you must have really good communication, time-management, as well as good organisational skills. If you’re able to demonstrate you’ve got the whole project under control, clients will trust you a lot more.
Having formal qualifications in marketing, advertising, or communications is important, along with an understanding of advertising, marketing, as well as your client’s industry. You need to be media savvy, read a lot, watch lots of TV and keep up with what’s happening online.
You seem like you enjoy your job and the people around you, do you think that this is important?
Enjoying what you do, getting along with the people you work with, having a good team, as well as dynamic company culture is really important in advertising and creative industries. If you are miserable at work, how can you expect to give friendly service, or come up with great ideas for your clients? I am really lucky here, as the team is really smart and skilled at what they do. We all get the job done to a high standard, in an environment that is fun and enjoyable. We have a really great company culture here. I have experienced a lot of great teamwork and communication between creative and account services, which, unfortunately, isn’t always the case in other places.
Do you have any achievements that you are proud of?
I know this sounds general, but it’s true, you have to prove yourself to the clients, your boss and to everyone that you work with. I think gaining respect and being recognised for doing a good job, when I feel I’ve worked really hard is something I’m proud of.
Do you have any advice for anyone trying to break into the industry?
Study and hone your skills, do lots of work experience and be enthusiastic. You may not make it into the industry straight away, so you may have to take a side path, doing something else that is on the client side and not the agency. Also, don’t say no to a new experience, or a new job, as you never know where it could lead you long term. You never know who you’ll meet, or where you’ll end up.
For example, I never thought I’d be working in the automotive industry, where my main target market was 50-year-old mechanics. It was a challenging, there was a lot I had to learn and it was really hard at the time. But having those experiences, gaining that knowledge and understanding has really helped me. I got to learn a lot from some really great people. I could have originally dismissed the job and the role, as I didn’t want to work in that industry. If I did I would of missed out on learning so much. So always keep your eyes and ears open, respect your peers, work hard, be a part of the team and support your colleagues.
Some projects Laura has been involved in:
Laura Tregloan, Senior Account Manager, Showpony Advertsing
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