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The Art of Client Service: 58 Things Every…
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The Art of Client Service: 58 Things Every Advertising & Marketing…

by Robert Solomon

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In this short book, Robert Solomon lays out the fundamental skills and knowledge necessary for account executives (and really anyone in the marketing world) to possess. I breezed through it in an afternoon and found it, for the most part, a practical and challenging guide to excellence in account management and client relationships. Here are some of the ideas I gleaned:

• the best account execs are not the agency's man at the client's company, or the client's man at the agency; strive for objectivity
• good work is the main thing that prevents great work; great work is always risky because there is something new or different about it
• always present a unified front to your client; never throw your colleagues under the bus
• always practice presentations; act them out to people in your office even if your schedule is incredibly tight
• be at your client's offices just as much as you are at your own
• be a real resource for the artists and copywriters ("creatives"); that means if they're working overtime on your account, you're there with them...weekends and all
• be low-tech in a high-tech world; don't lose the face time with clients
• make the client part of the creative process and get him/her to sign off on creative direction before launching full-scale design
• keep creative briefs brief and have your creative team help you put them together
• if you give a presentation and you/your team does all the talking, you'll lose the project; take the time to listen to your clients
• great work is not enough and does not ensure that you will keep the account; great service is even more important than great work
• it is unethical to try to take business with you if you move from one firm to another; you are working on behalf of your current agency and the relationships you are building should be confined to that firm
• take the responsibility when something goes wrong even if it isn't your fault personally; but know when to defend your agency
• no matter how friendly you get, never forget that your clients are not your personal friends
• be constantly available

Most of these points are common sense, but the lessons Solomon is hoping to teach are illustrated by stories from his own and others' careers. I don't think that all of the more specific principles apply to every advertising/marketing firm (for example, it's a certain type of agency and client relationship that has the account manager constantly in the client's office). But for the most part Solomon's advice is solid and can be applied to a variety of client and co-worker relationships.

Even though I'm not in an account management role of the type that Solomon clearly has in mind, I can take some of his principles and adapt them to the client service I do provide. And if nothing else, this book gave me a greater appreciation for what the account managers at my company do. I'd recommend the book to anyone working or considering a career in the unpredictable and demanding world of marketing. ( )
1 vote atimco | Oct 29, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 079316799X, Hardcover)

With brevity, levity, and clarity, Robert Solomon, a well-respected advertising executive, has written a definitive and practical resource for advertising and marketing account executives. Writers, planners, researchers, and production supervisors will benefit as well from his down-to-earth advice on the care and feeding of the advertising client. Account management is more art than science, requiring a wide-ranging arsenal of talents and skills. At times acting as psychologist, orchestra conductor, or lion tamer, the advertising account executive must be creative and versatile enough to develop top-notch strategy, and also graceful enough to nag, persuade, rebuff, and inform-all in a constructive way. Distilling decades of experience, Solomon has compiled a fast-reading, actionable checklist of 54 essential ideas to help advertising professionals merge all these account management skills. The Art of Client Service is geared to the entire account team: writer, art director, planner, researcher, media executive, producer, and support staff-anyone who works with clients. Each of Solomon's 54 tips deals with a specific issue that an account manager will undoubtedly encounter when dealing with a client. The answers and insights Solomon provides are grounded with wit, common sense, and the wisdom that comes from years of hands-on experience. Readers will learn: *The prescriptions for great account work *The steps to take at the start of any assignment *How to write a strategy brief *What makes great creative *Do's and don'ts in client presentations *The elements of a good meeting *How to "package" themselves Also included is a well-edited, annotated, and definitive reading list for agency account executives.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:38 -0400)

Account executives, and anyone else who deals with clients, will find themselves flinching, laughing, and committing to memory this sound advice, presented through real-life stories of satisfying success and embarrassing failure along the total spectrum of client service.… (more)

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