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Interview with an agency pro

Who

Marie
Bedard

What

Account Director

How

Coffee and classical music

Nicola Brown, a recent grad and freelance communications specialist sat down with Marie Bedard to see what life is like as an Account Director.

Nicola
What is your job all about, in a nutshell?<br>
I work as an Account Director for a fully integrated marketing agency. That means we provide services on a variety of initiatives, including media, digital, on-pack promotion [a coupon or premium attached to a product], experiential, sponsorship, and events.<n>
My client is Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC). I work across the portfolios of ?Branding,? ?Cheese,? and ?Ethnic?, and I?m responsible for all their retail campaigns across Canada. This includes in-store activations (demos), promotional materials placement, and online content integration. I work with retailers like grocery chains to develop partnership programs in line with DFC?s marketing objectives.<n>
My work is very relationship based. It?s about finding the key people to talk to and being able to make them see business opportunities that will benefit both my client and the retailer.<br>
Can you describe a typical work week?<br>
I never have a typical week! Depending on the time of year, my weeks can be centred around planning sessions with the client and other agencies, or building pitch decks and presenting to different retailers.<n>
At the beginning of each week, with my team, we set the priorities for the week. We determine what we need to deliver for the client, which follow-ups need to happen, which meetings need to be prepared for, etc. We also have weekly status calls with our client and other partner agencies to keep everyone up to date with progress on a variety of projects.<br>
What elements of your work do you get most excited about?<br>
I love seeing projects come to life after all our team?s hard work. I also enjoy determining the roles and responsibilities for everyone that will make that project successful. I get really excited about finding new business opportunities for the client because it not only allows their business to grow but it strengthens the synergy between the agency and the client. Of course, one of the best moments comes when I?ve been working on a project and not quite wrapping my head around it until I get that ?a-ha!? moment. When I finally see that window of opportunity I can?t stop thinking about how best we can deliver it to the client. It?s a really rewarding feeling!<br>
Describe some of the biggest challenges you have faced and do face in your position. How have you overcome them?<br>
It?s crucial to have the client?s best interests in mind at all times. Managing your client with regard to their expectations and successfully delivering on those expectations is very challenging, and very important. Building a strong team that will effectively accomplish these tasks can at many times be one of the most challenging aspects of being an Account Director. It?s important to be able to correctly evaluate everyone?s strengths so talented and motivated people are working on projects that motivate them while leveraging their knowledge and expertise.<br>
What surprised you the most about your current job when you first started?<br>
The agency is a great place to work, and what makes it great are the people. We all come from very different areas of the business and we are not all built on the same frame. When I first started I expected a cookie-cutter profile of the agency?s people, but this wasn?t the case at all, and I felt like I fit in to the environment like a comfortable pair of worked-in moccasins.<n>
You don?t necessarily need to have an ?advertising? diploma to work for an agency. People will look at your experience and that unique quality or skill that you bring that can strengthen the organization and make it more competitive.<br>
Describe your career path so far. How did you get to where you are today and what have you learned?<br>
I?ve actually spent most of my career on the client side. I worked in marketing for Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies. I first started as a Marketing Assistant at L?Or