121 Things Account Executives Do

Sarah Stone
121 Things Account Executives Do

The Accounts Team is the hub of the agency. Between client communications, managing our agency teams, and keeping our projects running smoothly, very little happens at Gunderson Direct that doesn’t go through us. Except maybe deciding where we are ordering lunch for Thursday’s in-office lunch club.

We were recently asked to talk to our agency colleagues about something that they don’t know we do. Since we work with all the departments day to day on our projects, we figured that everyone has some idea of what we do. But, we thought they might not know the volume of what we do.

Here is an (incomplete) list of what a Gunderson Direct Account Executive does in the course of a direct mail project:

  1. Figure out what the client wants and/or what we want to recommend
  2. Request package estimates from Production
  3. Work with Data on data estimates
  4. Put together campaign estimate and send to client for approval
  5. Beg the boss or Production if there’s any way was can reduce the budget. It’s a bit too high
  6. Work with client to have them approve the budget ?
  7. Promise your client you’ll work with Management on agency services pricing going forward
  8. Create SOW and send for approval
  9. File SOW and try to remember to add to the project tracker
  10. Open a new job in Insightly
  11. Client birthday is coming up! Send a gift
  12. Request, check and send the postage invoice (and confirm you’re sending it to the correct AP email!)
  13. Client call…. remember it’s not all about work… ask about their recent vacation, kid’s birthday, new hairdo, etc.
  14. Request, check, and send a 50% deposit invoice
  15. Time for your weekly call with the Data Team! Have your list ready!
  16. Request creative brief from the client
  17. Review brief, file & distribute to team
  18. Send the COO to voicemail ?
  19. Schedule creative scheduling meeting
  20. Play schedule arm wrestling with the Project Manager. (I don’t care about the other projects, my client comes first!)
  21. Create a tentative project schedule, get Creative, Data & Production Team buy-in
  22. Schedule an internal creative kickoff meeting
  23. Lead internal creative kickoff meeting
  24. Send back a zillion questions to the client in preparation for a creative kick-off call
  25. Schedule client creative kickoff meeting
  26. Fill in the project tracker when the boss reminds you for the 5th time!
  27. Lead client creative kickoff meeting
  28. Tell the client we need creative assets to get started
  29. Remind client about creative assets
  30. Beg client for creative assets
  31. File and distribute creative assets to Creative Team
  32. Schedule data discovery call
  33. Introduce/lead data discovery call
  34. Request client info for SFTP
  35. Request client upload customer data for model
  36. Remind client about customer data for model
  37. Beg client for customer data for model
  38. Tell client customer data is wrong/insufficient/needs addresses
  39. Beg client for revised customer data for model 
  40. Schedule an initial creative review meeting
  41. Spend 20 minutes trying to find time on a calendar for all 8 GD people to meet
  42. Keep Creative and Data teams on track to stay within budget
  43. Go back to the client and request more money ? (we HATE doing this and will try our HARDEST not to ever make this a reality!)
  44. Review the checklist!
  45. Cheer on a colleague. They deserve love too
  46. Schedule creative presentation with the client
  47. Schedule model results review with the client
  48. Review the initial creative and compare it to the creative brief
  49. Wait, the Production Manager is calling. ? STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND ALWAYS ANSWER!
  50. Review the checklist!
  51. Review the final creative and compare it to the creative brief
  52. Send final creative to Management, provide context & info, seek quick feedback
  53. Send creative concepts to proofing
  54. Don’t forget about informed delivery!
  55. Complete info in the presentation tab
  56. Assign proofing changes and presentation setup to Studio
  57. Review presentation
  58. Review checklist!
  59. Ask the VP of Data 1000 data questions and get off track and end up talking about girl power
  60. Introduce model results meeting, participate as needed
  61. Presentation pre-game with Creative Team
  62. Introduce/lead the creative presentation
  63. Send presentation to client and request feedback
  64. Remind the client revisions were due yesterday
  65. Revisions came in late; update schedule with new mail date since we are now behind.
  66. Ask the client to mark up a PDF, but when they send a word doc or email with the edits, graciously accept the changes and then mark up the actual pdf for the art team so they don’t get confused.
  67. Interpret, clarify, re-markup client feedback, and assign to Studio
  68. Create the mail plan and make sure it’s filled out and makes sense!
  69. Apologize to the Studio 8 times a day for not being clear enough in the markup
  70. Ask the client to confirm the testimonial because it doesn’t make sense.
  71. Proofing came back. Propose copy changes to improve messaging. 
  72. Review revisions, send to the client, request feedback/approval
  73. Repeat between 2-17 more times
  74. Get client approval of data synopsis
  75. URGENT! STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING!  The client is changing their strategy!  They want to mail 3 weeks earlier!
  76. Call/huddle the boss in a panic 3x a day
  77. Beg Production for a solution to stay within budget/schedule… we’re running out of time!
  78. Version out creative
  79. Bribe/beg the Studio with a burrito to meet your deadline
  80. Get client approval for creative
  81. Request client upload customer data for suppressions
  82. Remind client about customer data for suppressions
  83. Beg client for customer data for suppressions
  84. Digital surround… New GD program… Set up some time with your clients to discuss!
  85. Don’t forget about informed delivery and that it works with the final creative!
  86. Send final creative to proofing
  87. A co-worker is having a hard day or life event…. send a gift!
  88. Update the mail plan
  89. Review the checklist!?
  90. It’s release day! Get all your ducks in order with all teams!
  91. Meet with production to review the mail plan so they have all the info they need
  92. Have the client on standby if any issues come up on release day
  93. READ ALL PACKAGES and make sure everything is perfect, especially variable data!
  94. Review the checklist!
  95. Think of ways to save money on the program as it scales
  96. Confirm creative and data were released and sent to the printer
  97. Review print proofs, send to client for approval
  98. Remind client about approving print proofs
  99. Calmly explain to the client there could be a mail date delay if print proofs aren’t approved RIGHT NOW
  100. Oh! The client is changing the expiration date on the piece. Start the print proof process over!
  101. Send print proof approval to Production
  102. Review the checklist!
  103. Review data proofs, send to client for approval
  104. Remind client about approving data proofs
  105. Gently re-explain to the client what data proofs are and why they have to approve them
  106. Send data proof approval to Production
  107. Review the checklist!
  108. Confirm mail went out on actual mail date
  109. Send the client a first drop celebration gift
  110. Provide mail tracking updates to the client on a daily basis
  111. Review all 346 invoices when reconciling
  112. Realize we are missing an invoice and request it
  113. Get creative with billing, so all departments are within budget
  114. Request, check, and send the final invoice
  115. Fill out the final invoice section of insightly when you send the final invoice
  116. Close job in insightly & server
  117. Tell Accounts Receivable that you will happily remind your client that their invoice is 30 days past due, and please look into it.
  118. Tell Accounts Receivable that you will happily remind your client that their invoice is now 60 days past due, and please look into it.
  119. Tell Accounts Receivable that you will happily remind your client that their invoice is now 90 days past due, and please look into it.
  120. Tell the client no more mail until their invoices are current
  121. Slack a co-worker good night and remind them they killed it today! ?

This is just a sampling of what a Gunderson Direct Account Executive will do to try to keep our projects on schedule and within budget. Obviously, an AE’s job involves a lot of talking, explaining, double-checking, interpreting, strategizing, negotiating, cajoling… But we still find time between it all to have fun! Want to work with Gunderson Direct and our incredible team? Click here to get started.

Sarah Stone

Sarah is passionate about marketing, project management, relationships and results! With a keen eye for details and a solutions-oriented outlook, she shepherds direct mail campaigns to success while keeping a smile on her face. When she’s not executing campaigns for Gunderson Direct, Sarah loves traveling, trying new restaurants and recipes, and exploring everything the Bay Area has to offer.

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