Life as a Digital Account Director

Ever wondered what life as Digital Account Director is really like? What exactly do they do? What does it take to become one? If you are thinking of adding one to your team and are wondering what one is looking for in an employer, we have all the facts for you.

We caught up with Ryan Anthoney, Senior Account Director at True Digital to get his perspective.

ADLIB: In approx. 30 words and plain English, what do you do?

Ryan Anthoney: I direct relationships with a number of our key clientèle, matching our expert services to help our clients to overcome their business challenges; whether the team are creating innovative solutions to drive sales, coming up with campaigns to drive engagement or conducting user research to really understand customer needs — ultimately my role is to ensure that what we do helps our clients achieve success.

ADLIB: In a nutshell, what has been your career journey so far?

RA: Whilst at university I launched a number of digital focused ventures gaining invaluable experience. I undertook further education to specialise in digital while working for a top agency, Redweb. Having forged strong relationships with a number of excellent clients (Cancer Research, Visa, McCarthy & Stone, RNLI, Access Self Storage) I was nominated and short-listed for Brand Republic’s rising star in digital award. Over the 5 years I moved up the ranks to Account Director level before then jumping ship to Bristol! I joined True Digital as a Senior Account Director with a view to driving a real ROI based focus for their impressive client base. I am now working with a range of national and international clients, based in the heart of the city helping True go from strength to strength.

ADLIB: What do you like most about your job?

RA: Spending time with clients to understand their challenges and making a genuinely positive impact on their business is probably the most rewarding element. Everyone believes that account directors wine and dine clients constantly, it’s not true…but when it does happen that is definitely a highlight too! The more I can embed myself in a business the better, as partnerships are what our business success is based on. Working for a full service agency like True, we really can utilise a huge range of digital specialists which is important in an industry like digital as it is constantly evolving…this is both exciting and scary. It is important that we have specialists in each field and that we share insights to ensure that each and every member of the team is at the very top of their game. Clients look to Account Directors for digital expertise, and there is nothing better than collaborating with our internal teams and then clients to develop ideas that we just know are going to be a huge success. When these successes do happen, it is always a perk to go out and celebrate at an award ceremony!

ADLIB: What are the 3 key things you consider when choosing an employer?

RA: I have always wanted an employer to match my ambitions. I could never see myself being happy in a business that is content in what they are doing. For me 3 key things are:-
1) A clear business vision (if you don’t know where you want to go/who you want to be, you are never going to achieve it).
2) Commitment (to staff, clients and great work — staff are the lifeblood of the business, at all levels, if you look after staff they will drive the business forward) and finally a cliché point.
3) A social culture (if you don’t enjoy work, the environment and the people you will try your best to do the bog standard 9–5. Not that anyone in an agency does a 9–5, do they? I want to work as hard as a can during the week, then knock off a bit early on a Friday to go for some drinks with the team. That is where relationships are really made, out of the working environment, it is a chance to talk about work and share experiences.

ADLIB: What 3 top tips would you give someone to ensure that their skills and knowledge remain top notch?

RA: Try to make the time to go to events to hear their insights. Through meeting new people your knowledge (and contact base) will grow. I love digital as it is such a dynamic industry, in my spare time I find myself being drawn to articles which inspire my ideas — if you can’t make it to events as you’re too busy then this isn’t a bad back up plan.

I would recommend that you aim to fully immerse yourself in your client’s business. While I have only worked at two agencies, I have worked with over 20 big name brands, their businesses all have a huge amount of insight, tricky challenges and testing objectives, being ingrained in this activity can only help you develop. Finally, I am a firm believer of gaining hands on experience. Side projects keep me on my toes and help me sympathise with the pains and strains that clients/colleagues go through. Big agencies tend to have specialist roles, my side ventures help me on my toes and give me vital experience.

Thank you Ryan for sharing!