“Business has only two functions — marketing and innovation.” – Milan Kundera
I’ve worked with enterprise brands my entire career and can confirm Kundera’s words as gospel. Enterprises are entirely different beasts from small- or medium-sized businesses. An important characteristic of an enterprise is its expansive influence through the production of great products and relevant content at a consistent clip. Marketing account managers who specialize in enterprise-level strategy must be able to keep up with the pace and understand how to achieve consistent marketing greatness.
To effectively manage an enterprise account, it takes more than a baseline understanding of how the marketing trends landscape fits into the brand’s messaging, target demographic, and direction. Enterprises are often fickle. You must be a decision maker who is able to work with decision-making clients (more difficult than it sounds), while maintaining strong project management skills, building relationships, and fostering trust. Use these six pillars to lay the groundwork for enterprise account management success.
Pillar 1: Understand your brand’s branding
An enterprise knows who to sell its product to. A basic understanding of the enterprise’s marketing personas should be immediate. It’s up to an account manager to dive further and determine what content is kosher and what will fail. Establishing and tweaking your brand’s tone and voice should be a daily practice.
Pillar 2: Push the envelope
Innovation, the second part of a business’s function, can’t be understated. If a business is not innovating, it’s flailing. Your goal is to help your client attract customers. Reaching a point where the client trusts you to shift gears is key to a successful long-term marketing relationship.
Pillar 3: Get to know your brand’s weaknesses
There is always room for improvement. How do competitors view your brand? Just as importantly, what are they doing that you can emulate or do better? Having your finger on the pulse of the industry landscape is invaluable. Know the competition as well as you know your brand.
Pillar 4: Know when to take a risk (and accept the consequences)
A new campaign can reinvigorate a brand, or it can sink like a rock. The backbone of marketing strategy is assessing the risk of everything you put out there. Study your brand’s innovation cycles. They undoubtedly ebb and flow. Your marketing risk pattern should follow the same cadence.
Pillar 5: Always have a direction
Enterprise marketing is not a great realm for throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks. Every campaign, whether short- or long-term, needs to be focused. An account manager must always be thinking one step ahead. You can never have too much structure. Build your roadmap, but revise it regularly.
Pillar 6: Remember your clients are people
It’s easy to get in an enterprise mindset. But your clients are people, too. And they can be great resources. Collaborating and planning together is the only way to ensure success. However, both sides must agree on the definition of success and have a clear path to get there. Aligning with a client’s strategies may not always be the right choice, but remember that every client has strengths that you can and should put to good use.
At the end of the day, every marketer has the same goals: You’re trying to grow your client’s business while establishing yourself as an indispensable resource. Your job is to make your client and their brand look good, and they’re counting on you to do so. Referencing these pillars often can be your recipe for success.