Ever wondered what it’s like to be an Account Manager? 

Katrina reveals all in our first Day in the Life…

Rise and shine!
What’s your pre-work morning routine?

I’d love to say I get up with the birds, make a healthy smoothie and do some yoga but in reality I savour being able to get up that little bit later thanks to no commute. I stick the radio on (Greg James on Radio 1 if you’re curious) and get myself ready. I’m guilty of not eating breakfast but coffee sets me up for the day ahead.

Settling in for the day
How’s your WFH set up?

It’s very rudimentary! I fully thought back in March 2020 that I’d only be working from home for a few weeks, maybe a month max, and having bought a “doer upper” house not long before I didn’t have a dining space yet, let alone somewhere to work, so borrowed a really basic plastic table and a seat and set up camp in my knackered old conservatory. Sweltering in the summer, freezing in the winter – suffice to say a year on and I’m in the process of renovating a spare room into a study!

Game plans
What does your average to-do list look like?

Being an Account Manager means you’re hands-on across lots of different areas. My to-do list ranges from finance tasks and client project reports, to creative reviews and writing briefs. Much of my day will be spent growing trusting relationships with key clients, helping them solve problems and growing accounts for mutual benefit. Your priorities and workload changes throughout the day, every day, so you have to be able to juggle a lot at once but lists definitely keep me on track. Plus, there’s nothing more satisfying than ticking things off! Notepads are my work best friend and I get through post-it notes like they’re going out of fashion.

Tip-top advice
Any advice for anyone wanting to become an Account Manager?

I have past experience working on client side where I worked with an agency and I do think that then helps shape you into becoming a good Account Manager. It allows you to understand your client’s processes and challenges better and you gain a deeper appreciation as a result – by building these strong relationships, they always know they can turn to me to make their job easier or offer advice on the best approach to a brief.  Being an Account Manager requires you to be on top of your game, especially with organisation and communication – for me they are 2 huge factors. There’s no denying it can be a very stressful job but it’s rewarding seeing the trust your clients put in you and the success of the creative projects as the outcome.

Out of office
What do you miss most about being in the office?

Seeing friendly faces every day, whether it’s the team or face-to-face meetings with my clients, and chatting about what everyone’s got going on (weekend plans, house moves, holidays etc). It’s really hard to keep that level of closeness when we’re all working virtually – and of course we all have less chat to share having been in lockdowns! I also miss somebody doing the tea/coffee rounds throughout the day 😉

Background tunes
Do you listen to music while you work?

Interestingly when I was in the office I really liked having background music on most of the time but since working from home I almost never listen to music whilst I work and find it really distracting. I’m not sure why that is – maybe since there’s added distractions already with  Zoom calls and lots of instant messages?! Music definitely is my escape though so as soon as the day is over I turn up the volume!

What’s your favourite playlist right now?

I have a really mixed music taste so it depends what kind of mood I’m in. I like the time capsule playlists that Spotify creates for you based on your most played songs as it takes me from Soul Funk through to Rock and throws songs at you that you love but forgot about. A couple of artists that I’ve been playing albums on repeat recently are Maribou State and Arlo Parks.

An important one…
Coffee or tea?

Coffee – milk with a tiny bit of sugar, please. I never drank tea or coffee before I started working at maclean and was always proud that I didn’t rely on caffeine – take from that what you will! I also have our MD, Di, to name for my habit of putting in the milk first before the hot water. I do miss the occasional “posh coffees” run in the office.

Express yourself
What’s your most-used emoji?

Probably this one > 🤣 when it comes to general chats with friends. In work mode it’s usually > 🙂👍🏻🤞🏻(and in that order too!)

Getting appy
Do you have a favourite workday app or tool?

Despite working in marketing, I’m a bit of a dinosaur and pretty old-school in my ways so I much favour pen and pen and diaries for example, than virtual to-do list boards. I’ve used Trello at work before which was pretty handy but Slack is the one app I use a lot of every single day – great for quick chats or sharing something without clogging up inboxes.

Fizz Fridays
Imagine we’re in Rutland Square, what are you ordering from maclean’s fizz cart?

A G&T through and through. Though fizz and gin liqueur mixes were becoming a bit of a thing! We never did get the actual drinks trolley I fancied so maybe that will be a welcomed addition to the office to celebrate whenever we can go back.

Highlight reel
Tell us your favourite project at maclean

The projects I work on are all really varied – they can be print, digital or social – but my favourite is probably a Christmas issue of the Dobbies Club magazine. The colours, page layouts and imagery looked fantastic in print. The magazine projects are big ones and require a lot of design work but seeing the words and images come to life on the pages is really fun. Print projects are by far my favourite; there’s something so rewarding about holding a finished copy in your hand and knowing you helped make it happen – and it’s rewarding to hear that same excitement from clients when they get their hands on a copy.

You’re in the waiting room…
How many Zoom meetings do you have on an average day?

Usually between 2 – 3 that are scheduled and anywhere between 2 – 4 that are unscheduled on top of that – “Zoom fatigue” is real, guys! It differs every day and working from home definitely makes it harder. We’re really lucky we have technology these days to allow us to see, communicate and share with each other virtually but I’m not going to pretend I don’t get to the evening and just want to be anti-social!

Spread the knowledge…
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve heard?

“Pay yourself first”. I get joy on payday putting aside a little bit of money into my savings, once I’ve left enough for my mortgage, food and bills of course. It probably seems boring or sensible to some but knowing I’m feeding into pots for “grown up stuff” (Hiya, home renovations) and “fun stuff” like holidays makes me happy. It doesn’t have to be much each month but it does add up and I like knowing I can be independent.

Switching off
Any tips for keeping your workday and home life separate?

Honestly? I’ve found this pretty tough. Living in lockdown with the things we associate with normal life stopped and being urged to stay at home has meant my workdays and weeknights blur into one. It’s very easy to think “Well, I don’t have anywhere else I need to be so I’ll just stay on and work”. Little things like wearing jeans to work in rather than loungewear, to working from a table rather than my bed or the sofa can signal to me the separation between work and home life. It sounds pretty obvious but it works for me.

Happy camper
Favourite thing about your job?

Being able to review creative and work with the studio closely (the guys may say this is the worst thing for them haha!). It would be boring to simply be a paper pusher and send emails all day. I’m by no means a designer but having the opportunity to review creative against a brief, knowing your clients well enough to think about things before they do, and being able to give your own thoughts or suggestions adds to the overall teamwork and feeling of success when projects go live and we smash it.

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