WHAT'S IN A NAME: a brief look at job titles, roles and what they mean
“What's in a name? that which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet;” so the line in Romeo and Juliet goes. But does a project manager smell as sweet as a producer? How does their scent compare to, say, an account handler? There are a hell of a lot of names in the behind-the-scenes design world, and it can be confusing to know what the bejesus each of them does. That’s why we’ve compiled a handy glossary outlining the main roles and responsibilities under each of the job titles we hear most often.
If you’re looking at a Venn diagram of account managers, production managers and project managers, the producer sits squarely (and busily) right in the middle. It’s the producer’s job to take care of things like managing project procurement, production tasks, activities, risk, quality control and production team members; taking care of budgets; overseeing production timelines and estimating and project managing internal and external production related resources. The producer role varies hugely from agency to agency and roles under the producer umbrella include senior producer, executive producer, production director and head of production services.
Some producers may be non-client facing, and some may take on some of the client responsibilities of an account manager (more on those later). Others are both client facing and take full ownership of all tasks within the project, from scheduling to resource tracking. Specialised project management roles include art buyer and photo producer.
These organised folk are most commonly found immersed in their iCal, busily putting things in everyone else’s diaries. That’s because they’re the ones that plan, organise and manage projects from the moment they’re first discussed to their final realisation. Working usually beneath brand managers or creative directors, they are assigned objects, deadlines and budgets and ensure these are met through delegating individuals and teams to certain tasks. They keep detailed timelines and budgets and really, really love spreadsheets.
Tasks include writing a statement of work (SOW), assessing and managing content development, overseeing time and cost management, taking care of human resources and managing project communications and project procurement.
This is the person who acts as the face of the agency to the client, keeping them abreast of the status of the project and its deliverables. They take care of things like meeting reports and briefs, and act as both the voice of the client and the agency. In that way, they are the person responsible for matching the agency process with the client needs. Those further along in their account management career might be responsible for overseeing PR and social media delivery and seeking new business opportunities with existing and prospective clients.
The basic responsibilities of a production manager are to oversee the production part of a project by taking care of timelines, budgets and processes. This is for both internal and external resources, and this person will also take care of project procurement.
Agency Account Coordinator
An entry-level admin-heavy marketing agency role, assisting and supporting account executives, media planners and client services managers.
An account executive works on executive advertising campaigns by conveying what the client needs to the team working on the project, which might include the likes of graphic designers, web designers, creative directors, project managers, SEO specialists and copywriters. They also do schmoozing stuff like developing client relationships and keeping existing ones sweet.
This handy individual’s role is as much concerned with the end consumer as the client, making sure the stuff the account executive wants aligns with what the consumer wants. They look after the strategic direction of a campaign and day to day they need to be a great critical thinker, researcher and diplomat.
This is the person, as you might expect, who ensures that all projects, services and products are right for the brand (“on brand”, if you will). They will liaise with clients and senior team members, as well as overseeing a team of junior marketers. Day to day the role involves working across brand campaigns, events and sponsorships.
The traffic manager is responsible for gathering and tracking internal creative. They collect project information and work with the agency and client to track the logistics of a project. While they keep track of these things, they don’t have the responsibilities of a project manager.
A more human resources-based role, this person is the one who assigns various tasks to creative staff and freelancers, working with project managers to make sure team resources are being used to their full advantage. They’re also likely to be the ones maintaining a database of freelancers to be brought into different projects.