Throughout 2022, we are going to sit down with some of the familiar faces around the office and ask them questions about their role at HS. Up first is our charismatic Account Executive Mason Van Essen.
What is the most important role of an Account Executive in Marketing?
Thinking on the client’s behalf. I represent the client’s goals to the HS team, and I unlock the entire HS team for the client. An Account Executive’s job is all about making the client’s life easier, ensuring excellence in everything we do, communicating clearly, and offering a solution, always.
You’ve worked on the business side and are now on the agency side. What is your favorite thing about working at an agency?
As a marketing-team-of-one on the business side, I was the designer, writer, strategist and developer among the dozens of other hats I inevitably wore when I was an in-house marketer. My favorite part of working at an agency is being able to communicate with my clients how I wanted to be communicated with when I was in their shoes.
Plus, it’s nice being able to hand a project to the talented team at HS and get an amazing result back. It would have taken me twice as long to make something half as great if I would have done it myself. Now I can put all my energy into my sweet spot: bringing enthusiasm, communication and strategy to each and every project.
When you start working with a new client, what is the first question you ask?
How can we help you? That question may seem oversimplified, but every client comes to HS with a problem, a budget and a timeline. It’s my job to thread the needle and find a solution that checks all the boxes.
Asking how we can be helpful gives them an opportunity to explain where they’ve been, where they hope to go, and what they expect working with us to be like. It’s a great starting point to begin getting everyone to row in the same direction.
How do you balance the client’s wants with the needs of their audience?
We learn the difference between wants and needs when we’re kids, but pinning down what you actually want and what you actually need can be one of life’s biggest difficulties. This is the case for customers and clients too.
For example, a customer may want to try organic groceries but to do so they need to know that they’re not too expensive since they were 40% more expensive at the store they normally shop at the last time they looked.
An independent organic grocery store may want to continue advertising in the local magazine that they’ve worked with for the last 12 years since people still bring in the cut-out coupons on occasion.
It’s our job to be a couple steps ahead and see the big picture. It’s delivering a strategy to the client to make sure their wants (to sell organic groceries in this example) line up with their customers’ needs (organic groceries that don’t break the bank).
Instead of only doing what the client asks or what a customer expects, we look to add value: a digital campaign showing that organic groceries aren’t that expensive shown to customers of geofenced traditional grocery stores.
What is your ultimate goal when working with a client?
I love this Seth Godin quote: “Marketing is the generous act of helping others become who they seek to become.”
So often, we—both the agency and the client—get bogged down in the weeds of a project that we need to remember what it’s all about: helping others find products and services when and where they need or want them.
From making sure a health care company has easy-to-find contact information for parents when their child is running a temp, to optimizing email funnels for a pillow brand when people are looking for ways to sleep better, it’s about helping the end user—you.
What are you Crazy Obsessed about?
I love well-designed experiences. Architecture. Culinary. Design. New employee onboarding. The, “Oh, that’s so nice of you to remember [insert small detail]” at a gathering of friends and family. Details matter in how you experience the world. Making people feel seen and appreciated is both an art and a science that I care very much about.