If it’s creative, the Creative Services Manager can handle it. Their job is similar to a Product Manager but the “product” being managed is the creative process itself. The Creative Services Manager role is sometimes called a Creative Services Director, but the duties are the same.
This career requires creativity in ideas and the ability to implement. Vision without an eye toward the details simply won’t get this job done. The Creative Services Manager ensures that the vision is created and enacted on time and on budget and they manage the people, processes, and technology that make it happen.
What Does a Creative Services Manager Do?
A Creative Services Manager (CSM) can work in an advertising agency or in a corporate setting. In an agency, the CSM initially meets with a new client to work on an idea. It could be a new brand concept or the creation of a specific marketing piece, a campaign, or even an event designed to raise awareness. But the CSM is there to whiteboard the ideas and seek client buy-in.
In a corporate setting, the process is much the same, although the stakeholders are much different.
Once the idea is envisioned and agreed to, the Creative Services Manager creates the roadmap for implementing it. In this role, they delegate tasks and map out budgets, timelines, and all the big-picture details. Then they manage a team of creative professionals that could include web developers, designers, videographers, content writers and more. As drafts are created, the CSM will bring the client or other stakeholders back to the table to get their feedback. They’ll hold regular meetings with teams and stakeholders. This process will continue until the creative “product” is complete. Finally, the CSM should lead internal teams in analyzing what went well and what needs improvement.
A typical day in the life of a Creative Services Manager could include:
- Reviewing or assisting in developing service proposals
- Meeting with management teams to determine need
- Facilitating creative project kickoffs
- Leading brainstorming sessions with creative teams
- Supervising, pushing, and encouraging creative team
- Benchmarking budget expenditures against projections
- Overseeing daily tasks tied to creative production
- Troubleshooting issues that could slow down the process
- Providing analysis to ensure the project stays within brand standards
- Suggesting changes to workflows in order to improve efficiencies and cut costs
- Presenting drafts to the client or other stakeholders
- Spot-checking client bill to ensure accuracy
Many times the Creative Services Manager will report to a Vice President of Marketing or other leadership. In an agency setting, they work closely with Traffic Coordinators and Art Directors. They may produce reports or analyze data in order to spot industry or competitor trends that will affect the creative goal or vision. Above all, the CSM will handle the people behind the creative output, whatever it may be.
Creative Services Manager Skills Needed
This role requires both creative and technical skills as well as human-centered people expertise. The Creative Services Manager must be expert in integrated marketing communications tools and techniques, but also expert at customer service, as they serve as a liaison between the stakeholder and creative teams.
The Creative Services Manager must have the following characteristics:
- Creativity, vision, and big ideas
- A good storyteller
- Analytical and insightful attention to detail
- Flexible yet able to stay on point
- Works without supervision
- Organized and efficient multitasker
- Expert communicator cool under pressure
- Collaborator that knows the whole is greater than the sum of its parts
- Skills in graphic design with a good sense of layout best practices
- Digital or print production guru
- Sales and/or customer service experience
- A strong, decisive decision maker
- A people person with excellent interpersonal skills
- Project management expert
- Excellent change manager
- Jack-of-all creative trades and master of a few
- Able to handle the stress of multiple high-pressure deadlines
The best Creative Services Managers have been around the block, having touched all the pieces of the creative process in some way over time. While they are expert in their own personal niche in the creative world, they know enough about all of the pieces of the creative process in order to manage entire teams.
Suggested Software Proficiency
The Creative Services Manager should have knowledge that ranges across the creative disciplines, from HubSpot to the Adobe Creative Suite. Basically, these professionals should have a working understanding of any software relevant to their field, including graphic design, video editing, client billing, analytics, project management and social media marketing tools.
If your company feels it’s time to bring on a Creative Services Manager, you’re one call or email away from starting the process. Talk with our talented team. Or if you’re a Creative Services Manager looking for a new home, view our creative employment agency’s list of available opportunities or submit your resume here.