The Role of Traffic Managers and Production Managers in Marketing Agencies

Many in the creative industry have heard the titles ‘Traffic Manager’ and ‘Production Manager,’ however, some agencies have forgone these individual roles altogether. 

Some smaller agencies have account executives or the principal overseeing the jobs for their clients. Agency accounts are often too concerned with moving projects along and closing deals. This is the fundamental sales funnel. However, they also accidentally ignore elements essential to their success rates, such as budget, time management, and schedule synchronization. This inevitably results in a conflict when multiple account executives vie for the agency’s resources.

To conveniently track job progression and monitor their profit center, you can employ a marketing traffic manager and a production traffic manager and install project management software. This will help you to increase project visibility and monitor project intake better.

The Agency Workflow Struggle

Many account executives (AEs) are less interested in project management and more interested in moving their projects through to completion so they can move on to their next commissioned sale. The creative team is left to decide how to prioritize the work put forward by the AEs, which is a noticeable drain on the creatives and distracts them from doing what they do best to keep the agency profitable. 

One solution is for agencies to bring in a traffic manager and an agency production manager responsible for scheduling all jobs and moving them through the various stages of development. 

You must introduce a traffic and agency production manager to the workflow method used by the agencies before you can include them. Here, they may closely monitor resource requirements and task progression. Don’t be surprised if the traffic and production manager identifies problems with your current procedure. In the end, wasn’t that the reason you recruited them?

The traffic and agency production manager must become familiar with the project management system if the agency utilizes one. They will use this to keep projects on track and solve production problems to avoid delays quickly.

What is a traffic manager?

Experts in time management, marketing traffic managers collaborate with other offices and teams to organize projects and work outputs for both internal and external clients. Creative or marketing-related requests from clients often necessitate the cooperation of several departments. Therefore, a marketing traffic manager must serve as a point of contact between their team and the clients, taking requests and assigning them to the appropriate team members, monitoring deadlines, and delivering completed deliverables.

Agency traffic managers often take on some bookkeeping responsibility as they see a job through payables and the stages of invoicing. On top of this, they may also be involved in estimating agency time, pricing agency services, and working with freelancers, outside producers, and vendors.

Every day, the marketing traffic manager reviews each job within the organization and utilizes the agency’s chosen project management software to keep track of the job’s status. The marketing traffic manager manages the workflow to keep track of the task dependencies. When one task falls behind, it may be necessary to reschedule many tasks.

The Key Role of Marketing Traffic Manager

The primary responsibility of the production traffic manager is macro-planning, which involves managing each project phase’s big picture while ensuring that the minor phases are progressing. They make project delivery easier in terms of overall workflow optimization.

Monitoring schedules

A marketing traffic manager’s primary responsibility is to ensure that schedule planning is organized and runs well. Excel was the primary tool for a marketing traffic manager to do this. Today’s agency traffic managers will adjust deadlines and timetables from a higher level but with the aid of an agency management tool.

Traffic managers can determine whether there is a need to postpone deadlines, recruit contractors, or plan potential hires in conjunction with project and account managers. They will ensure that work is distributed fairly among the creative or production teams.

Manage project status 

Status report syncs are a best practice for complicated projects with numerous stakeholders and short deadlines. Traffic managers in marketing typically organize daily and weekly status meetings to review task lists, and budget spending and monitor time spent on services and projects. Traffic managers are in charge of making suggestions for changes to advance projects.

Distribute assignments

Agency production managers are responsible for overseeing the resource allocation in the agency for multiple projects. They must have a deep understanding of the capabilities of their team members, and be able to assign tasks accordingly. This involves considering factors such as each team member’s skillset, workload, and availability, as well as the priority of the project.

Improve operation processes

To advance traffic management in marketing, traffic managers require real-time data that includes service times, overhead expenses, and profitability indicators. By utilizing past data, they can better manage agency operations in the future and make informed decisions on price adjustments, spending increases, and client discounts.

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What is a production manager?

Many stakeholders work together to transform an idea into reality behind every successful project. However, in growing agencies, traffic managers can be a hectic position, and there is the potential for the quality of work to suffer. This is why many advertising management experts recommend creating the product manager role. 

The success of your products is supported by the agency production manager’s interactions with a wide range of departments. An agency production manager manages all of the marketing initiatives for both new and/or existing projects, including the creation of artistic marketing and advertising products. Managing the execution of print campaigns or the production and placement of digital media is also among the primary duties in this line of work. 

Furthermore, during the pitching process, the agency production manager helps account executives estimate and price the work they are trying to sell and helps the agency find the best deals and practices on external costs.

The Key Role of Marketing Production Manager

Lead the Production Team

A production manager is primarily in charge of overseeing the complete marketing team. They are also in charge of building the full marketing team from the ground up in startups, training the team, and evaluating each member’s capability.

Working closely with the production team, the manager will handle the creative teams’ work planning and scheduling. They provide briefs to the members to execute and deliver assets for clients.

In addition, they need to manage all incoming requests, monitor the backlog, facilitate sprint planning sessions with key stakeholders, and guarantee the timely delivery of creative assets for marketing campaigns.

Production Control

Production managers ensure they make the best use of the resources and manage the operation to meet the intended delivery schedule. They oversee the production process from start to finish, making strategic decisions to optimize resource utilization and meet production targets. This is accomplished during production through routing, scheduling, risk management, and inspection.

Quality Control

Another duty of the production traffic manager is to produce the marketing materials or creative assets according to the client’s standards. They conduct quality assurance checks to ensure accuracy and consistency across all marketing materials. They also work closely with graphic designers, copywriters, and other creative professionals to ensure the materials meet the desired objectives and resonate with the intended audience. Quality assurance checks are then conducted to ensure the materials are ready for distribution and will help achieve the desired results.

Maintain Communication with Stakeholders

Along with the aforementioned duties, a product manager maintains open contact with all necessary parties. Mainly, they will update the stakeholders on the status of marketing projects, negotiate with vendors and manage relationships with external partners, such as printers and production companies.

Free Your Time

Of course, I understand that having Agency Production Managers and Traffic Managers are sometimes a luxury that small agencies cannot afford. Often I see organizations where the agency owner does the role of Product Manager or Traffic Manager, or both; this would keep the owner involved in the company’s daily operations and away from their role in strategic planning and monitoring agency profitability. 

If the Marketing Traffic Manager or Agency Production Manager role is absent from your organization, be certain your agency management software does all that Function Point can do. Function Point has been designed for these roles specifically.

Our software was designed in part to alleviate the chaotic nature of traffic management at an ad agency. Function Point is an online project management software created specifically with creative agencies in mind. Features of Function Point allow you to build estimates quickly, track the activities of freelancers, make notes on outside vendors, and much more. Marketing traffic managers will marvel at the array of features to help them stay on top of the agency workflow and track the real inventory of an agency—time.

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