This question was just posed in an Agency Post article. (We love The Agency Post. Jami Oetting is fantastic!) It's a good question and the philosphies presented make sense. But we have a different opinion regarding the conclusion.
In this business we often hear about how clients want this or that or how the business has changed so we need to shift. Yes, part of that is true. But the pundits miss the point. Change happens. It's part of evolution. And as cells divide and evolve in the natural world, so does business in the "un-natural" world.
Change doesn't imply or require everyone to move in the same direction. It means there are more options. There are more client "species" and they need evolved agencies to survive and thrive.
Or another way to put it: There needs to be someone for everyone.
With regard to account management - and I LOVE that she labeled it management and not services; that says a lot - the agency does not have to position itself such that it will have one type of account management. Account management should match the client's model, structure and needs, as should the agency. It should adapt as the client's model evolves, adapting to its environment. Rigid, strictly-defined agency structures work for many clients and agencies, but others need more flexibility. It can be more difficult to manage from the agency's side, and new clients have trouble visualizing or understanding how the agency manages itself, or even its positioning, but the benefits far outweigh a bit of discomfort with the unfamiliar.
But for us, that ambiguity is OK. And no, the account manager is not dead. Just evolved.