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How to become an Advertising Account Executive

advertising account executive careers

What does a Advertising Account Executive do?

Advertising account executives (also known as account handlers) work for advertising agencies, preparing pitches or presentations to win new business and servicing the needs of existing clients. Advertising account executives also organise and monitor advertising campaigns.

Account executives work with account planners and media staff to devise a marketing strategy and advertising campaign which meets the client's brief and budgetary constraints. After gaining the client's approval of the proposal, they delegate work to the agency’s creative team. Familiarity with the client's product, business-culture and the competition is needed. Typically account executives handle three to four non-competing accounts at once.

They ensure that deadlines are met, that the client is kept informed about the campaign’s progress and that any problems or disagreements - either within the agency or with the client - are ironed out. Executives handle the invoicing and administration of the account, write reports, keep records and financial details, and maintain a photo library. They monitor the effectiveness of the campaign in order to provide up-to-date feedback to the client.

What's the working environment like working as a Advertising Account Executive?

Advertising account executives work long, irregular and unsocial hours, usually during the week although deadlines and workload can lead to weekend work. Some agencies have flexible working hours on the understanding that staff will work late when deadlines demand it.

Most of the time is spent working in offices, but executives may also travel to meet clients, so a driving licence is useful.

What does it take to become a Advertising Account Executive?

To be an advertising account executive you should:

  • have a good understanding of business
  • have good verbal and written communication skills and negotiation skills
  • be able to work with a range of people and as part of a team
  • be an effective team leader to co-ordinate the work of different agency departments
  • have some numerical ability for working out budgets and costings
  • have good computer skills
  • have stamina to work long hours, often under pressure
  • have a smart appearance and a professional manner
  • be organised and flexible
  • have a persuasive yet diplomatic approach
  • be able to deal with constructive criticism.

Advertising Account Executive Career Opportunities

Advertising is a very popular career among graduates, and there is a lot of competition for jobs. Agencies with a structured graduate recruitment programme are listed in the IPA Factfile, which can be accessed on the IPA website, although the best approach may be to contact agencies directly. The website also has access to job vacancies IPA Jobs Online.

Specialist media agencies have developed in response to the growth of new media industries such as cable and digital TV, and the Internet, which may provide further job opportunities.

Career progression is based upon experience and ability. Gaining qualifications such as those mentioned previously may be advantageous. Promotion to senior or director level is possible. Head-hunting is very common, as is movement between agencies.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Advertising Account Executive that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Advertising Association
7th Floor North
Artillery House
11-19 Artillery Row
Tel: 020 7340 1100

CAM Foundation
Moor Hall
Tel: 01628 427120

Institute of Practitioners in Advertising
44 Belgrave Square
Tel: 020 7235 7020

Account Planning Group
16 Creighton Avenue
N10 1NU
Tel: 020 8444 3692

Facts and Stats:

  • The Advertising Standards Association received 589 complaints in 1998 against the Irn Bru drinks advert that featured a cow with the caption ''When I''m a burger I want to be washed down by Irn Bru''
  • The first colour advert on TV in 1969 was for Birds Eye peas
  • Salman Rushdie once worked as an advertising copy writer
  • Advertising is not permitted on the Champs Elysées in Paris
  • ''Advertising insults my intelligence'', say 42 per cent of people in the UK, 23 per cent in Ireland and 49 per cent in the USA

Courses to help you become a Advertising Account Executive