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.
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.
To be an advertising account executive you should:
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.
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Account Planning Group
16 Creighton Avenue
Tel: 020 8444 3692