Advertising account executives, also known as account handlers, act as the link between an advertising agency and its clients.
As an account executive, you would find out about theÂ client’s advertising goals, and thenÂ organise your agency’s creativeÂ and planning staff to produceÂ effective campaigns. Your tasks would include:
- meetingÂ clients to discuss their advertising needs
- working with account planners to come up with a campaign that meets the client’s brief and budget
- presenting campaign ideas and costings to clients
- briefing the creative team whoÂ produce the words and artwork
- negotiating with clients, solving any problems and making sure deadlines are met
- checking and reporting on the campaignâ€™s progress
- keeping in contact with the client at all stages of the campaign
- managing the accountâ€™s budget and invoicing the client
- trying to win new business for the agency.
You would usually handle about three or four accounts at the same time.
What qualifications and experience will employers look for?
Employers will usually be mainly interested in your personal qualities such as creativity, quick thinking and business sense, rather than your formal qualifications.
However, advertising is a very competitive industry to join, and you may have an advantage with a BTEC HND or degree in one of the following subjects:
- statistics or operational research
- communication and media studies
- business or management
Alternatively, in smaller advertising agencies you may be able to start in a more junior position such as administrator, and work your way up as your experience of the industry develops.
It’s a good idea to try to find work experience in an advertising agency before looking for your first job. You could contact agencies directly to ask about placements, and make industry contacts through relevant groups on social networking sites. See Work Experience section of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) website for more information and a list of member agencies.
- Institute of Practitioners in Advertising
Any previous work experience in the media, marketing, communications or sales would also be useful.
Visit the Diagonal Thinking website to find out if you have what it takes for a career in advertising.
- Diagonal Thinking
What further training and development can I do?
You will usually start as a junior account executive andÂ learn on the job, possibly as part ofÂ an agency’sÂ structured graduate training scheme. Your training would typically cover marketing skills, market research techniques, report writing and communication skills.
You may also be able to work towards qualifications from the professional associations, such as:
- IPA Foundation Certificate â€“ an online course for junior staff with at least six monthsâ€™ experience in any area of advertising
- IPA Advanced Certificate â€“ a more advanced 10-month online course
- IPA Excellence Diploma â€“ for peopleÂ with at least three yearsâ€™ experience
- Communication Advertising and Marketing Education Foundation (CAM) Diploma in Marketing Communications â€“ for this you will need a degree or equivalent, or at least two yearsâ€™ relevant work experience.
You can also take short courses to help keep your knowledge and skills up to date throughout your career. See the IPA and the Account Planning Group websites for details.