What is an Advertising Account Executive?
An advertising account executive is responsible for handling communication between the agency and the client and creating campaigns.
You’ll be responsible for presenting your creative ideas to the client and managing their expectations throughout the process. Once approved, you will then be liable for coordinating and executing the campaign from start to finish. Understanding your client’s needs is the key to ensuring your creative idea is successful and on-brand.
To develop an understanding of your client’s needs and objectives, you will regularly communicate with them, gather their feedback, and prioritise their goals. Additionally, you will perform various administrative tasks throughout the project lifecycle to ensure that each initiative is completed within the designated timeline.
As an advertising account executive, your main responsibilities include:
- Meeting with clients to discuss their advertising requirements and understanding their goals.
- Collaborating with agency colleagues to create advertising campaigns that align with the client’s brief and budget.
- Presenting campaign ideas and budgets to clients with the account manager.
- Briefing media, creative, and research staff and assisting in developing marketing strategies with the account manager.
- Acting as the primary contact for the client and maintaining regular communication with both parties.
- Facilitating effective communication between the client and the advertising agency.
- Negotiating campaign details with clients and agency staff.
- Managing campaign budgets, expenses, and invoicing clients.
- Producing client reports to track campaign progress.
- Monitoring the effectiveness of campaigns and making recommendations for improvement.
- Completing administrative tasks related to the advertising campaign.
- Organising and attending meetings with clients and agency staff.
- Pitching new business opportunities to potential clients along with agency staff.
Salaries will vary depending on the size of the company and where it is located. For example, according to Glassdoor the average salary for an advertising account executive in London is £34,000.
You will also be eligible for additional agency benefits, such as profit-sharing schemes, bonuses, free gym membership, medical insurance etc. Starting salaries for an advertising account executive will range between £19,000 – £24,000
Once you become more experienced, you will be able to progress to an account manager, where you will earn between £30,000 – £40,000.
Director-level roles typically offer salaries of up to £55,000, while senior account directors may earn up to £65,000 or more.
Your typical working hours will be from 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, although this can vary depending on the agency and project deadlines. You may need to work early mornings or late evenings to meet deadlines, but weekend work is rare unless agreed upon with the client in advance. While paid overtime is not common in the industry, some agencies offer time off in lieu. It’s worth noting that career breaks and part-time work are not as common in this industry, but some larger agencies do offer paid sabbaticals after a certain period of service. Job sharing may also be a possibility in some cases.
What to expect
Working as an advertising professional can be demanding, with long hours and a highly competitive and occasionally stressful environment. While you will usually work from an office, you will frequently travel during the day to meet clients or attend events such as TV shoots, radio recordings, or castings. There may also be occasional overnight stays or overseas travel required, particularly if the agency is part of an international media and communications group.
The work atmosphere is generally relaxed, although professional attire is often expected. As part of your role, you may also need to socialise with clients. However, it’s worth noting that redundancies are not uncommon in the advertising industry, particularly during economic downturns or challenging business periods. Furthermore, advertising agencies are constantly seeking to win new business, which can sometimes result in an unpredictable work environment.
The advertising industry is open to graduates of all degrees. However, the following subject may improve your chances, especially with the industry being highly competitive amongst graduates:
- Creative writing
- Public relations
It is possible to go into the advertising industry without a degree if you have enough relevant work experience however, a degree is generally preferred especially within larger agencies. Utilising social media sites, such as LinkedIn, to find potential employers and network with your community is a great way to build your profile within the industry and market yourself.
Attending events hosted by agencies and other relevant communities can be a great way to make valuable industry connections and meet potential employers. Job advertisements can also help you identify the skills you already possess and those you need to acquire. Consider gaining work experience in related roles, such as sales, marketing, or public relations, as the skills and experience gained in these fields are often transferable to advertising and can help you stand out to employers.
A Master’s degree in Business and Administration with Banking and Finance (MBA with banking and finance) is beneficial and will put you in a better position to start earning the highest salary straight away. By being certified as a qualified Risk Manager, you can ensure that you continue to grow your talents and increase your income. This entails earning internationally recognised qualifications.
must have skills:
- Strong communication and interpersonal abilities
- Proactive approach with the flexibility to use initiative
- Exceptional organisational abilities
- Ability to handle high-pressure situations and quickly absorb large amounts of information while maintaining attention to detail
- Drive and determination to achieve goals
- Effective teamwork skills
- Persuasion and negotiation skills
- Strong written and verbal communication skills
- Business acumen and awareness of the industry
- Passion for advertising and knowledge of what makes an effective advertisement
- Willingness to learn and develop new skills
- Resilience in handling problems and constructive feedback
- IT proficiency and awareness of emerging communication technologies in the industry.
Work experience prior to going into the industry is extremely desirable and will help you stand out amongst the competition.
It is also a great way to get an understanding of what agency life is like and make valuable contacts, which may be useful when you start your permanent role as an account executive.
You can gain work experience through vacation work, placements or job shadowing. More formal work experience opportunities or internship programmes are offered by larger agencies and can usually be found online. With the industry being so competitive, it may be difficult to secure work experience; however, gaining experience in a similar vertical will also make your application more desirable. Voluntary work is also a great way to gain valuable experience.
Many opportunities will be within larger advertising agencies which range between 50 to 80 employees, although some agencies can have more than 300 employees. Smaller companies can range in size from 5 to 15 people. Many of the larger agencies will require multidisciplinary service to clients, such as marketing and public relations in addition to advertising – this is otherwise called a ‘communications’ package.
Look for job vacancies at:
If you’re looking for a career in advertising, there are various routes to explore. Besides responding to job adverts, you can also send speculative applications to companies you’re interested in. A well-crafted CV and cover letter that’s targeted and attention-grabbing can be an effective way to get noticed. Before applying, it’s important to research the advertising industry, the role of account executives, and the specific organisation you’re applying to. The IPA website is a good resource for finding agency members and their contact details.
Large advertising agencies often have graduate training schemes and applications are usually accepted early in the autumn term of your final year. Smaller and specialised agencies usually recruit for specific vacancies as they arise and may use specialist websites or recruitment agencies.
To begin a career in advertising, you will typically start as an advertising account executive and progress as follows:
- Account manager: You may start as a junior and manage executives while looking after clients.
- Account director: At this level, you will take responsibility for all account staff and clients.
- Group account director: This is the highest level of account management.
The speed and extent of your career progression will depend on your level of experience and the success of your campaigns. For instance, working on an award-winning campaign can give you higher visibility and industry recognition, leading to faster career advancement. You may even be headhunted by other advertising agencies. It’s also important to be mobile and flexible in terms of changing agencies and working for different clients to advance your career.
Studying towards a BA (Hons) in International Business sets students up with the necessary skills to work in a range of professions. The course involves working closely with academic theory and practical case studies, allowing students to grasp how the theory can be applied in real business scenarios.
Within this programme, students will cover modules such as business studies, finance, human resource management, marketing, and economics. BA International Business takes a very hands-on approach to learning by incorporating workshops, guest lectures and field trips into the programme.
The MBA component of the course takes a broad look at business practice and functions such as accounts, finance, and HR – and how they are all interlinked. This allows students to grasp the importance of strategy and communication within a managerial role.
Alongside a broad business view, this course allows students to specialise in digital marketing in a more focused way. The marketing aspect of the programme is intended to allow professionals with substantial digital marketing experience to hone their skills to enhance their career prospects. Areas of study include digital marketing strategy, management, social media marketing, search engine optimisation, pay per click, email and influencer marketing.
Other related courses
An advertising account executive is responsible for handling communication between the agency and the client as well as the creation of campaigns.
Starting salaries for an advertising account executive will range between £19,000 – £24,000
The advertising industry is open to graduates of all degrees. However, the following subject may improve your chances, especially with the industry being highly competitive among graduates: Advertising, Business/Management, Communications, Creative writing, Design, English, Marketing & Public relations