Advertising Account Executive

    If you are wondering how to become an advertising account manager, below are tips and advice on training for and beginning careers in this area of PR and marketing, as well as job prospects in the UK.

    The Job Description
    Advertising account managers, also called account executives or handers, link the advertising agency to the client. They liaise between creative and admin teams to ensure that promotional campaigns are developed in a timely and cost effective manner.

    Typical responsibilities:

    – meeting with clients to discuss advertising requirements.
    – liaising with account and media planners, developing a campaign in line with client budget and goals.
    – presenting ideas to clients
    – briefing creative staff
    – negotiating costs and terms with clients
    – checking and reporting back on campaign progress
    – maintaining client contact throughout the campaign
    – managing the account budget and securing payment from the client
    – delivering sales pitches for new business.

    Person Specification
    The key personal attributes of a good advertising account handler include:

    – strong written and verbal communication
    – good negotiating and presentation skills
    – good organisation and time management
    – excellent interpersonal abilities for working with diverse clients and teams of colleagues
    – the ability to work calmly and proactively under pressure
    – good business acumen and the ability to maximise budgets.

    How to become an advertising account manager
    No particular entry qualifications exist for becoming an account handler / executive, but advertising is competitive and employers may be expect a relevant degree / HND in one of the following disciplines:

    business or management
    statistics / operational research
    media studies / communication

    It is useful to have media work experience within sales, marketing or communications.

    Try to gain work experience at advertising agencies before applying for jobs. Contact an agency regarding work placements.

    Training and Development
    You usually begin as a junior level account handler and receive training on the job through a structured programme.

    You may be able to gain a professional qualification, including:

    – The IPA Foundation Certificate for junior staff with six months+ experience in advertising
    – The IPA Excellence Diploma for managers with three years+ of experience
    – The CAM (Communication Advertising and Marketing Education Foundation) Diploma in Marketing Communications – for which you need a degree or similar, or two years+ of relevant experience.

    You could take courses to assist professional development from the Account Planning Group or the IPA.

    The Pay (a rough guide)
    Starting salaries: £18k to £22k.
    This can rise to £30k to £40k with experience.
    Senior management in successful advertising agencies could earn £60k to £120k.

    Job Prospects
    Advertising is popular among graduates and there is a great deal of competition. About half of UK advertising agencies are in London and other hotspots are in the major cities, including Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Bristol, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Leeds.

    Jobs are advertised in the press, relevant trade publications like Creative Review or Campaign, the IPA website specialist employment agencies. Not all jobs are advertised, so it is a good idea to approach companies directly and network within the industry.

    Eventually, you could progress to be an agency director, or form your own company. It is normal to move agencies to gain a promotion or work with larger clients and many good staff are head-hunted for senior jobs.

    Useful resources:
    Account Planning Group
    16 Creighton Avenue
    London N10 1NU
    Telephone: 0208 444 3692

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