To become an advertising executive you are likely to possess a certain creative flair alongside excellent communication skills.
You will work within an agency acting as a key point of contact with clients. These clients, usually between one to five, will become your specialist subject and primary commitment. Depending on your agency, they may be glamorous household name brands, or niche new market entrants.
Your objective is to forge strong relationships and learn as much as possible about them. This covers everything from their products and services and unique selling points, to their target audience, key messages and campaign goals.
Your role may encompass elements of sales and business development. You may also take responsibility for overseeing the coordination of advertising campaigns.
By studying here at City, University of London, you are positioned in the centre of London and close to the biggest advertising agencies in the UK. The Complete University Guide 2020 ranked us first in London for Communication and Media Studies.
What can I expect as an advertising executive?
No two advertising agencies are exactly alike, so your experience of life as an advertising executive may vary. It will also depend on the types of clients you manage and the types of campaigns you run.
As an advertising executive you will liaise directly with clients and agency staff in executing advertising campaigns and coordinating related activity.
You will regularly meet clients to gain a full understanding of their advertising and promotional needs. This will involve budgets, advertising tactics, audience demographics, market and competition information.
Your responsibilities are likely to include:
- Identifying campaign requirements
- Presenting and pitching campaigns to clients
- Arranging and attending meetings with various stakeholders
- Conferring with relevant creative colleagues
- Monitoring progress and maintaining client contact
- Gathering data, metrics and reports before and after campaigns
- Supervising staff
- Delivering media briefings
- Managing budgets and costs.
You will need to handle a degree of stress across multiple accounts and accept long working hours in a competitive arena.
Advertising is an ever-changing industry. Agencies of all sizes can come and go depending on a major client win or loss, with the wider economic climate also a factor. Organisations might equally merge or be acquired by competitors, leading to structural changes. As a result, redundancies are not uncommon.
Related courses at City
Whatever your level of interest in becoming an advertising executive, City's courses can help you take one step closer to a career, develop specialisms that'll set you apart from the field or broaden your horizons with study in related subjects.
Who can I work for as an advertising executive?
Most work is available at larger advertising agencies. These agencies typically have between 50 and 80 employees, although some have over 300 and offer integrated services including publicity, marketing and communications, in addition to advertising.
At the other end of the scale you might find companies ranging from five people and operating in a highly niche area.
Vacancies are usually advertised online on websites including The Drum, Mad Jobs, Campaign Jobs and IPA Jobs Listings.
What about work experience as an advertising executive?
Relevant work experience is highly regarded and a great way to improve your understanding of agency life. It can help you to shape your career ideas, give you potentially important contacts and show your commitment to the profession.
Holiday work, placements or job shadowing are all valuable forms of experience. Bigger agencies run formal work experience or internship programmes and advertise through their websites. These can be challenging to get onto.
Be proactive and creative if you speculatively contact agencies. Distinguishing yourself in a positive way can earn you a valuable foot in the door. Make sure you learn as much about them as possible.
Experience in other forms of commercial advertising will be useful too.
What are my prospects as an advertising executive?
Your prospects in the advertising industry will depend on your personal performance. If your campaigns consistently achieve successful results you should be rewarded appropriately. You may even be headhunted by a rival agency.
There is a standard career path after entering the industry as an advertising executive. You should progress to the position of account manager within a few years, before progressing to account director.
Working for different agencies and clients can help your career to progress more quickly, giving you a wider perspective of the industry. Having a degree of mobility about where you work could help. Equally, there are no guarantees of success and advertising is a fast-moving industry. You will need self-belief, determination and resilience.