Advertising account executive

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Lisa Booth is an account manager with a two-person agency that uses a pool of freelance designers and copywriters. Her company provides advertising, marketing, brand and corporate communications for regional and international clients.

What does an account executive or manager do?

Account management means ensuring that all our projects are delivered to our clients on time and within budget. We are dependent on our designers, copywriters and developers delivering their elements as agreed.

The presentation of ideas to clients is a fun element of the role. It's also my responsibility to ensure that all the work is quality checked and signed off as correct before it is sent to the client, printer or released onto the web.

What is your workplace like?

There are just two of us and we work in a small office in my colleague's home. It is much quieter than the larger agencies we've been used to. We spend a lot of time out of the office with clients or working with our extended team of copywriters, designers, photographers and developers.

What have you been doing this week?

Several projects are reaching their final stages – whether it is showing our creative ideas to clients or putting the finishing touches to advertisements – and we have all had a few late nights to meet the deadlines. We have completed a website and content management system for one of our clients that brings five sites together with a new look and feel. Then, there are everyday items, such as designs for a printed newsletter for internal marketing with one of our clients, cost estimates for other projects and targeting new clients to work with in the future.

Why did you choose this type of work?

I love a challenge and every job is something new. I work with some fantastic people and clients often become friends. Also, it's great to see the results when a campaign goes well.

What hours do you work?

We try to make sure that one of us is in the office between 9am and 6pm each day. We need to be meeting our clients face-to-face as well. All our clients have our mobile numbers. There can be late nights and weekend working when we come up against tight deadlines.

What is the most difficult part of your advertising executive job?

It can sometimes be hard to tell a client that their idea is not always the most effective way to promote a product.

Describe a typical project you have worked on?

One of our clients was exhibiting a product and we were responsible for the whole promotional campaign, ranging from consultancy on the stand design, e-mail invitations and banner ads on the conference website, to the printed material and presentations that were shown on the stand.

What special qualities do you need to do a job like yours?

You need to be patient at all times! Sometimes clients can be asking the impossible when you are doing everything you can to deliver projects on time. You need to be able to listen properly to your client's wants, needs and ideas to ensure you come up with the best solution.

Lisa's route to her advertising account executive career

  • Marketing and modern languages degree.
  • Evening classes for the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing.
  • First job with USP Advertising and a global marketing project for Oracle.

Lisa's account executive tip

  • If you want to do something, plan a way to achieve it and stick to it.

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Salary of an advertising account executive

  • Salaries vary enormously, depending on the size of the agency, location and the account executive's experience.
  • London agencies usually offer the highest salaries.
  • Graduates entering an agency as an account executive can expect to earn around £15,000 a year (more in London).
  • Account executives with about five years' experience can earn between £27,000 and £33,000.
  • Account directors can earn over £60,000.

How to become an advertising account executive

  • Most account executives have a degree and competition for jobs is fierce.
  • Relevant degrees can range from specific marketing or advertising subjects to business or English.
  • Some account executives have – or go on to take – postgraduate qualifications.
  • The Communications and Marketing Education Foundation (CAM) runs six advanced certificate courses. To get on the course you need at least five GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3), although many students have a degree. You can also study the programme part-time, once you've joined an agency.
  • The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, the industry's trade body, encourages it agency members to become accredited under their Continuous Professional Development standard. These agencies offer an induction programme for new staff to access a range of courses and qualifications.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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