What does an Advertising Account Executive do?

Meghan Perry

An advertising account executive is responsible for managing clients' accounts. He or she pitches advertising campaigns to a client and handles the advertising budget. Advertising account executives usually work for advertising agencies, but they sometimes work in advertising departments in large companies. They often work closely with the client's or company's advertising manager. Another responsibility is to make sure that clients' needs are being met.

Advertising account executives work closely with clients to get a firm understanding of their clients' needs and objectives.
Advertising account executives work closely with clients to get a firm understanding of their clients' needs and objectives.

The client is the company that hires the agency to produce an advertising campaign. The advertising account executive acts as the liaison between the client and the agency. He or she must develop a plan for the client, but before that can happen, preliminary research must be completed. Some of this research includes deciding on and understanding what market to target and developing a concept for the campaign, and he or she might also study the advertising plans of competing companies.

After the preliminary research is completed, the advertising account executive drafts a plan for the client. The plan generally includes information about the budget and schedule, including how much the campaign will cost and when the advertising will run. The plan might also include sales projections as a result of the campaign, as well as information on where the ad will run; for example, television, radio, newspapers and magazines are several options. After the plan and campaign are developed, the advertising account executive must then sell the idea to the client.

It is important that the executive keeps in steady contact with his or her clients. It is typical for the executive to contact his or her clients at least once a day. In addition, travel to meet with clients is not uncommon in this job. Although account executives generally are not part of the creative team — in other words, they do not write the campaign itself — they do work with the creative team to communicate the client's needs.

Sometimes previous experience in sales or marketing is enough for one to get work as an advertising account executive, but it has become more common for advertising agencies to look for someone with at least a bachelor's degree. This degree could be in any number of areas, including advertising, business administration, liberal arts or marketing. Often, it is the degree itself that is important and not what discipline the degree is in. Some companies might require a master's degree in business administration.

Some of the skills that are required for this job include strong leadership, communication and organization skills. Executives must work with clients and pitch ideas, so strong interpersonal skills are also required, along with a professional appearance and demeanor. The ability to meet deadlines is also important.

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