The role of Account Executive in an advertising agency may seem glamorous but few people realize exactly what it entails. An Account executive is also referred to as being in Client Service - which is a more accurate description of the job.
The role of an AE is key to the advertising agency's success. The AE is tasked with representing the client's interests at the ad agency and the ad agency's interest at the client, both with impeccable professionalism.
The basic AE job description involves getting an advertising brief from the client - usually a marketing professional or brand manager. The brief is a description of what the client needs - which could be anything from sales flyers, corporate brochures, business cards, branding to multimedia presentations, websites, print advertising campaigns, outdoor campaigns, or Search and Social marketing - and that's just below the line.
These jobs could entail copywriting, design, digital design, voice-overs, photo shoots, media planning and booking, digital strategy, 3D, animation, print, concept, video production, setting up Facebook and Twitter accounts amongst many other disciplines.
The AE has to be knowledgeable enough on all these disciplines to give insights and advice to the marketing manager, and take a comprehensive, logical brief back to the advertising agency. Some of the requirements of an AE are:
• AE's must have strong communication skills. They must be able to communicate briefs, budgets and timelines through to the correct channels within the advertising agency. Excellent time management and attention to detail is also required.
• Account Executives must guide the ad agency's creative work within the realms of the brief. A full understanding of their clients' markets, products and competitors is required.
• AE's must ensure that all of the advertising agency's systems are followed and that all client / ad agency communication is clear and concise.
• The advertising agency senior management must also be informed and updated on all agency accounts and projects.
• AE's are required to seek new business for the agency - testing their fledgling sales skills!
• Financial skills are also expected - from agency and client budget management and report backs to full campaign and media management by the agency. Pro-activity is also highly valued by advertising agencies.
AE's are at the heart of the agency and sometimes have to deal with great challenges as part of the agency nerve centre. AEs tell us some of their worst parts of the job:
"Having to tell the client you or your supplier messed something up or are going to miss a deadline"
"Telling creative the client didn't like their work"
"Trying to get an extension an impossible deadline"
"Thinking you took a great brief and then showing the final work to the client and they hate everything!"
"Getting numerous last minute changes to approved jobs"
But a big plus to this job is that AE's are also exposed to a variety of clients and gain valuable exposure across varied industries. A typical AE at an advertising agency may work on up to 8 - 10 clients. This keeps the AE stimulated across many industries and they get a great all-round knowledge that will serve them well in their future careers.
Personal relationships between agency and client can also bloom into friendships and many agencies retain clients over decades due to this type of relationship building.
On the fun side the Account Management Team also celebrates in all client successes (and failures!). They share in conferences, strategic thinking and team building - all the while filtering this knowledge back to the agency.
Some of the AE's at Artifact Advertising agency shared some of the best parts of their job:
"Seeing your client's campaign come together beautifully when you took the brief"
"Friday afternoon drinks at the advertising agency bar!"
"Winning pitches over other advertising agencies!"
"Lunches, wine and strategic thinking....."
"Seeing something that you've helped create on display or in print...nice!"
We hope that this look into the life of an advertising account executive will be useful to anyone considering a career in an agency.