Part stage manager and part juggler, today's advertising account executive knows how to keep clients happy while coaxing great campaigns from the creative team.

As the link between client and creative, account executives need to speak both languages. They are responsible for keeping a lot of balls in the air, making sure advertising content gets delivered on time and under budget, while staying in close communication with the creative team and keeping the client happy.

“Advertising account executives are key to bringing clients’ ideas and projects to life, ensuring client satisfaction and even attracting new business,” says Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group. “Interpersonal skills, project management experience, ability to multi-task and attention to detail are crucial tools to an advertising account executive’s success, as they often work on several accounts at a time.”

Read on for a look at the advertising account executive job description and current salary projections for this important role.

Advertising account executive salary benchmarks

The Salary Guide from Robert Half has the latest salary projection for an advertising account executive. You can also find out what an advertising account executive can make in your city.

Advertising account executive duties and expectations

An advertising account executive’s main goal is to be the liaison between the client and creative team. They manage budgets, ensure adherence to brand guidelines and keep leads for new business moving through the sales pipeline. They can be responsible for project management and making sure creative freelancers are up to speed and working effectively. Account executives should also be skilled at bringing in new clients and closing contracts.

In most cases, the following responsibilities can be expected:

  • Meets with clients frequently, serving as contact between the client and creative/advertising team
  • Discusses strategy with clients and helps develop advertising campaigns
  • Presents creative proposals to clients for approval, making sure all components are in line with the brand
  • Addresses any issues or delays in the project, as well as clients’ feedback
  • Delivers completed projects to the client on time
  • Manages budgets for multiple accounts
  • Acquires new accounts and negotiates contracts

Professional experience and skills

To succeed in this role, you must be able to anticipate obstacles and have a sense of urgency. Being able to address clients’ concerns, issues and feedback and deliver completed projects by deadline is an important trait for advertising account executives. As they often work on multiple accounts, an attention to detail and organizational skills are also essential so nothing slips under the radar.

A large part of project management requires being able to work well with people. Advertising account executives should have excellent interpersonal skills and should be able to connect and engage with a variety of personalities, both on the client and creative side. They should possess great communication and presentation skills. Employers also look for creativity and an understanding of the advertising and marketing industry and current trends.

Hiring managers generally ask for a four-year degree in advertising, business, marketing or a related field. A mid-level job requires one to three years of experience in marketing or advertising. If you previously worked as an account planner or coordinator, you may be able to command a higher advertising account executive salary. Experience with Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office are common job requirements. Some positions may also call for customer relationship management (CRM) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) tool knowledge, if the job description includes generating and qualifying sales leads.

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