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What does an Advertising Account Manager do?

By T. Carrier
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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An advertising account manager oversees all details of an account within an advertising agency or department. Account managers usually work directly with clients to ensure that all account standards are fulfilled and that the clients receives the advertising that they have paid for. Requiring financial, interpersonal, administrative, business, and creative skills, the duties of advertising account managers are as broad and diverse as the ads their agencies create.

Financial responsibilities of advertising account managers include meeting sales goals for the account, achieving account goals, and utilizing network leads to help create revenue. A deep understanding of both client and agency goals and limitations must be gained through vigilant research. Account managers also maintain the client’s budget.

Leadership capabilities and business acumen are another must for the account manager, as management of a team of executives is a vital part of the job description. Advertising account managers must also flex their creative muscle by pitching account propositions to prospective clients. The account manager serves as a conduit between clients and an agency’s creative team. He or she must address concerns for all involved parties while selling the agency’s strengths.

Advertising account manager jobs demand interaction with a wide range of individuals: clients, account executives, and network contacts. Colleagues in creative, financial, and sales departments will serve as frequent team members. Creation and maintenance of professional relationships is one of the most important skill sets an advertising account manager must acquire. Add in administrative and computer skills, and an advertising account manager job description is a true exercise in multitasking.

Advertising account managers usually work in advertising agencies or marketing firms, but a large organization may have a marketing department where employment can be obtained. The size of the employer often determines the extent of advertising account manager duties. In smaller firms, one individual may be responsible for all aspects of an account, ranging from creative development to financial planning and account management. Larger firms can divide these responsibilities among various departments. Frequent travel, long hours, and repeated stress are factors that typically coincide with the occupation, regardless of the employer.

The position of advertising account manager is a promotional step achieved after one has worked as an advertising account executive. A bachelor’s degree in advertising, marketing, or business administration will often help one gain an entry level opportunity in the advertising field. Internships and research projects also help demonstrate a potential employee’s applicable skills.

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Discussion Comments

By kylee07drg — On Aug 17, 2011

As a newly promoted advertising account manager, I had a lot to learn. Though I already possessed computer skills and people skills, I had to commit to memory specific details about each of my clients.

Before I could be allowed to have contact with any of them, I had to study and pass a test with questions about each of my future client’s budget ranges, personality quirks, and preferences. I think this would have been easier had I met them in person first, but it’s the way the company trains their employees.

Once I passed the exam, I had to go out and greet each of my clients. I introduced myself and told them I had already learned their budget ranges and likes and dislikes, which I had to state. For this, I kept a cheat sheet in my car to avoid embarrassment, though the company did not know it.

By wavy58 — On Aug 17, 2011

The average advertising account manager salary is very lucrative. I found this out through my three coworkers who hold this position.

They each have a generous base salary starting around $25,000. On top of this, they earn 10% commission on every ad they sell. Really, they have unlimited earning potential.

They also have lots of responsibilities that I would never want to have. My salary may be substantially lower than theirs, but so is my stress level. They have to deal with angry customers and difficult clients who seem impossible to satisfy.

They shoulder the blame for any mistakes that occur. Even if the error was the fault of the printer or the designer, the client blames the only person they talk to, which is the advertising account manager.

By shell4life — On Aug 17, 2011

@Perdido - My company had the same policy. Even if it meant stalking the clients, I had to collect the money. It ultimately led to my resignation.

Though I loved some aspects of my job, it was very hard to maintain friendly, positive relationships with my clients while hunting them down and demanding money. True, they did owe it to me, but I can’t tell you how awful it feels to pull up in a client’s driveway and see the manager sneaking out the side door to escape.

The ones who avoided paying their bills would not answer any of my calls or emails, so I could not sell them any more ads. I feel like if someone else had taken that responsibility, I could have done the rest of my duties better, but I will never know.

By Perdido — On Aug 16, 2011

I was an advertising account manager for a small ad agency for many years. I had plenty of duties to keep me busy.

First, I had to come up with a solution that fit my client’s budget. Once we had completed their design to their liking, I had to get payment from them.

I had to meet with clients and discuss their needs. Then, I had to meet with a graphic designer at our agency and relay those needs to him. He would come up with a design, and I had to take it to the client, who would tell me whether or not it was what they needed.

Often, we would go back and forth several times before getting the design perfected. Once they were happy with it, I was responsible for making sure they paid us. To motivate me to collect the payment, my company had a policy set up to where I did not get paid until they got paid.

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