Advertising agencies have a number of key departments that service their clients. Some work on acquiring and maintaining clients, while others write and develop the promotional materials and advertisements. Some departments also manage various support functions in advertising firms, such as keeping track of bills, payments and office expenses. Whatever department you work for in an advertising agency, expect to collaborate with other fellow employees in a team environment.
An advertising agency's functions are sequential in nature. They start by acquiring clients and end with a finished product, such as the creation and placement of a magazine ad. The department responsible for initially contacting and building a client base is the account management team. You need sales experience to work in account management. Your primary responsibilities include contacting business managers or existing clients and securing paid assignments. These assignments can include any number of advertising projects that your particular advertising agency handles. You also maintain regular communication with your clients to ensure they get what they paid for in a timely manner.
Clients need to know if their advertisements are reaching the right consumers, and the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns. They rely on the ad agencies' market researchers to obtain feedback from consumers about ads and promotions. In the market research department, you write questionnaires and conduct surveys via the phone, Internet or by email to get consumer feedback. Important client information may include the number of people who saw an ad, and those who made a purchase after seeing it. You may also develop customer profiles for clients. These profiles may include the ages, incomes and education levels of people who made purchases after seeing the ad.
The creative department actually writes the ad copy and develops artwork for their advertising agency's clients. You may work as a copywriter in the creative department, for example, writing jingles for radio ads or written copy for sales letters and brochures. Copywriters must write convincing copy to prompt consumers to buy products. Additionally, as a graphic designer, you may create colorful images and designs for websites or corporate logos. Film and video professionals may also be an area of interest for you in the creative department of your advertising agency.
Client advertisements must be scheduled to run at various intervals. For example, a client's radio ad may run three times daily for a month. The media planning department schedules ads. In this field, you need exceptional organizational skills to keep track of multitudes of ad schedules. Some of your ads may be placed directly through media sources. You may also have a media buyer who purchases ads for you through multiple media channels. An important part of your job as a media planner is tracking all profitable and unprofitable ads. This is so you can make changes to the schedule as needed. You may need to drop some media sources and add new ones. Your goal is producing maximum revenue returns from your clients' advertising expenditures.
Advertising agencies can actually have multiple departments dealing with administration. You may work as a secretary or front desk receptionist in administration. If you have accounting experience, you could work in accounts payable, accounts receivable or payroll. The accounts payable department keeps track of money the advertising agency owes. An example would be outside vendors like office cleaners. Accounts receivable sends out bills to clients and collects payments. If you work in payroll, you ensure that your fellow coworkers get paid on time.
- KnowThis.com: Advertising Agency Functions
- Management Study Guide: Advertising Agencies - Meaning, its Role and Types of Agencies
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers
- Advertising Educational Foundation: Advertising Career Possibilities
- QuickMBA: Marketing Research
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