Everyone knows what advertising is, whether it is on TV, radio, in a magazine, on a website, on transport or a poster. Most of the work behind these adverts is performed by advertising agencies. These will employ a mix of people –who?
Often an advertising agency is made up of the following departments: Account, Strategy, Media, Creative, Interactive, Production and Administrative.
Account Department - Account Managers (or business development managers) are the client's day-to-day liaison. They work with the agency's clients to write briefs that detail the advertising that's needed, work with the creative department to develop campaigns, and work with the other departments to get the campaign produced, shipped and paid for.
Account Managers are people-oriented and enjoy splitting their time between the client and the agency. They enjoy solving business challenges and building relationships. The best Account Managers have a thorough understanding of business and advertising. These roles require strong people skills, good sales skills, negotiation skills, listening and organising skills, plus the ability to learn quickly and to be able to translate ideas between client and creative teams, effortlessly.
Strategy Department - Strategists, or Account Planners as they are also known, research the facts needed for creating advertising, and strategize the best messages and methods to use to reach their target audience. Strategists are generally people who enjoy research and understand how to turn data into an actionable plan for advertising. Strategists spend the majority of their time working alone and with other agency personnel.
Media Department - The media department plans, coordinates and purchases media space to run advertising that the agency has created. Media Planners and Buyers have a deep knowledge of magazines, newspapers, TV shows, cable channels and Internet sites, and understand the audience for each of these mediums. Media Planners spend less time with clients and more time with agency personnel.
Creative Department - Creatives include Copywriters, Art Directors and Production Artists. They are the people responsible for writing and designing advertising campaigns. The best Creatives can continually think of fresh approaches to advertise a product or service and are equally adept at selling their ideas to clients. Creatives spend less time with clients, but the time they do spend with them is crucial to the agency’s sales process.
Interactive Department - The Interactive Department designs and creates all of the digital components of an advertising campaign, including websites, banner ads and interactive applications. People who work in Interactive are knowledgeable about the latest developments in digital technology and how they are being used in advertising. Training is specific to each medium, and as a result of new digital developments, an Interactive Designers education is always ongoing. Interactive Designers tend to spend the majority of their time working in an interactive studio environment.
Production Department - Production includes all the people who help get a job routed internally, proofread, checked, printed, duplicated, and distributed. People who work in production are very detail oriented, thrive on juggling a number of projects at once and understand the importance of meeting production deadlines. Production people spend the majority of their time working with other agency personnel and with outside vendors, and have a minimum of client face time.
Administrative Department - Handles all of the internal business of an advertising agency, like finances and human resources. Administrative jobs within an advertising agency are similar in scope to the same jobs in other industries, but have the added challenge of needing to understand and service clients and the distinctly different groups of agency personnel.