A Day in the Life of An Advertising Graduate

Just what does an advertiser do on a quotidian basis? The industry needs you to demonstrate nous and initiative from day one and the quick pace means you'll need to take giant strides from day one. 

A lot of companies have chosen to downsize, and maybe that was the right thing for them. We chose a different path. Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets - Steve Jobs

Putting the role into context

Firstly, it is important to note that advertisers are not generally the masterminds of the creative process - that responsibility falls to art directors and content writers. It will be the advertiser's role to coordinate the creatives with the other moving parts of the process and to meet the needs of the business. It is a business-focused role.

What an advertiser does do is maintain the client relationships - known as account management. The advertiser finds out the client's needs (or business needs if they are in-house advertisers) and communicates this back to their colleagues.

The advertiser will also work with account planners to create the campaign structure and budget which they will present back to the client in due course. Once everything is agreed, the advertiser will go to their creative team and brief them.

Your day to day tasks

Tasks the advertiser may have to do at the start of the campaign involve deciding when and where to place advertisements, and consequently they will be working with media buyers to work out the costings of each option.

Throughout the whole project the marketer will be checking that the schedule and budgets are being kept to, that the planners, researchers and creatives are all doing their jobs correctly, and be making sure the client is happy with the proceedings. It will be the advertiser's responsibility to decide if new market research is needed, or if the strategy should be adapted.

Advertisers will also look at the campaign insights and sales figures to judge the success of the campaign at its end and report these findings to the clients.

Winning new business

The last string to their bow will be the role of winning new business for the agency. This does not apply to every advertising role but can be a critical element to the agency's success.

And once you've mastered all that... where can a role in advertising take you?

In keeping with the industry's flexible nature, career paths are variable. If working in-house, graduates will usually perform one aspect of the campaign, e.g. media buying or lead generation. 

If working in an agency, especially one with few staff, a graduate will be doing a bit of everything, depending where they're needed most. 

In principle however, the first step is generally to be an Account Executive before moving on to Account Manager. Successful Account Managers progress to Category Managers or similar, and work with larger and larger accounts as their experience increases.

Salary for graduates can start at around the £18,000 mark depending on experience. From there, the sky is the limit as Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) can make 7 figures if working for FTSE100 companies.

Want to know more?

For more specialised industry knowledge, we recommend you take a peek at one of these insightful tomes: 

  • Truth, Lies & Advertising - A must read for advertising planners.
  • Excellence in Advertising - An overview of different roles within the industry.
  • Hey Whipple, Squeeze This! - A look at how to get into the industry and be a creative.

Next: Top Five Skills You Need to Succeed in Advertising