What is an Advertising Account Executive?

Advertising Account ExecutiveIt is a job frequently glamorized in movies and television, but what exactly is an advertising account executive? Simply put, an advertising account executive is someone who works for an advertising agency, acting as a liaison between the firm and its clients. The job itself is far from simple, however, and to be successful requires creativity as well as the ability to work as part of a team and meet deadlines. Excellent people skills are also required.


The duties of an advertising account executive are varied and begin with finding new clients. Once the client is obtained the account executive returns to her office and meets with coworkers, collaborating with them to generate ideas for an advertising campaign that meets both the needs and budget of the client. The executive then presents these ideas to the client, making any necessary changes or edits. This is a demanding process, requiring the account executive to be in constant communication with both the client and coworkers to keep the project on track. Negotiation with outside vendors, such as local television and radio stations, may also be required to successfully build and execute an advertising plan. Once the campaign has been approved and launched, the account executive is responsible for tracking its success and reporting that information to the client.


While some advertising agencies require only a high school diploma, most look for account executives with a bachelor’s degree. According to the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Service career prospects website, preferred degrees include advertising, marketing, communications, English and business management. Courses in marketing, advertising, market research, communication and customer behavior are all helpful in this field and may help a job applicant get hired even if he has not completed his college degree. Proven real world skills are often as desired as a degree. Those desiring a career as an advertising account executive should obtain as much job experience as possible in sales, advertising, public relations and promotions. Even a job selling advertisement space in the high school newspaper or summer internship can help would-be account executives.

Related Resource: Market Research Analyst

Earning Potential

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics advertising agents overview, in May of 2012 the average annual income of an advertising account executive was $46,290 per year. This figure was well above the national average for all careers, which was $34, 750. It is of note that the salaries of account executives can vary greatly as many receive bonuses and commissions. As a result, in May of 2012 the highest paid 10 percent of advertising executives earned over $103,170 a year, which is more than the twice average at the time. This income level requires dedication, however, as many worked weekends, holidays and overtime to achieve this salary.

Advertising account executives work in a field that is both demanding and rewarding. It is an excellent choice for those who enjoy working in a fast-paced environment and extroverts who enjoy working with diverse groups of people. Salesman, negotiator, creator, organizer, and project manager are all valid answers to the question “what is an advertising account executive?”