Advertising is a fast-paced, high-profile business in which professionals need a wide variety of skills in order to develop ad campaigns that will influence consumer behavior.
Advertising agencies are typically organized into the following five major divisions:
The account management function oversees the planning and execution of all advertising campaign aspects. This group coordinates the other agency divisions as they work together to develop campaigns. Account managers also manage the firm's relationships with clients, which includes bringing in new business for the agency and ensuring that the agency meets the clients' needs.
The creative department translates business needs and strategies into creative advertisements. The creative team includes copywriters and art directors. Once ideas are approved by the client, the creative team develops and produces all ad elements.
Advertising firms need data to back up their ideas and promotional strategies. The account planning/consumer insight department specializes in understanding consumer behavior. Planners and research analysts gather data about consumer buying habits and demographics, and use that information to advise the other agency departments and clients on target advertising toward specific audiences. Planners and analysts combine both qualitative and quantitative analysis with consumer insights to help their advertising teams develop creative briefs and big ideas.
The media planning department determines where, when and how to place an ad so it effectively reaches the intended audience at the lowest cost. It is typically divided into two groups: media planners, who create programs for ads by deciding which television shows, radio time slots, websites or magazines will effectively reach the most buyers of a product; and media buyers, who negotiate with specific media outlets for the lowest cost on ad space. Media planning has become a "New Creative" in the digital era. Their job responsibilities include social media and business science analytics.
Opportunities in the interactive marketing field are exploding and most are found in the areas of design, marketing, and computer programming. Agencies need designers and programmers, as well as strategists who understand how marketers can use interactive media creatively and effectively. If you have a strong knowledge of social media and are on top of the daily changes in digital technology and its capabilities, you will be well prepared to find digital advertising jobs.