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Working in account management, you act as the conduit between the agency and its client
As an account executive (aka client service executive), you'll work within an advertising or multi-service agency and act as the link between the agency and its clients. You'll be responsible for the coordination of advertising and multi-channel marketing campaigns. As such, you’ll be required to communicate clearly to all those involved.
You will need to understand the goals and strategies of your clients, which you'll learn through liaising closely with them throughout each project - often on a daily basis. You'll also need to manage administrative and general campaign work to ensure that your projects are completed on time and on budget.
You will need to have the following skills to be successful in account management:
excellent communication and interpersonal skills
a proactive attitude and an ability to use initiative
excellent organisational skills
the ability to work under pressure and assimilate large quantities of information quickly, while maintaining attention to detail
drive and flexibility
a willingness to learn
effective team working skills
influencing and negotiation skills
a passion for healthcare advertising and an understanding of what makes an effective communication campaign
resilience, to enable you to deal with problems and constructive criticism
IT literacy and an awareness of how the industry is developing in light of new communication technologies
You will not have to display all skills on day one, however you should use the above as a guide in thinking about what skills and experience to highlight in a job application.
As an advertising account executive, you'll need to:
meet and liaise with clients to discuss and identify their advertising requirements
work with agency colleagues to devise an advertising/communication campaign that meets the client's brief and budget
present (alongside agency colleagues) the subsequent campaign ideas and proposed budget to the client
work with internal agency teams to brief media, creative and research staff and assist with the formulation of marketing strategies
liaise with, and act as the link between, the client and the agency, maintaining regular, efficient contact with all involved
manage budgets and invoice clients
write client reports
monitor the effectiveness of campaigns
undertake administrative tasks
arrange and attend meetings
identify new business opportunities for the agency
Typical starting salaries for account management executives range from AUD$45,000 to $55,000. As you progress, you can expect to earn AUD$60,000 to $75,000 as an experienced account manager, AUD$75,000 to $90,000 as a senior account manager and up to $110,000 as an account director.
As a senior account management professional with broader team and agency management responsibilities, you can earn up to AUD$125,000 as a senior account director and between AUD$125,000 to AUD$165,000+ as a group account director or client service director.
You should note that salaries at all levels of account management vary based on the size and location of the agency.
Note, this salary information is intended as a guide only.
Patterns of work
Your typical week will run from 9 am to 6 pm Monday to Friday. You may be asked to work longer hours, however, to meet client deadlines.
Although paid overtime is generally not a feature of the industry, some agencies may offer you time off in lieu. Career breaks and part time work aren't common, however short-term contracting and freelance opportunities are possible as an experienced account management professional.
What to expect
You will likely handle multiple accounts for multiple clients. As such, being able to prioritise your work is critical. Although you'll generally be office-based, you can expect to be out and about visiting clients. Your working environment will generally be informal, although smart dress is often the norm. You may socialise with clients, especially as you progress in your career to more senior positions.
If you’re just starting out your career, account management opportunities do exist for graduates. A life science or communication degree is highly desirable; but a keen interest in health, science, medical disciplines is critical.
As you progress to more senior roles, your experience throughout your career will become the most important factor in helping you step into a new role.
The training you receive will depend on the agency you work for. Regardless, the majority of training you will receive is done on the job. Some larger agencies may have structured training schemes in place. You may be encouraged to study towards a qualification and your employer may offer financial support, provide study leave, or both.
You will gain an understanding of the relevant codes of conduct and regulatory environments within which you will operate.
In health communications, your clients will be a mix of pharmaceutical and medical device companies, not-for-profits and non-government organisations, and allied industry bodies. Regardless of the client, the communication and advertising campaigns you will work on are motivated by a passion to improve health outcomes for patients and communities.