What Is the Role of Account Management in Advertising?

Alex Newth
Alex Newth
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Account management in advertising is not the same as account management in other companies, because other companies rely on account managers to oversee sales, while the advertising business relies on these workers to help the client. These workers are tasked with some of the hardest advertising jobs, such as telling clients that things did not go as planned, or telling the ad agency that the client hates the new advertising campaign. Account management in advertising also involves researching the client’s market and competition to determine the best advertising methods. This team of workers also must help the client understand creative work, so he or she can better judge the work of the advertising team.

One of the first roles encountered by account management in advertising is receiving the brief. A brief is the client’s needs and requirements, such as business card designs, fliers, TV commercials and other advertising methods. The account manager will visit the client, look at the brief and explain what the advertising company can do to accommodate the requirements. He or she also may have to quote an estimate for the client, so the client will be satisfied economically.

Along with accepting the brief, account management in advertising serves as a bridge between client and company, especially with worst-case scenarios. If a deadline cannot be met, whether because of poor planning or complications, the account manager will have to explain this to the client while trying to keep the client as a paying customer. In a reverse scenario, if the client dislikes all the proposed advertising designs, the account manager will need to relay the bad news to the ad agency's creative team.

Many new businesses are not sure what they want in a design, in which case the account manager may be responsible for educating the customer in this field. The account manager will show the client current designs and creative standards so the client can make an educated assessment of the advertising agency’s designs. This also serves to help convert the client into a paying customer in the future.

Account management in advertising also involves performing research to enable the advertising company to do the best it can for the client. The account manager must research the client’s field, the client's competition and what type of advertising works best for that industry. This will help the advertising agency succeed in making an effective design, and will make the client happier about the purchase.

Discussion Comments


Some companies even require their account managers to go out and collect payment from clients. This is a mistake, in my opinion.

The advertising account managers are supposed to be there to make the client happy, not serve as bill collectors. It wasn't always this way at the company where I work, but recently, the boss decided to add this to their list of duties.

Since account managers are supposed to visit the clients to help them develop their campaigns and to collect payment on past debt, the clients never know which reason they are popping in for. Many of them have been spotted slipping out the back door of their buildings when account managers arrive, because they think they are coming to pester them about the bill.


Graphic designers can easily become frustrated with advertising account managers. I am a designer at an ad agency, and I work with two other designers who tend to take it personally when a client doesn't like their ideas.

I realize that it isn't the fault of the account manager, however. She is only relaying the message.

The other designers seem to think she is at fault for not telling us what the client wanted in more detail. I think that they are just looking for someone to blame, though.

Since we get paid regardless of whether a client likes our work, I have no problem with having to redesign things. I'm always nice to the account manager, because I realize that she is in a precarious position, and she always tells us delicately and with kind words when we will be needing to revise an ad.


@OeKc05 – The advertising account manager salary is what motivated my cousin to apply for this job. She currently makes about $50,000, and she will be eligible for a raise every year.

She had a degree in marketing, so she knew what was expected of her. She has found that as long as she communicates very clearly with the client about what he wants and what the agency can provide him, things go well.

Sure, there is always that occasional rude customer who doesn't seem happy with anything. However, most of them are cordial and polite, even when they don't like the designs and need the team to try again.


I have great respect for account managers in advertising. I would never have the stomach for all they have to endure, yet they can keep a pleasant demeanor while putting up with harsh criticism from clients.

My friend is an advertising account manager for a local ad agency, and she never ceases to amaze me. She tells me the horror stories of clients who are impossible to please, and I am shocked by how hard she works to get them what they want, especially when they don't even know what that is.

I'm not sure how much money she makes, but she seems to be pretty well paid. She drives a nice car and eats out often, and that makes me think her salary is what keeps her going at such a demanding job.

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