One fine day in the life of an account executive – Chatty Girija
Advertising, the word itself sounds glamorous, happening and hep. On the surface it seems so, when ads are seen splashed on various media vehicles and at the awards function nite. For the inside stuff, check it out yourself in the next few seconds. An advertising agency comprises of departments like account management, creative (art & copy), media (planning, buying, billing), films, production and others like accounts, human resources and administration which are common to other industries as well.
n this issue, we shall focus our attention on Account Management popularly known as Client Servicing. They interface with the client day-to-day and provide marketing expertise is their responsibility. Imagine if you were employed as an account executive, then what?
Pesh Hai Ek Din Account Executive KaI
n an ideal scenario, you’ll be assigned one or more clients (known as accounts) for providing communication based solutions. It’s your responsibility to understand the client’s business – the market, the brand and the competition.
You must know the client’s business inside out and how communication can help his business. It’s your job to identify the most significant conclusions from available consumer research data and guide the team (which includes media, creative and production) towards advertising strategies and executions.
Eat, drink and sleep only advertising. You need to take absolute command of all resources at the
agency to make things happen. Sorry to sound so realistic, but at times you will need to give the same amount of importance to the peons as much as to the creative team. All this might sound very frightening but that’s not so.
Let’s simplify this. The day begins meeting the client’s product manager along with your account supervisor or group head manager (your seniors) for an ad briefing. The client will communicate what his product will say, when respected seniors. The client will always ask for the moon. You have to tell him “ Get real”. Buy time when he says tomorrow.
Are you Ready for the magic?
Now sit down with a cool head and write a separate brief for creative and media specifying the requirement and objective of the ad. For this, it’s important to know your client’s business inside out without the exception of competition. Your brief is your guideline for the ad. Once its done, get the client’s approval. When the approvals are in, sit with the creative and media and brief them with agreed deadlines for release made loud and clear. (else you will be in a soup!)
Get back to the client on dates for presenting the creative layouts to them (maximum 2 options) and media plan, along with estimates of cost. Present the layouts with a justification of the concept. Do your homework on the product category and be prepared to reason out your concept. Everyone has his own view of how advertising should be done – make sure you spell your agency’s reasons and thought s properly. If you disagree with the creative at the agency end since they don’t meet your objectives, then let them not reach your clients directly without your approval. But all these precautions need to be taken within set deadlines.
After the sale – the delivery
After the creative and the media plan are approved by the client in writing, it has to be finished for release -i.e. artworks ! You must send the approved media plan and estimate to the media department and give instructions for space booking. Once the artwork is ready for release, get it approved in writing by the client and hand it over to the production department for post-production (i.e. positive making) . All you have to do now is send your ad for release as per schedule.
Most of the time as a junior Acc. Exec. you’ll be chasing artworks & release schedules. Your backside is on the line to ensure releases on the deadline. But that’s not all. Your next responsibility is to collect money from the client within the credit period. The buck and the muck stops at your cubicle. You can now pat yourself and smile a sigh of relief the moment money pours in. So that’s what happens on a normal day and night of an account executive’s life. Now doesn’t that sound glamorous.
A reason to smile
Finally, the day arrives when you eagerly wait for the newspaper to hit the stands to check your ad. This is the most proud moment for any account management person … to see their ad actually get released or aired on TV.
You need to be a management graduate (specialising in marketing/ sales or advertising) from a reputed institute, or have a few years experience in a small sized agency (tehy often take fresh graduates). MICA (Mudra Institute of Communications) and STACA (at NMIMS) cater specifically for training advertising professionals.
Man Ki Shakti….Tan Ki Shakti…
Your mental make-up should be extremely tough, patient, energetic, go-getter and unwilling to hear a no from the client or within the agency. As much as you learn your client’s business, it is equally important to win friends and influence people within the agency too. Always service with a smile. So only if you can talk your way thru a lion’s den you should venture forth int Client Servicing.
Free! Free! Free!
Invitations to media parties, branded freebies from clients and at times free subscriptions of magazines too. The party animals are here. But that shouldn’t be ‘the real thing’ for joining advertising.
Aur Karmo Ka Fal?
You’ll move from cubicles to glass cabins from an account executive to supervisor, to group head manager to account director and probably even head the agency. You may even choose to switch over to the other side of the fence i.e. the client’s organisation. Personally, it will widen your outlook towards life with infinite knowledge gained. There is no doubt that advertising pays you well for all the smart and hard work you put in. Advertising is a fast lane driven by deadlines. Go man, Go. Your baseline: Just don’t do it, but do it better!