What roles are available?
Their role is to convey a message using images, type, illustrations and photography. Designers work in print or digital to produce an effective advertisement. Art and design at HND or degree-level is usually required.
They often work alongside an art director in a large advertising agency. Copywriteres work on client briefs to develop and produce advertising campaigns. An ability to write succinct and accurate copy is key.
Acting as a link between clients and the agency, account managers provide briefs on behalf of the client. They coordinate the advertising campaigns, so need excellent communication skills. Often handling multiple accounts, they need to be highly organised and business-minded.
The larger London agencies employ strategic planners. Their role is to analyse customer behaviour in order to best target the advertising message. They work on both qualitative and quantitative research to produce innovative ideas.
Their role is to look at media behaviour to see which media channels will attract the best audience and yield the most profit. Being reasonably numerate is useful.
They will prepare the outline with the creative team for the launch of a campaign or message. Their main tasks include creating content for videos, competitions and infographics.
Working closely with the designers, their role is to research trends and share their insights to support and guide the creative team. A social scienc background could be useful in this position.
This increasingly important role is to analyse 'big data' to be used by the planning and research departments to inform customer behaviour. Many IPA companies seek computer scientists and maths graduates, or those with high levels of numeracy.
Trends in advertising
Advertising has been transformed by technology.
Over 50% of advertising is now online, working with web and mobile, and, increasingly, virtual reality and artificial intelligence.
The industry is increasingly moving towards data analysis to create better advertising, leading to more opportunties for those with computer science and maths backgrounds, as well as social scientists who can link this data to human behaviour.
Starting salaries can be around £18,000 in London, but salaries can shoot up quickly depending on the job role.
For example, an account manager could be earning £45,000 after three years, but then plateau at around 40 years of age.
Salaries outside of the big London agencies may be considerably less.
What are the entry routes into the sector?
Many entrants to advertising are graduates, from a wide range of disciplines.
While there are numerous postgraduate degrees in advertising and marketing, these are not essential. Relevant work experience is often preferred.
However, for copywriting, West Herts College of Higher Education offer postgraduate courses which are noted by the IPA. Falmouth School of Art and Design offer a postgraduate course in creative advertising which is likewise mentioned by some larger agencies when seeking creative talent.
Regardless of your degree background, advertising agencies will be seeking creative thinkers and those with passion for this industry. Relevant work experience is highly desirable. For account management and media buying, customer service experience will enhance commercial awareness.