No matter what your background or major, there is an interesting career for you inside an advertsing or marketing agency. Especially if you like solving problems and figuring out better ways to do things. Read the role descriptions below and you'll see what we mean.
Creatives are responsible for generating ideas and then turning those ideas into advertising campaigns for television, print and outdoor like billboards and posters. Traditional creatives consist mainly of copy writers and art directors. That means writing the ads and then making them visually effective. But with the web and mobile becoming more prevalent as a way to advertise, other creative roles are taking the spotlight. So, if you're into the craft of writing, coming up with ideas for a better mousetrap, designing websites, figuring out how an iPhone app should work or creating broadband video for YouTube, Creative is something to look into.
Strategy is a diverse group. Researchers combine social science and marketing methods to figure out consumer and market trends. Planners use this research to identify the characteristics of target audiences and what messages would be most appealing to those audiences in addition to preparing briefs for creatives to generate ideas. And Analysts use data from audience interactions with ads (especially on the web or on mobile) to report effectiveness as well as determine statistical differences among audiences. Being part of the Strategy team is best for those who are interested in popular culture or have a background in something like psychology or geek out putting a tangible framework around an esoteric subject.
Account Management serves as a liaison between the agency and the client. People who go into account management love the business side of advertising and knowing the ins and outs of how the client's business works and how it might be improved. Account people usually deal with all of agency's departments so multi-tasking and being "buttoned up" is required. It's the norm to be constantly meeting with or talking to the client - figuring out ways to make the relationship better and more profitable. This usually means an expense account and the latest cellphone paid for by the agency. Are you entrepeneurial, out-going, people-oriented and a real go-getter? Being in Account Management would be your dream job.
The most common role in the media department is the media planner. They're there to find the media channels (web, mobile, television, magazines, etc) that a client's target audiences tend to use. Using the client's media budget, the media planner then recommends the best possible use of appropriate media channels and creates plans to buy space on those channels for placing ads. Once ads are in "rotation", the media planner works with a media analyst and a trafficker to make sure that the client's goals are being met and, if not, what changes to make to the media plan. If you're into keeping up with the latest in what people are watching, reading or going online for and you have a good head for numbers, media may be your niche.
Once creative ideas have been fleshed out, it is Production's job to make sure that it comes to life, is actually put into the market and that the whole process went smoothly and on time. When it comes to actually building a web site or working with a printer to produce 50 billboards or finding camera operators to shoot a commercial or cleaning up the layout for a magazine ad or just buying stock images from a photographer, it's all up to people in production.
Sometimes called the ‘backbone’ of the agency, an agency's operations group usually consists of Human Resources, Finance, Information Technology and Office Services. Not everyone in an agency works directly with the clients. These teams are intregal in making sure the agency runs like a well-oiled machine, the bills are paid, the lights stay on and people get hired, get paid on time and are generally all-around happy folks.