To get experience in this line of work, try developing your own ad campaign. Take a product you enjoy, for example, a brand of soda you drink, and organize a written ad campaign around it. Consider the type of customers that you should target and what wording and images would work best to attract this audience.
You can also explore this career by developing your managerial skills in general. Whether you're involved in drama, sports, school publications, or a part-time job, there are managerial duties associated with any organized activity. These can involve planning, scheduling, managing other workers or volunteers, fund-raising, or budgeting.
Talk with advertising managers about their careers. Ask them how they broke into the field, what they like and dislike about the job, and other questions that will help you obtain a better understanding of these careers. Your school's career services office can help you set up an informational interview with interested advertising managers.
Advertising managers formulate policies and administer the advertising firm's operations. Managers may oversee the operations of an entire company, a geographical territory of a company's operations, or a specific department. Managers direct a company's or a department's daily activities within the context of the organization's overall plan. They implement organizational policies and goals. This may involve developing sales or promotional materials, analyzing the department's budgetary requirements, and hiring, training, and supervising staff. Advertising managers are often responsible for long-range planning for their company or department. This involves setting goals for the organization and developing a workable plan for meeting those goals.
Advertising managers work to coordinate their department's activities with other departments. If the firm is privately owned, the owner may be the manager. In a large corporation, however, there will be a management structure above the advertising and marketing manager.
In companies that have several different locations, advertising managers may be assigned to oversee specific geographic areas. For example, a large ad firm with facilities all across the nation is likely to have a number of managers in charge of various territories. There might be a Midwest manager, a Southwest manager, a Southeast manager, a Northeast manager, and a Northwest manager. These managers are often called regional or area managers. Some advertising firms break their management territories up into even smaller sections, such as a single state or a part of a state. Managers overseeing these smaller segments are often called district managers and typically report directly to an area or regional manager.
Advertising managers are responsible for coordinating the work of many other employees. Creative directors oversee staff such as the copy chief and art director, who are responsible for the contents of ads. Media directors oversee the work of staff who purchase advertising time or space in various media, such as television, radio, the Internet, or magazines. Another type of advertising manager is the account manager, who represents the agency to its clients.
Managers working at large advertising agencies usually handle a variety of accounts, while those working at smaller agencies usually only handle certain types of clients. For example, smaller firms may handle only financial accounts, hotels, book publishers, or industrial clients. Some managers work for agencies that are known for promoting package goods. Others work in retail and department store promotion.