What Does an Advertising Agent Do? (And How To Become One)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 18 October 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

An advertising agent sells and exchanges advertising space to other clients. They could work for advertising companies, the radio industry, television companies or billboard companies. As this is a varied role, it's useful for you to know what an advertising agent does if you'd like to become one. In this article, we answer the question, 'What does an advertising agent do?' and we provide important information about this career, including the typical career steps and helpful skills.

What does an advertising agent do?

If you're interested in this career, you may wonder what does an advertising agent do each day. Advertising agents sell various advertising spaces to different companies. They may work for an advertising agency that collaborates with lots of different companies, a radio channel selling advertising space or in the adverts department of a television company. Their job involves assessing the available advertising space, finding potential clients who might buy this space, contacting them and arranging to host the advert.

The duties of being an advertising agent are diverse and may change on a daily basis. Typically, they can include:

  • coming up with detailed pitches about how advertising space on a specific platform can be beneficial to a particular company

  • creating presentations regarding the pitch

  • contacting prospective clients and pitching their ideas

  • discussing what kind of advert could work for their platform

  • estimating the projected costs of adverts

  • drawing up paperwork required for an advertiser to work on an account

  • formatting any adverts that are sent over

Related: 10 Careers in Marketing (With Salaries)

What are the skills of an advertising agent?

Being an advertising agent typically requires several hard and soft skills. These skills include:

Mathematical skills

Advertising agents frequently work with numbers to produce estimated budgets. They can frequently demonstrate that they are proficient with numbers. Specific math degrees are usually optional in this field, but a strong understanding of basic calculations may be helpful.

IT skills

Advertising agents regularly use a computer to research potential clients on the internet. They may also utilise spreadsheet software to collect information and presentation software to present their pitches. Strong IT skills are useful for using the computer and sharing their findings.

Writing skills

When advertising agents curate pitches, they may wish to sound enticing and persuasive. They may use writing skills to create effective written presentations. This can help them share their ideas effectively and clearly.

Presentation skills

Advertising agents may utilise strong presentation skills to ideas pitch to clients using digital and verbal presentations. This involves being competent at both putting together and delivering a presentation. Consider practising your presentations aloud to help you develop this skill.

Communication

Advertising agents communicate with many people daily. For example, they may speak to clients and other people working on the advertising team and other departments. In some instances, they may pass messages from their client to other people in the company. Advertising agents may apply strong written and verbal communication so others can understand their ideas effectively.

You could practise your communication skills by taking on part-time work in a customer-focused role. For example, working in retail or hospitality usually requires exemplary communication skills. In these sectors, you may often speak to public members and transfer messages between customers and managers. You could also practise communication skills by taking on group projects at school or university.

Organisation

Many advertising agents have exceptional organisation skills. They frequently work with many different clients and typically employ tools to ensure that they can keep all of the information about each client separate. They may benefit from organisational practices like keeping spreadsheets and folders.

You can practise your organisation skills by becoming more organised in your day to day life. For example, you could de-clutter your computer desktop and ensure that you keep all of your folders organised, making it easy to locate specific things. You could also purchase a diary or planner to keep your appointments and commitments organised.

Creativity

While companies typically have an idea about what kind of advertising they want to do, they may call upon you to come up with some ideas when pitching. For example, you may detail an idea that you had for a radio advert or billboard poster. Therefore, it is a good idea to work on developing a creative streak when applying for advertising agent roles.

You can practise your creativity skills by pursuing hobbies that involve creativity. For example, you could start creative writing or drawing. Alternatively, you could expand your horizons by visiting art galleries or reading creative stories and thinking about how you could use different concepts to create exceptional adverts.

Related: Creative Thinking: How To Start Thinking Creatively

How to become an advertising agent

If you are thinking of becoming an advertising agent, you could follow these steps:

1. Complete secondary education

Typically, employers expect advertising agents to have secondary education. Most candidates have a good level of English and mathematics and high school qualifications in a range of other subjects. You may not necessarily have marketing-specific qualifications at this level.

2. Think about getting a bachelor's degree

It could be possible to become an advertising agent without a degree, but you may find that you are more attractive to employers if you do acquire one. Highly relevant subjects include advertising, marketing and business. Many advertising firms hire professionals with other degrees, including creative subjects, humanities and science.

3. Acquire other qualifications

Whether you go to university or not, you may want to consider acquiring further qualifications. A range of qualifications are available on TAFE, including different level certificates and diplomas in marketing and communication. You may decide to complete one of these courses instead of a degree or do a course especially for graduates post-degree.

4. Gain vocational experience

With a degree or other qualifications, you could start searching for jobs. You could initially apply for entry-level administrative roles to learn the trade. These are available in most advertising firms, radio and TV companies and in other industries.

5. Consider a master's degree

For the most competitive jobs, you may benefit from a master's degree. This could help you to learn more about advertising and can demonstrate your competence to prospective employers. You could either undertake a master's degree straight after your bachelor's or complete it a few years later after obtaining vocational experience.

6. Apply for advertising agent jobs

With tertiary education or vocational experience, you may be eligible to apply for advertising agent positions. Most candidates begin in junior roles initially, eventually progressing to more senior positions as they gain more years of experience. Candidates may move across agencies to secure promotions.

Related: Preparing for an Interview: How to Do it and Why it Matters

Advertising agent salary

An advertising agent earns an average of $67,000 per year. This is the average of junior and senior roles, so those in entry-level positions could earn lower while senior advertising agents may earn substantially higher. Other factors to take into account are the specific employer and location. Some advertising agents may also earn a commission on successful sales, which may be in addition to their base salary and could boost it substantially.

FAQs about becoming an advertising agent

Here are popular FAQs about becoming an advertising agent:

Where do advertising agents work?

Advertising agents typically work in the office of their advertisement company. This could be an agency or a radio or television studio. Their job may involve travelling to meet clients, so they may also do some work in clients' offices.

How does an advertising agent pitch?

Advertising agents begin pitching by gathering information about the company that they would like to represent. They may do some research into the audience demographics of the company so they can suggest why advertising on their platform may be suitable. They then typically put together a media pack and send it over to the client.

If the client would like to know more, they may arrange a meeting with the advertising agent. The advertising agent may then prepare a presentation for the meeting, which delves into the topic in further detail. During this meeting, both parties can discuss ideas for advertising, aiming to eventually reach a deal.

What are the working hours of an advertising agent?

Advertising agents typically work Monday to Friday in the daytime. If they have deadlines or a client wishes to schedule a meeting at another time, they may work during the evening or at the weekend as well. During particularly busy times of the year, they may also work overtime.

What are the career progression opportunities for an advertising agent?

Advertising agents typically begin in junior roles and progress to having more responsibility as they gain more years of experience. Senior advertising agents may be in charge of a small team and have the final say in important matters. Some advertising agents may decide to begin their own advertisement company once they have gained substantial experience and a network of contacts.

Salary figures reflect data listed on the quoted websites at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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