Advertising and Promotions Managers Overview

Jobs for advertising and promotions managers are highly coveted and therefore competition will be fierce. The best opportunities will go to college graduates with strong communication and computer skills, creativity and related experience. While long hours, including weekends and evenings, are common along with substantial travel, so are high earnings. Advertising and promotions managers are also often prime candidates for advancement to top ranks due to the high visibility and importance of their jobs.

Nature of the Work for Advertising and Promotions Managers

Advertising and promotions managers coordinate advertising, promotions, sales, marketing strategy, market research, pricing, public relations and product development. For small companies, those duties may fall on the chief executive officer or owner, but large companies that offer many products and services on a national or global scale an executive vice president generally directs advertising, marketing, promotions and public relations efforts.

Advertising managers lead a firm or group’s advertising and promotional campaign. They work for advertising agencies that prepare campaigns for clients, companies that advertise heavily and media firms that sell ads. Advertising and promotions managers work with sales staff and others to create the campaign from generating ideas and developing plans to nailing down a budget with the finance department. Typically, these advertising and promotions managers are the liaison between the agency that develops and places ads and the firm in need of advertising. Larger firms that have extensive advertising departments may assign in-house accounts and creative and media service departments to different advertising and promotions managers. The account executive is responsible for managing the account services departments and assessing advertising requirements. In advertising agencies these workers maintain client accounts while the creative services department develops the presentation of advertising. The creative director is in charge of managing the art director, copy chief and associated staff. The media director oversees planning groups that choose the communication medium for the advertising such as radio, television, the Web, outdoor signage, magazines or newspapers.

Promotions managers direct programs to increase sales that combine purchasing incentives with advertising. In other words, discounts, rebates, coupons, contents or gifts may be announced or offered through newspaper inserts, product endorsements, special events, direct mail, in-store displays or web advertisements.

The work of advertising and promotions managers typically occurs in an office environment. Because the industry is deadline and goal oriented, as problems and schedule conflicts occur, stress and working under pressure is common.

To consult with other industry professionals and customers, substantial travel may be needed. For example, sales managers often travel to meet with dealers and distributors. Public relations managers may have meetings with government officials or special interest groups. Advertising and promotions managers may need to meet representatives or communications media or clients face to face. Sales managers in particular often get transferred between regional offices and corporate headquarters.

Over 80 percent of advertising and promotions managers at least a 40-hour work week in 2008—evening and weekend hours are typically part of the job.

Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement for Advertising and Promotions Managers

While most employers seek college graduates with related experience, a wide range of educational backgrounds can lead to advertising and promotions managers jobs.

Advertising and promotions managers usually possess a bachelor’s degree or masters degree in business administration with a marketing emphasis. Students should take statistics, accounting, math, finance, economics, management and business law. A college internship is also advantageous. For those looking to work in electronics manufacturing or other technical industries, employers prefer a bachelor’s degree in science or engineering with a masters degree in business administration.

Advertising and promotions managers often have a bachelor’s degree in journalism or a bachelor’s degree in advertising and have taken courses in market research, marketing, consumer behavior, sales, photography, art history, visual arts and communication methods and technology.

Most advertising and promotions managers start out in entry-level positions and work their way up to management roles. For example, many buyers and sales representatives often go on to become advertising and promotions managers. Job promotions can happen quickly in large companies and often take more time in small firms.

As more marketing, advertising and promotions are done through the web, Internet skills are a plus as are computer skill in data management and recordkeeping. Foreign language skills can open up doors to opportunities, especially in parts of the country with large Spanish-speaking populations.

Advertising and promotions managers should be decisive, flexible, creative, highly motivate, mature and fairly resistant to stress. Communication skills—both oral and written—are important for conveying messages to the public as well as managers and staff. Good judgment or tact and people skills are important in this supervisory and professional role.

In a competitive job market, certification can be important for advertising and promotions managers. Currently, only a small number are certified, but many expect that group to grow. Many management certification programs are available—they’re based on job performance and education.

Typically, advertising and promotions managers are promoted according to ability, experience and leadership, but to advance more quickly some participate in management training programs at larger firms. Companies often provide continuing education opportunities to employees at local colleges and universities or in-house and encourage participation in professional societies’ conferences and seminars. Many marketing associations sponsor management training programs on local or national levels with colleges and universities and commonly, firms will cover all or a percentage of the cost. Courses cover marketing communication, interactive marketing, international marketing, sales management evaluation, telemarketing and direct sales, product promotion, brand and product management, data-processing systems and organizational communication.

Because advertising and promotions managers’ jobs are important and highly visible, they’re often first in line for advancements to top ranking positions. Successful, experienced, well-trained managers often nap high positions at their company or another company and may even score top executive posts. Those with extensive experience and sufficient capital sometimes start their own businesses.

Employment and Job Outlook for Advertising and Promotions Managers

In 2008, 44,600 advertising and promotions managers were working. Jobs were spread through a variety of industries, but about 27 percent of advertising and promotions managers worked in wholesale trade and the technical, scientific and professional services industries.

Because these managerial positions are highly coveted, competition will be tough. And, from 2008 to 2018, the field is expected to experience little to no job growth. However, the competition for more and more goods and services in foreign and domestic markets means manufacturers need to make theirs stand out in the crowd and they’ll look to advertising and promotions managers. As advertising changes shape in radio, newspapers and network television, these managers must meet the challenge of finding new ways to advertise and promote products to customers.

Recently, the decline in newspaper and magazine publishers and advertising agencies—the top industries that employee these professionals–caused a significant cut in the number of advertising and promotions managers. Luckily, similar declines are not expected in the future. Most media counts advertising as its primary source of revenue so often, advertising departments aren’t greatly affected in a downturn. Both a jump in the amount of digital media advertising on the Web and wireless devices and the growing number of television and radio stations should produce a demand for new advertising and promotions managers to oversee these advertising programs. Self-employed advertising and promotions managers will take on many of these innovative projects.

The majority of job openings for advertising and promotions managers will come from those who retire or leave the occupation. Highly experienced professionals and managers from other fields often seek these coveted advertising and promotions managers positions. The best opportunities will go to college graduates with related experience who are highly creative, strong communicators and at ease on the computer. Any skills or experience in new media, especially the Web, will help prospective advertising and promotions managers stand out to employers.

Earnings and Salary for Advertising and Promotions Managers

The median annual salary for advertising and promotions managers throughout all industries is $80,220. However, those in the advertising, public relations and related services industries were $105,960.

Each employee’s education, length of service and level of responsibility as a manger impacted wages substantially along with the company’s size, location and industry in which it operates. Manufacturing firms for example often pay higher wages to advertising and promotions managers than nonmanufacturing firms. In addition to a standard salary, many advertising and promotions managers earn bonuses often equal to or more than 10 percent of their annual wages.

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