Mad Men: Do You Have What It Takes to Be an Advertising Manager?

Considered working as an Advertising Manager? This interview will take you through the ups and downs you can expect in the position, what it takes to land the job, what you can expect to earn and more.

What is your job title and what industry do you work in? How many years of experience do you have in that field?
For the past nine years, I have held the position of Director of Advertising with a major player in the automotive industry.

Would you describe the things you do on a typical day?
The main focus of my position is to develop ad campaigns for my company's products. I work closely with the rest of my staff to produce exciting advertising that will prompt consumers to buy our goods. Specifically, my day consists of meetings with company executives to discuss campaigns, preparing our budget (for each campaign and our annual budget), examining and editing promotional materials, and coordinating the efforts of teams in different departments to ensure we are all on the same page.

On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your job satisfaction? What would it take to unleash your full enthusiasm, talent and productivity?
I am extremely satisfied with my job; I'd say a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10. The only thing keeping me from realizing my full enthusiasm is that I am bound by the product lines that I am selling. My goal is to run my own advertising firm some day.

On a good day when things are going well, can you give an example of something that really makes you feel good?
I feel like I was made for this job. It allows me to use my creativity and people skills in a way that is beneficial to my team, our employer, and our target audience.

How did you get started in this line of work? If you could go back and do it differently, what would you change?
I was hired as a graphic artist and worked in that capacity for 2 years. I continued my education and earned a promotion to assistant manager, then I was promoted again to manager, and after that I earned my current position. Honestly, there is nothing I would do differently. I am very pleased with how things turned out.

What did you learn the hard way in this job and how did that happen?
It is important to safeguard your work. I once had an excellent idea that ended up being used by someone who stole it from me! That was early in my career and I've since learned to ensure that people get the credit they deserve for the work they do.

What don’t they teach in school that would’ve been helpful to you?
School doesn't really prepare you for the pressure that comes in the working world. The demands and deadlines can really take their toll if you aren't prepared to face them. You need to be able to turn it around and make it into an opportunity to showcase your talents and let yourself shine!

What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you in this job?
The strangest thing that ever happened on the job was when our company hosted a retreat for the management team. It was a weekend of odd team-building exercises that were thought up by an outside consultant. More than a few of us were left scratching our heads.

What education and skills do you need to get hired and succeed in this field?
In my job, I get to use my skills to coordinate the efforts of a lot of talented people to produce advertising campaigns for products that I believe in. I can't wait to see what my team will come up with each day.

What did you learn the hard way in this job and how did that happen?
The hardest part of my job is still in meeting the deadlines for the projects that my team and I work on. Sometimes, a date will get moved up on us, or we will be told to make some rather involved last-minute changes. That can be very nerve-wracking!

How stressful is your job? Are you able to maintain a comfortable or healthy work-life balance?
I encounter a moderate amount of stress in my job. After all, if my team fails it is ultimately my fault as Director. However, I have an incredibly talented group of individuals who are more than capable of rising to any challenge. On my own time, I find that running helps me to unwind as well as providing the exercise that I need.

What’s a rough salary range for the position you hold? Are you paid enough and/or happy living within your means?
The advertising field can be lucrative for an educated and motivated worker. The salary can vary, but the national average for an advertising manager is right around $50,000. My family and I live a modest lifestyle and have managed to save a little while still enjoying life. We are comfortable and happy with my career.

How much vacation do you take? Is it enough?
I have earned three weeks of vacation time in my accumulated years on the job. I usually take the family on two week-long trips each year and we take one "stay-cation" where we just spend family time at home. That is enough vacation time for me, as I am feeling fresh and ready to go when I return to work.

Does this job move your heart? Feel like you found your calling or sweet spot in life? If not, what might do it for you?
As I worked my way up from graphic design to management, I found it advantageous to further my education. I earned a bachelor's degree in advertising and also took classes in marketing, sales, communications, and psychology. Computer skills, the ability to lead people and effective communication are also valuable assets in the advertising field.

What would you tell a friend considering your line of work?
If a friend was considering a career in advertising, I would tell them to be patient, persistent, and sell themselves. After all, until you land that first job, you are the product you are selling. Also, prepare a portfolio of your work or things you've done in school that show off your talents. A little self-promotion is a good thing in this field!

If you could write your own ticket, what would you like to be doing in five years?
In five years, I see myself as the president of my own advertising firm. With the will to succeed, you can write your own ticket and be who you want to be!

This is a true career story as told to MarketingJobs.org and is one of many interviews with marketing professionals which also include Marketing Communications Executive and Marketing & Media Relations.

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