A sales promotion account executive will be a great communicator and possess excellent teamworking, attention to detail and problem solving skills
Sales promotion account executives create and run promotional marketing campaigns to increase the sales or the use of a product or service. In this role, you would entice customers with a range of strategies, including competitions, samples and coupons, promotions and point-of-sale displays.
These incentives reach the consumer in a variety of ways, such as in retail outlets, at events and exhibitions, through direct mail, press advertising, websites, text messaging and social media.
You will usually be involved in all stages of the process, making sure a campaign runs smoothly. You have to keep everybody involved in the campaign informed and up to date and provide central administrative support to the team.
Account executive is the normal entry-level position for new graduates. Tasks usually include:
Some posts include incentives such as a company car allowance, bonus scheme, pension, private health and life insurance.
Income figures are intended as a guide only.
Standard hours are 9am to 5pm but they typically go beyond this, particularly prior to the launch of a big campaign or when preparing to pitch to clients. It may also be necessary to attend promotional events in the evenings.
It may be possible to enter the role without a degree as employers are often looking for experience and relevant skills. However, some will specifically want graduates and in these instances, although any degree or HND will usually be accepted, the following subjects may be particularly useful:
The larger agencies run graduate training schemes but may be willing to recruit those with an HND if you have the required skills and personal qualities.
A pre-entry postgraduate qualification is not essential. A combination of aptitude, enthusiasm, commitment and business awareness can be more important than a specific degree subject.
You will need to have:
Experience in promotional work, sales or customer service is extremely useful. As some agencies specialise in working with particular sectors, any knowledge or experience relating to that area may give you an advantage.
Undertaking work experience with an agency or in any other business environment (if possible within a marketing department) can help you to become known to an agency and will help your applications. Use this experience to network and make further contacts.
Vacancies are not always advertised so speculative applications are worthwhile. Relevant professional bodies such as the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM) and the Institute of Promotional Marketing (IPM) provide details of their members which include agencies, brand owners and service providers. Use these listings to research potential employers and opportunities for work experience:
Well-informed, targeted applications are vital so make sure that you research the sector and agency before applying for work experience or a graduate role. It is also important to keep up to date with industry news and developments so reading any related trade press will help.
Traditional marketing disciplines, such as branding, advertising and sales promotion, have blurred and few agencies now specialise exclusively in sales promotion, working more broadly instead in the field of promotional marketing.
Most sales promotion account executives work in integrated marketing communications agencies, which offer clients a range of below-the-line services, especially sales promotion, direct marketing and digital media. Some agencies have a stronger focus on sales promotion than on other areas, but there is considerable overlap between these activities.
Traditional above-the-line advertising agencies (those specialising in television, radio, outdoor and cinema advertising) may also have a below-the-line/sales promotion division.
Digital media has made a significant impact on direct marketing techniques, and sales promotion account executives may find themselves working in companies that use the latest digital and data technologies.
Opportunities also exist in client-side work, being employed directly by a company rather than an agency.
Look for job vacancies at:
It is also worth making speculative applications directly to agencies.
Recruitment agencies specialising in marketing and media also advertise vacancies.
Large agencies may offer structured in-house training and mentoring for new account executives. With smaller agencies, training may be carried out on the job.
There are also a range of external courses and qualifications available through various organisations. For example, theIPM offers a range of courses recognised by the industry, including:
The IPM Certificate in Promotional Marketing is an introductory course that many agencies use as part of their training programme for new staff. The aim of the course is to provide you with an overview of the breadth of the industry and an understanding of how your company fits in so you can make a productive contribution to campaigns.
The IPM Diploma in Promotional Marketing provides more in-depth knowledge of all aspects of the role including the different ways that promotions are communicated. Most agencies will pay for you to take the diploma as part of your training.
The IPM also runs a series of one-day courses and seminars, as well as networking events. Topics include the fundamentals of motivation, measuring the value of experiential campaigns and strategic thinking in promotional marketing. For more information see IPM: Training.
The Marketing Agencies Association (MAA) also offers a variety of courses including:
There is also the MAA Diploma in Integrated Marketing, which is useful if you want to develop a career in that particular area. Find out more at MAA Training.
Relevant courses in areas such as direct and digital marketing, mobile marketing and multichannel marketing are offered by The Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM).
It is also helpful to keep up to date with industry news and developments through relevant resources, such as Promotional Marketing.
It is usual that you will start in a junior role as a sales promotion account executive. From there, with experience, you can progress through the roles of senior account executive, account manager and account director.
A qualification from the IPM may help your chances of career development but your performance and success in the job are the main things that determine your promotion prospects.
Promotional marketing is a fast-paced business and progression to more senior roles may be rapid. It is not unusual to reach account director level in less than ten years.
Further promotion beyond account director is possible. This could be to more senior strategic posts, such as group account director, or to board-level roles. However, opportunities at this level are limited and some account directors may move between agencies, either to experience bigger companies or to focus on different sectors.
With substantial experience and a strong network of contacts you may consider setting up your own agency. It is also possible to move to a client-side role, where you would work directly for a company to increase their sales and promote their services, rather than being based in an agency working for different clients.