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Advertising Project Manager Duties and Responsibilities

Because they collaborate directly with multiple teams, the best advertising project managers excel at time and personnel management. Some of the most common tasks they perform include:

Team Coordination Advertising project managers are all about team coordination, specifically, between creative teams, sales departments, and finance departments. Advertising project managers need to effectively communicate with these teams to set priorities, ensure that project milestones and budget expectations are met, and determine team member expectations across departments. An advertising project manager may also communicate directly with executives to provide progress updates.

Client Communication Advertising project managers are also tasked with client communications, from initial meetings to determine the scope of a project and a client’s needs and expectations to receiving client feedback on deliverables. This may involve developing and presenting client contracts, receiving feedback throughout the project, and providing updates. Additionally, advertising project managers need to communicate with clients and internal teams as the scope of the project shifts.

Strategic Planning Advertising project managers are strategic thinkers, able to understand a client’s desired outcomes and suggest media plans that will help the client capture market share. This role requires a keen understanding of a client’s industry and the ability to forecast the impact of marketing materials and advertising campaigns. Additionally, advertising project managers should have a solid grasp of the client’s competition and be able to identify opportunities to innovate.

Budget Oversight Advertising project managers manage project budgets. They may work closely with financial personnel to determine staffing needs and expected timelines to provide clients with a realistic expectation of the costs associated with a campaign. Advertising project managers also seek ways to reduce costs while delivering a high level of client satisfaction and retention.

Time and Personnel Management Throughout the project lifecycle, advertising project managers oversee schedules and staff members, developing an initial project plan and timeline to ensure that team members understand the expectations. In addition, advertising project managers may identify areas where team members are needed to ensure that project milestones and deliverables are completed according to the schedule.


Advertising Project Manager Skills and Qualifications

Advertising project managers balance direct oversight of ongoing advertising projects with client communications, budgeting, and schedule management. Agencies typically hire candidates with a bachelor’s degree, experience working for an advertising agency, and the following skills:

  • Project management – to ensure that they can take an active leadership role in directing project development on a day-to-day basis
  • Personnel oversight – because they coordinate and direct the activities of cross-functional teams, project managers should also have a firm grasp of personnel management principles and practices
  • Scheduling and planning – setting project schedules and timelines is a major part of the advertising project manager’s role, requiring attention to detail and the ability to plan multiple, concurrent projects
  • Financial planning – advertising project managers develop and oversee budgets to ensure profitability and keep projects on time and within budget
  • Written and verbal communication – advertising project managers frequently communicate with team members, clients, and executives

Advertising Project Manager Education and Training

Advertising project managers need a bachelor’s degree in a related field, along with three to five years of experience in a traditional or digital advertising agency. Many advertising project managers begin their career in another role within an agency and take on further responsibilities and duties as they develop a record of delivering projects on time, within budget, and with a high level of client satisfaction. Since each project is different, advertising project managers tend to expand their skill set while in this role. Some agencies may also require advertising project managers to complete project management professional certification.


Advertising Project Manager Salary and Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics categorizes advertising project managers with advertising, promotions, and marketing managers. In 2016, the median pay for this role was $127,650. The BLS breaks this down even further into advertising and promotions managers and marketing managers. This role is more closely aligned with advertising and promotions managers, with a median wage of $100,810 in 2016. The highest-earning 10 percent of workers in this role earned over $208,000, while the lowest 10 percent earned $44,950. This role is expected to grow at a higher-than-average rate between 2016 and 2026; the BLS estimates a 10 percent employment growth. As digital marketing continues to expand, advertising project managers with experience creating online campaigns and targeted advertisements will see higher levels of employment growth.


Advertising Project Manager Helpful Resources

If you’re interested in exploring a career as an advertising project manager, we found a number of industry resources on the web that provide further reading:

A Day in the Life of an Ad Agency Project Manager – Kirstin Miller talks about her typical day working as an advertising project manager.

Herding Tigers: Be the Leader that Creative People Need – This book outlines leadership principles and strategies for creative leaders such as advertising project managers.

Ad Agencies—Why Bother with Traffic and Project Management – This article explores the importance of advertising project management, and how it relates to agency success and client retention.

Creative Project Management – This book explores project management principles and best practices, focusing on applying these ideas to creative projects.

An Interview with Our Project Manager, Tracey Gregory – This interview on the Crowley Agency’s blog explores the role and duties of an advertising project manager at a large firm.