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I was the production manager for a Kansas City based business journal. I have over ten years of advertising and media relations experience.
My primary responsibility was to generate revenue through advertising sales and to create high quality ads through various mediums. My specialty was advertorials – paid interview/review/informational style articles written about a specific client as a featured special interest piece. In my opinion, the biggest misconception about print advertising is that it isn’t worth the cost. Print advertising allows clients to target a specific market without wasting resources in an area not likely to be receptive to the product or service being offered.
I would give my job satisfaction a solid 10. There is nothing quite like the feeling you get when a client calls to thank you for helping increase their business. What’s even more satisfying is when that client recommends you to a new client and your own business grows as a result. The one thing I would like to see change is the economy. With so many out of work and small businesses failing all around us, people have less and less money to spend on goods and services. The job itself had so many rewards. So many times I would get a call or card from one of my clients thanking me for the work I did, telling me their business had increased significantly since their ad came out.
This job has been incredibly fulfilling for me. I have had the opportunity to work with many wonderful members of my community, pool our resources and come up with new ways to promote local businesses. I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to see a client’s business have customers lined up outside the door because of an ad I created. I have always had a passion for creative writing and just sort of stumbled onto this position by accident. Whether it was my true calling or fate, I can’t say, but I do know it has been one of the most enriching and rewarding experiences of my life.
As people lost their jobs and houses, businesses began loosing business. It wasn’t long before those businesses started closing their doors. As more and more of our advertisers were going out of business, we were left scrambling to make operating costs, and in the end, had to close our doors as well. That is perhaps the most unique aspect of working as an advertising executive. You are only as strong as your economy.
One day I picked up a news journal and scanned the pages. There was only one regular writer on staff, so I sent in my resume. A day later, I was being interviewed and the following week moving into my new office. My new editor had this idea that if he combined my creative writing skills with his ability to sell advertising space, we could come up with a more effective ad campaign for our clients. It was a roaring success. If I had it to do over again, I probably would have taken a few marketing classes in college so that I had a better understanding of markets and the role economy plays on spending.
When my business is good, it’s really good, but it goes the other way, too. I think the best way to gauge a local economy is by flipping through a newspaper. If there are lots of ads, things are going well. A vast majority of our advertisers were small, local businesses and because our journal relied primarily on revenue generated from ad space, when those businesses went under, so did we. I think the biggest lesson I learned was the importance of supporting local businesses first.
Something strange I learned from on the job was that we’d recently hired a new sales executive who inadvertently sold ad space for the family section to a clinic that offered abortion services. I had also sold an advertorial to an adoption agency for that same section. I titled the article “Choose Life.” Going through the proofs, we all missed the error. A few days later, our phones were ringing off the hook and we even had several people come into the office telling us how appalled they were that we would run an abortion ad under a “Right to Life” article. Needless to say, it was a lesson to us all. People really DO look at the ads.
The most challenging aspect of selling advertising space is convincing clients they should buy ad space. More often than not, I had to give out free space just to prove it could be effective. Problem clients had me tugging on my hair a few times. Clients have a tendency to want to nitpick about every little detail. They leave little room for true creativity and limit your ability to convey the message you know from experience, works the best.
Stress levels depend entirely on deadlines. There were a few times we had to work through the night to get ads ready on time. This is, however, by no means a complaint, because that simply meant we were making more money, but it can get stressful.
My base salary was $46,000 a year with bonuses ranging from $10,000-$20,000 a year depending on ad sales. For the area that I live, my base salary provided for a comfortable living and I typically took one week of vacation every six months which was more than enough for me.
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