In broad terms, an advertising agency is a marketing consultant. It helps the client, for example, a consumer goods manufacturer such as Nike or a service provider such as Charles Schwab, with all aspects of marketing their product or service, from strategy and concept through execution. Strategy involves helping the client make high-level business decisions, such as determining which new products to develop, or how to brand or define itself to the world.

Concept is where the agency takes the client's strategy and turns it into specific ideas for advertisements-such as a series of ads featuring "extreme sports" athletes for a soft-drink maker with a strategy to enter the teen market. Execution is where the agency turns the concept into reality with the production of the actual ads: the print layout, the film shoot, the audio. Full-service agencies also handle the placement of ads in print and electronic media so that clients reach their intended audiences. Sometimes the agency works in conjunction with the client's marketing department. In other instances-when the client doesn't have a marketing department-the agency takes on that role.

Here is a video that breaks down the differences between marketing, public relations, and advertising.



Advertising agencies handle a broad range of marketing tasks requiring people with experience and ability in overall management and specialized skills. In all agencies, the jobs usually fall into five categories:

For account side careers, recent undergraduates can often enter the workforce in entry-level positions, given some professional experience. For the creative advertising careers, most jobs require a portfolio. Some students produce a portfolio as part of their undergraduate education or via internships and field experience. Some students from more traditional liberal arts backgrounds seek out portfolio schools, like Miami Ad School.


Resources and Job Boards


Job Boards


Professional Organizations

The Ad Club
The Ad Club is the trade association for the New England marketing & communications industry. Focused on networking, education, professional development, advocacy, and diversity, The Ad Club presents over 30 events and programs every year.

American Marketing Association
The American Marketing Association brings together marketing professionals and academics from all over the world to share techniques, technology and, most of all, exciting new ideas.

American Marketing Association - Boston
In Boston, we are dedicated to being the essential resource for advancing the practice of marketing and the professional development of marketers.

The 4A’s was founded as a national trade association to represent U.S. advertising agencies. They provide counsel to members on everything from new business to succession planning to media transparency.

Multicultural Advertising Intern Program (MAIP)
MAIP is a talent development program overseen by The 4A’s. MAIP Fellows cultivate tangible, transferable skill-sets through Spring Training, a 12 week virtual series; connecting with their MAIP mentor(s); and collaborating with cross-national teams on a project brief. Throughout the summer, Fellows placed in major markets participate in agency sponsored professional development workshops and seminars, which provide a deeper dive into the various advertising and media disciplines. The workshops also grant fellows the opportunity to learn more about the host agency’s culture through networking with agency professionals post-workshop and agency tours.



Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads