Account planners are responsible for ensuring an advertising campaign is targeted at the correct audience.
They study the client’s brief and analyse existing data, market reports, and information from past campaigns before deciding whether to arrange for fresh market research to be carried out. This may be conducted by themselves or by commissioning an outside agency. Research is the planner’s key tool. They need to know who buys the product or service to be advertised, why they buy it, and what distinguishes it from its competitors.
Once the target audience is defined, a strategy is developed and presented to the client. When the strategy has been agreed, they liaise closely with the creative team, advising them on consumer issues and trends and providing them with information about the product and target audience.
They also monitor sales figures to assess the campaign’s effectiveness and suggest changes if it is not going as well as expected.
Account planners work long and irregular hours, Monday to Friday. In addition, deadlines and workload can lead to weekend work. Some agencies have flexible working hours on the understanding that staff will work late when deadlines demand it.
Most of the time is spent working in offices, although they also spend some time travelling to meet clients.
To be an advertising account planner you should:
Advertising is a popular career, and applicants always outnumber vacancies. Agencies with a structured graduate recruitment programme are listed in the IPA Factfile (see website in Further Information) although your best approach may be to contact agencies directly.
The majority of advertising agencies are based in London. Other centres for advertising are Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester. It may be possible to work abroad.
Career progression within advertising is based upon experience and ability.
Promotion possibilities include planning consultancy for a specialist organisation or becoming a director within an agency. Large agencies may employ senior account planners.
Experienced advertising staff often set up small advertising agencies of their own.
Movement between agencies is common.
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