Account Planning: An Unfortunate Name for a Cool Job


Hi IMC Land! I apologize for not blogging earlier this week. It’s been crazy at the Wise House –the WVU football game, the holiday weekend, homework, discussion posts … and the most important event of all this week—Hailey’s first day of preschool!

First day of preschool! No tears for Hailey. Lots of tears for Mom.

I know I’ve mentioned this in previous blogs, but I really love it when I get those “ah ha” moments where I see how something I’m learning in one class relates to something I’m learning in another class. This week we’ve been discussing the field of account planning in my Creative Strategy class. In the past, whenever I’d see job ads for an account planner I would think, “boring,” and gloss over them. Having no prior knowledge of account planning, I simply assumed that “account planner” was another term for “account manager” or “account executive.” Not so!

Our Creative Strategy lesson this week quoted account planning pioneer Stanley Pollitt, who described account planning as  a way “to ensure that all the data relevant to key advertising decisions be properly analyzed, complemented with new research, and brought to bear on judgments of creative strategy.”

I know, that doesn’t really sound all that great yet, but just bear with me…

According to our lesson, account planning is “one of the most rewarding roles in the field of advertising.” Why?  Because “planners spend a lot of time in crazy places like football stadiums, airports and yoga studios attempting to develop a deeper understanding of the audience than mere surveys or focus groups can provide.” Our lesson gave the example of account planners for Sega. Their job was to watch kids play video games all day long to identify key insights about them. The result? Sega’s successful “Welcome to the Next Level” campaign.

It just so happens that my other course this semester is Audience Insight. We spend a lot of time in that class discussing what motivates consumers—the heart of account planning. At the beginning of this semester, I never would’ve imagined that something we discussed in Creative Strategy class would directly apply to my Audience Insight class. I think it’s a great example of what IMC really means—integrating all of these elements together to form what Professor Stultz refers to as “the big idea.”

Just out of curiosity, do we have any account planners in the IMC program? Have any of you worked with account planners?  If so, please share your story with us!  

Have a great weekend, everyone, and …. Let’s GOOOOOO Mountaineers!

One Response to “Account Planning: An Unfortunate Name for a Cool Job”

  1. Nicola Says:

    Hi Stacey:

    Thanks for your kind words last posting all is well thus far.

    Your daughter’s first day of pre-school, sometimes a tough day for moms, wasn’t easy for me at all especially since Israel refused to let my foot go and was on the floor behind me.

    Though I only do one course at a time I can thoroughly appreciate your point. I have had discussion posting where I”m using the same print ad Cover Girl’s Queen ad for at least 3 classes. Though the content is different, for the most part it’s the same premise. Describing use of color in Creative Strategies, looking at intended target audience for Audience Insight or looking at media placement for Media Planning.

    As we go along in this program we really get to see how things are truly INTEGRATED.

    Like you, account planning didn’t sound like a job I’d like, but I now have a greater appreciation for it, especially given that I’m doing IMC 620 this semester, where it’s all about data collection, instruments to use and analysis to better understand how to market to the consumer.

    Great job!!!

    All the best this semester. Creative Strategies is a blast, can’t wait to do Advanced Creative Strategies next semester.

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