As an account planner, it would be your job to target advertising campaigns at the right audience. You would research what kind of people buy or use the clientâ€™s product or service (and why they do so), in order to come up with ways of making the brand stand out from its competitors.
Your work would involve:
- meeting clients to find out about their product or service
- analysing market reports and information from past campaigns
- deciding whether new market research is needed
- carrying out market research, or commissioning an outside market research agency to do it
- developing an advertising strategy to reach the target audience
- presenting the strategy to the client
- briefing the agency’s creative team (art directors and copywriters) about the clientâ€™s product or message
- monitoring audience response and sales figures to judge the campaignâ€™s effectiveness.
You may work with several clients and brands at the same time.
In larger agencies, account planning is a full-time job. In smaller agencies,Â you would be involved in account planningÂ as part of a widerÂ account executive or account manager role.
What qualifications and experience will employers look for?
Employers will usually be more interested in your personal qualities such as creativity, quick thinking and business sense,Â than in your formal qualifications.
However, advertising is a very competitive industry to join, and you may have an advantage with a BTEC HND or degree in one of the following subjects:
- statistics or operational research
- communication and media studies
- business or management
Alternatively, in smaller advertising agencies you may be able to start in a more junior position such as administrator, and work your way up as your experience of the industry develops.
It’s a good idea to try to find work experience in an advertising agency before looking for your first job. You could contact agencies directly to ask about placements, and make industry contacts through relevant groups on social networking sites. See the Work Experience section of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) website for more information and a list of member agencies.
- Institute of Practitioners in Advertising
Any previous work experience in the media, marketing, communications or sales would also be useful.
Visit the Diagonal Thinking website to find out if you have what it takes for a career in advertising.
- Diagonal Thinking
What further training and development can I do?
You will usually start as a junior account planner and develop your skills on the job. Many of the larger agencies runÂ structured graduate training scheme.
Your training may include the chanceÂ to work towards qualifications from the professional associations, such as:
- IPA Foundation Certificate â€“ an online course for junior staff with at least six monthsâ€™ experience in any area of advertising
- IPA Advanced Certificate â€“ a more advanced 10-month online course
- IPA Excellence Diploma â€“ for peopleÂ with at least three yearsâ€™ experience
- Communication Advertising and Marketing Education Foundation (CAM) Diploma in Marketing Communications â€“ for this you will need a degree or equivalent, or at least two yearsâ€™ relevant work experience.
The Account Planning Group offers training courses forÂ new and experienced account planners. The IPA and the Market Research Society also offer a range of short courses which may be useful for your career development.