Advertising Account Planner

Outline of Job

The role of advertising account planner involves making sure that an advertising campaign is targeted at the wanted audience. This is done through analysing market and qualitative data to generate an understanding of the ever changing audience. This information is then delivered to the various agency departments, including the creative team, to make sure an effective campaign is delivered. An advertising account planner will usually work on more than one account at a time.

Daily Activities

  • Meeting with clients to gain an understanding of their brand, and how they wish it to be perceived
  • Carrying out quantitative and qualitative research, or hiring an outside agency to do so
  • Analysing numerical data concerning the market and on past campaigns
  • Working with other agency employees, such as the account managers
  • Writing the creative outline for an account
  • Presenting the campaign outline to the client
  • Creating a strategy that targets the desired audience
  • Presenting the agency staff with an outline, containing crisp and informative facts on the brand, audience, and strategy
  • Moderating the effectiveness of a campaign

Skills Required

  • Research skills, both qualitative and quantitative
  • Ability to interpret numerical and in-depth data
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Organised manner
  • Able to work in a role demanding originality in a competitive market
  • Interest in the psychology of the consumer
  • Able to work as an individual and as part of a team
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Creative skills, with ability to devise new ideas for different brands

Expected Earnings & Conditions

The usual starting salary is £18,000 - £22,000, which usually increases to £30,000 - £40,000 after three to five years experience. Those at top level will likely be able to gain sums of £60,000 - £120,000. Other benefits may include a company car, health insurance, and a retirement fund.

The average salary for an advertising account planner is dependent on the agency and its location, as well as the individuals experience and portfolio. There is usually no weekend work, though you will likely have to work extra hours during the working week. Travel during the working day is a regular occurrence, and you may have to travel abroad if the agency has international clients.

Due to the need to research target audiences you will often have to attend focus groups, which usually occur during evenings. Most agencies are based in London, though many other large cities such as Manchester and Birmingham house many agencies.

Qualifications & Experience Required

It is a good idea to obtain a BTEC (Business & Technology Educational Council) qualification, roughly the equivalent of an A Level, to improve your chances of landing a role in advertising. This is vocational and will give you actual employable skills. A HND degree is often sought after, especially by top agencies, as many degrees teach students to research and deliver presentations. A degree in the following would be beneficial:

  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Statistics
  • Communication & Media Studies
  • Business or Management
  • Psychology
  • Economics

Although a degree is highly sought after, just as important is evidence of relevant experience. This can be in the advertising, media, marketing or sales sectors. However, without a degree you will likely have to start in an administrative role and work your way up.

Additional Training & Development

The development stages differ for each agency, but more often than not you will start in the account management department. This will supply you with a diverse perspective of the functions of each department in an advertising agency.

Training will be done on the job, and time will mainly be spent learning the agencies workings before taking on clients. It is often the case that mentoring will be given by an experienced employee. You can then move into account planning, with training continuing throughout your career development.

The Account Planning Group, an authority in advertising and communications strategy, can help you to further your understanding of the advertising market. The courses they offer help with writing and briefing, cross-media evaluation, leading and influencing strategy, as well as other important traits. 

Courses at level 1 are for those with 1 to 2 years experience, level 2 for those with 3 to 6 years experience, and level three for those with more than 6 years experience.
For further information on courses available visit the Account Planning Group or Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) websites.