As a college-age intern in an ad agency, a Creative Director told me, “If I were you, I’d go into Account Planning.” He said it in the same way Dustin Hoffman was told to go into “plastics” in The Graduate. I’ve worked with a few smart planners, and even went to the 4A’s Account Planning Conference one year. But in 2013, has the role of an Account Planner changed? Chris Kocek takes a look in The Practical Pocket Guide To Account Planning.
There’s definitely truth in advertising at work here, as Kocek lays out the basics: the role of an account planner at the agency, how research becomes insight, how to study customer segmentation and develop personas, and how to prepare for pitches and presentations.
All of which is practical, useful advice for anyone looking to become an Account Planner, but I would have loved to see Kocek take the information and adapt it to a digital age. Because understanding where we can reach customers (i.e., their digital and mobile media consumption) is becoming as valuable as knowing as who they are and what they love. Hence, the rise of titles like “Connection Planners,” who incorporate more media/tactical knowledge into the mix. But not many agencies have Connection Planners, leaving the Account Planners with more information to synthesize.
Still, it’s been a long time since Jon Steel wrote Truth Lies and Advertising, which quickly became the standard book on Account Planning. The Practical Pocket Guide To Account Planning certainly makes a worthy heir apparent, particularly for folks just starting out in the business.
Special thanks to Nissen PR for providing me with a review copy.