Today I read a very interesting paper entitled ‘Account planning: back to the future’ written by Paul Feldwick on WARC.
Nowadays, there is an account planning function in every large European and American advertising agencies. The role of the planner is to create a sensitive understanding of human behaviour, that is also called insights. The goal is to make sure that the adgency has a deeper understanding of consumer attitudes and reactions before creating any advertising plannings. This knowledge will help to set up every stages of advertising development (both on strategy and creative aspect).
The account planning function is integrated into the brand/ account team, that means than the planner works closely with the account manager, the copywriter and the art director.
At the beginning, account planning cas not a crucial function but then, it became a way to reinvente the advertising agency, by focusing on effectiveness
This was ‘More important than maximising profits, more important than keeping clients happy, or building an agency shop window for distinctive looking advertising’ (Pollitt 1979; Lannon and Baskin 2007).
In reality, most account planning departments are relatively small in numbers, and they lack equal power with account management and creative. Chris Hackley’s research (2003) points out that planning relationships with the rest of the agency is something complicated that can be a source of conflict.
Paul Feldwick. Account planning: back to the future, Market Leader; Quarter 2, March 2009