An Introduction to Account Planning

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Resource I use to train junior planners and interns - always handy to have a few slides like this knocking about

Resource I use to train junior planners and interns - always handy to have a few slides like this knocking about

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  • http://coolplannerhairdude.tumblr.com
  • If the planner has anything to add it is the ability to be empathetic, to look inside themselves and be in touch with people to understand what they are like and how they tick.
  • Where are we?Identify the business problemWhere we are relative to competition Consumer behaviour and perceptionsWhere do we want to get to?Articulate the objectives (marketing and communication)Define how the brand wants to be seen relative to competitorsPositioning / perceptionsHow are we going to get there?Identify potential solution(s) Decide how it needs to behave to achieve objectivesIdentify who it’s talking to Comms strategyMessagingIdeaHone creative output – midwives of ideasAre we getting there?Measure success Evaluation
  • An insight is a new take on the brand/audience/market that ultimately leads us in a new and interesting direction and directly informs the strategyInsight can lead to more effective communications by helping tobuild a relationship between your consumers and your brandtalk ‘with’ them not ‘to’ themknow what message will be interesting, funny, relevant, useful to themknow when is the best time to have the conversation“Seeing within” the consumer - obtaining new and deeper levels of understandingseeing the consumer as a complete person, not simply as a user of a particular product or brandDiscovering things that are not obvious, something enlightening which adds richness to our overall understandingSeeing what we know from a new and different perspectiveMaking links between apparently disconnected ideas
  • Strategy is usually informed by insights about the brand product audience etc.Not always from the most obvious places, sometimes focus groups aren't the answer
  • Pros and cons of all of these, it is about selecting the right ones for what you need to find out. Qual - DescriptiveSubjectiveExploratoryApproximateDepth of insightFlexibleQuant - DiagnosticObjectiveDefinitivePreciseRobustRigid
  • A bit like warfare
  • Marketing strategiesWhat is our purpose/ mission? What is our market?Who are our competitors?Who are our buyers?What are we good at?Brand strategiesHow do we want do be seen? Brand Positioning – essence, mission/vision, target2. What are we offering? Brand proposition – values, essence, message3. In what tone? Brand Relationship and Personality – tone of voice, values, behaviourCommunications strategiesWho are we talking to?What are we trying to get them to do/think/feel?How do we get them to do this?
  • Define objectives:Give direction – so we can figure out how we get thereMake sure we get things rightAllows us to set KPIs and targetsWork out how to measure if we have achieved them or notDefine problem: ‘A problem well defined is a problem half solved’Solution to the problem will most likely come from an insightCan be shortened to: objective, problem, answer
  • The strategic platform usually lies in the sweet spot between consumer attitude and behaviour and what we know about the brand
  • A launch pad, not check listInspire and motivate, not constrain and confineSingle mindedAn ad for your strategy
  • The whole point of marketing is that it makes a difference to a clients business so what is the point of spending all that money if you are not going to find out whether it has worked or not? Sounds elementary right? But you’d be surprised how often thorough and comprehensive M&E is overlooked or just an after thought. You should be thinking about M&E as soon as you agree the objectives – agree and set up any measurment and tracking right at the start.How can we hope to unlock further work from existing clients without showing we can make a difference and how can we prove to prospective clients and the rest of the industry without showing that we are good at what we do.What’s more if we don’t do measurement and tracking we will never learn lessons about what works and what doesn’t work and we will be doomed to make the same mistakes all over again next time!
  • It is the planners job to chose the right metrics to create an overall meaningful picture of the activity and show effectiveness
  • Taking all the lessons from the evaluation and applying them
  • OK that’s a joke!
  • OK that’s a joke!
  • Good common sense!Curiosity about what makes people act and think the way they doUnderstands that what people say is not necessarily what they believe or doDetailed enough to examine a problem from different perspectives without losing sight of the big pictureLogic and analytical as well as lateral thinkingOpen mindedPragmatic approach to problem solvingRealise that strategy is only a means to an endCan read between the lines data is not gospel - accepts nothing at face value, and challenges assumptions until the whole picture (sales, quantitative, qualitative, competitive info, etc) makes sense. ability to clearly identify problems (getting to the nub of it)Intuitive about people, brands and advertisingAble to portray a target consumer without immediately stating demographicsPractical and down to earth whilst being able to think in depth when needed
  • Whether or not this was done by a planner doesn’t matter. Planning is state of mind and a way of thinking about the world that looks beyond the obvious answers to the brief – not necessarily about a person. However in the same way creatives benefit from the freedom to think creatively and spend all their time being creative (so are probably the best at being creative) the same can be said for planning)
  • These are very much examples of brand planning and ATL but there are more and more examples coming out now of planners making a difference in comms strategy, by getting involved in IA or game design and lots of other weird and wonderful things.


  • 1. An introduction to account planning By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 2. • What is account planning • The planning process • Client brief • Research and insights • Strategy • Creative briefingWhat I will cover • Creative development • Measurement and evaluation • Planning at it’s best • How planning is changing • Where to find out more By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 3. What is an account planner? © 2010 INFERNO LIMITED | By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 4. • Strategic guidance within agency • Guardian of the brand • Provide strategic direction • Add insight • Assimilate & interpret infoThe short answer! • Commission research • Represent the consumer • Guide creative development • Ensure effectiveness By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 5. A brief history of planning By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 6. “The voice of the consumer”“If you talked to people the way advertising talked topeople, theyd punch you in the face” - Hugh MacLeod By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 7. These days, planning involves lot more than just representing the consumerMarket researcher Communications planner Bad cop Data analyst Strategist Social anthropologistModerator Information centre Brief writer Brainstorming facilitatorNPD consultant Insight miner Knowledge applicator Soothsayer Think piece author By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 8. The Planning Process Identify problem Understand consumer behaviour and attitudes Identifying insights and opportunities Why are we Objective setting there? Client brief Where could we be? Where are we now? Strategy development How do weMeasurement and get there? Are we gettingevaluation there? Creative briefing and development By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 9. © 2010 INFERNO LIMITED |It all starts here By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 10. Top tips for client briefings• Ask LOTS of questions• Do they have any helpful research?• What would be their answer to the brief?• Question assumptions• What is the real issue? By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 11. Getting to an a-ha! momentIt all starts here © 2010 INFERNO LIMITED | By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 12. Where insights come from Brand history Influencer research Behaviour Competition Observation Consumer research Product Futurology/ scenario planning Company culture Other markets Talking to people Popular culture and trends Philosophy Human psychology By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 13. Types of researchPrimary SecondaryQuant Client data • Paid for resources • Surveys • Sales • Mintel • Questionnaires • Segmentation • Warc • Panels • Brand tracking • Ebiquity • Observation Desk research • TGIQual • News sites • Syndicated surveys • Depth interviews • Social media • Focus groups • Free tools online • Workshops • Trend sites • Observation • Videos By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 14. When can you do research? Desk research Hypothesis generation Consumer researchCreative development Strategy research Strategy development Concept research Creative development Final ad research By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 15. Strategy © 2010 INFERNO LIMITED |Getting thestrategy right By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 16. What is a strategy? Strategy Where we are Where we want to be (problem) (solution) Tactics By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 17. Types of strategy Business strategy Marketing strategy Brand strategy Communications strategy Channel strategy By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 18. 10 Steps to a strategy1. Define your objectives2. Read around the subject3. Identify barriers in your way4. Focus on those you can do something about5. Re-define your problem precisely6. List the potential opportunities/ solutions7. Write an honest list of their pros and cons8. Choose the most promising9. Test/ research it10. Summarise your strategy and how it should work By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 19. Getting this lot excited By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 20. Finding a creative thought Consumer Brand insight insight By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 21. The creative brief Client brief Research Insight Creative Brief Creative Work By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 22. The brief – questions to answer• What’s the problem?• What’s the task?• Who’s the audience• What’s the key message we need to convey?• Why can we say this?• What tone of voice should we use? By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 23. Creative briefing top tips • Means to an end – great work! • Clarity, brevity, fertility • Inspiration not instruction • Inject some personality (from the brand, audience etc.) • Tell a story • Think about the thoughts and feelings you are evoking • Don’t use marketing speak • Single minded proposition! • The brief is not as important as the briefing • Bring creativity to the briefing process • Plant seeds • Don’t bombard them – drip feed ideas and information • Collaborative process – summary of a conversation By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 24. Then it is time to get stuck in! By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 25. Tips for getting involved in creative development • Don’t be the devil’s advocate (be the work’s advocate) • Go back to the brief – will it meet the objectives? • Stay open minded • Clarify the creative idea – don’t be thrown by the execution • Give clear feedback – what YOU think, ideas and insights not answers By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 26. It’s on briefYou don’t need to like it for it to be effective I don’t like it I like it Is it a better way to achieve the objective than the strategy? It’s not on brief By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 27. The science bitBy Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 28. What sorts of things can we measure?• Hard and soft metrics• Return on investment• Behavioural and attitudinal shifts• Rational and emotional responses• Quantitative and qualitative• Levels of engagement Awareness Comprehension Intention Action By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 29. IPA best practiceCommon practice Best practiceFocus on single objectives Aim for broad, multiple effectsGenerate volume Shift the demand curveFocus on existing customers Talk to whole marketIncrease brand awareness Generate brand fameRational communication Emotional communicationShift to direct response Emotionally rich media leadEvaluate against single KPIs Use a balanced scorecardAccountability Effectiveness By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 30. Tracking tools Market share/ TGIVoucher redemption competitor reports tracking Social media trackers Media stats Store trackers Email service providers Behavioural/attitudinal surveys Brand tracking Ad tracking Website analytics Sales data Purchase tracking Loyalty schemes Mintel By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 31. And then it all starts again! Why are we there? Where could we be? Where are we now? How do we get there? Are we getting there? By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 32. Planning at it’s best By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 33. What makes a good planner? By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 34. What makes a good planner? Just Kidding! By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 35. What makes a good planner?• Curiosity and common sense intuition about people, brands and advertising• Combination of logic/analytical skills and lateral thinking• Accepts nothing at face value• Ability to dive deep into an issue but not lose site of the bigger picture• Open minded and optimistic• Pragmatic approach to problem solving• Can get to the nub of an issue• Empathy By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 36. By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 37. By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 38. By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 39. By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 40. How planning is changing? By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 41. How the planning process is evolving • Less time! • Need to be more flexible, open, collaborative • Diversification of roles • Different types of planners • No longer just brand planning • Overlap between planning and creative By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 42. The relationships between brands andpeople has changed • A two way conversation • Peer to peer / trusted sources Personal experiences • People as individuals not target markets Friends • Not just about what you say but what you get people to do (engagement) Propensity to believe • Show not tell Trusted source • Attraction not interruption Sales person • Creating movements • But people haven’t changed that much! By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 43. Wow, planning sounds so f***ing cool –how can I find out more?! By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 44. Planning resourcesWeb BooksAccount Planning Group The APG Gold Standard - Gold winning papers from the awards 1993-2007 (and the most recent version from 2009)Plannersphere A Master Class in Brand Planning: The Timeless Works of Stephen KingPlanning search engine Truth, Lies and Advertising by Jon SteelPlanning on Facebook Eating the Big Fish by Adam MorganPlanners blogs Herd: How to Change Mass Behaviour by Harnessing Our True Nature byPlanners on Twitter Mark EarlsAsk me if you need anything specific... Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness by Richard H Thaler and Cass R Sunstein And many more depending what you are interested in! By Jo Weston @westonsorganic
  • 45. “Be an optimist and evoke the spirit of optimism in others”. - Jon Steel By Jo Weston @westonsorganic