What Does an Account Planner Do? (Plus Salary and Skills)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published May 6, 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Account planners are specialists in consumer thought and behavior, and they're highly valuable members of an advertising or creative team. This job can be an excellent choice for someone who's interested in how people think and wants to use that knowledge in practical, real-world situations. Learning more about this position and its requirements can help you determine whether it's the right fit for you.
In this article, we describe what account planners do, reveal their average salary and job outlook and list the skills and education they often have.
What does an account planner do?
Account planners are advertising professionals who focus on the consumer's perspective. They work as part of an advertising agency or a company's internal advertising, marketing or creative teams. Through in-depth research and market analysis, they form ideas about how consumers choose to buy a product. Account planners incorporate this information into an advertising or creative strategy to help make it more successful.
Some companies combine the role of an account planner with an account manager, who maintains existing client accounts. When these roles are separate, account planners work closely with account managers. Account planners also work closely with account executives, who work to find new clients. Here are some responsibilities an account planner may have:
Perform market and competitive research
Analyze market and research data
Develop new ideas based on research
Monitor social trends that can affect customer behavior
Manage research groups
Present ideas to a team or the agency's clients
Evaluate the effectiveness of campaigns
Act as a liaison between the creative team and management
Related: 10 Careers in Advertising
What is the salary and job outlook for account planners?
According to Glassdoor, the national average salary for account planners is $79,590 per year. This figure can vary based on a few factors, such as the planner's experience, location and company. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the related jobs of advertising, promotions and marketing managers may see a 10% growth between 2020 and 2030. This employment growth is a little higher than the average of all occupations.
What skills do account planners use?
Here are a few skills that can benefit account planners in their careers:
A large part of an account planner's role involves developing interesting, effective advertising campaigns based on their research, and creative thinking can help them excel in this area. Creative thinking is also useful for an account planner because it allows them to find creative solutions to problems. For example, their research may find current consumer behaviors conflict with the company's sales or product goals. Account planners can use creative thinking to find an effective advertising solution for this conflict.
Verbal and written communication skills are important for account planners because they frequently present research and ideas to clients, team members and management. Excellent communication skills can help them condense expansive research data into the key points their audience needs the most. These skills can also help an account planner provide reasoning for their proposed strategies. They may provide this information in a written report, an email, a meeting or an organized presentation, so proficiency in different types of communication is valuable.
Account planners usually work as part of a team, whether with an advertising agency, creative team or marketing department. Their research can drive advertising strategies, but the entire team often develops and implements these strategies. It's important for an account planner to be comfortable working on a team, which can involve collaborating with their team members, sharing ideas and asking for help. An account planner with strong teamwork skills can be a valuable addition to an agency or department, making candidates with this skill more appealing to hiring managers.
Account planners often work on many projects at the same time, and these projects may be at different levels of development. For example, they may have one project with research in progress, one with research ready for analysis and one with a campaign ready to launch. Each project could have many unique variables, such as different forms of research or team members. It's important for an account planner to be organized, so they can balance all of their projects and meet multiple deadlines.
Account planners conduct many types of consumer and market research as part of their work. Examples of research they may use include qualitative, quantitative, focus groups, surveys, competition and reading secondary sources. It's important for an account planner to be comfortable with many research methods because understanding these methods can help them determine which kind could most benefit their current project. It's also important for them to know how to design and conduct their own research.
Once an account planner collects their research data, they analyze it. They may use software for analyzing large amounts of data and work with the graphs, charts or condensed data the software creates. Critical thinking skills help account planners understand the data, find patterns and develop ideas for how to use the information. Critical thinking also can help them discover potential challenges and form solutions.
What education do account planners have?
Education requirements depend on the preferences of the agency or company you apply to because there aren't universal education expectations for account planners. It's common for companies to require at least a bachelor's degree, but some may hire employees with high school degrees if they also have relevant experience. You can often become an account planner with a degree in any subject, but some preferred degree areas for account planners include marketing, communications, media studies, journalism and psychology.
Many companies employing account planners value relevant experience in marketing or advertising. This can include positions in those industries, but it also can include related duties from jobs in other areas. You can also consider taking online courses in marketing or advertising subjects to make yourself a more competitive candidate.
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