The Plain Truth About Account Planning

In my opinion, Account Planning is one of the fastest growing departments in healthcare advertising.  It seems to be of highest interest to people just getting into the industry or uncertain they want to stay in it. I know that were it a discipline that existed when I entered the market, I would have begged to have been a part of it.

While Account Planning has great popularity, with it comes many unknowns.  I like to think of it as a high interest, high confusion discipline.  And because planners come from all walks of life, it’s difficult to consistently “summarize” what makes for a good planner.  

In an attempt to clear the confusion in 300 words, here are 10 things one should know about Account Planners:

  1. We are confused with Account Managers because we have “Account” in our title.
  2. The difference is Account Planners are the voice of the customer.  Account Managers are the voice of the brand.
  3. Being the “voice” means that we position ourselves as if we are the customer, much like FBI behavioral experts.  Simply put, we’re emotional for a reason.
  4. We have an insatiable curiosity to get to hidden truths (insights).
  5. Getting to an insight is a laborious adventure.  Therefore, we mentally stock pile information and dig for meaning.
  6. We are storytellers who use as little words as possible.
  7. We are in constant beta for fresh ways to get ideas.
  8. Most planners can rattle off their favorite commercials immediately.  The downside is that we can’t look at ads without trying to figure out the customer insight.
  9. An unhappy planner is one who is not inspired or one who doesn’t have time to think.
  10. A happy planner is one who makes what they do seem effortless.

 …and there you have it…The Plain Truth About Account Planning