Want a job as an insight miner?

Want a job as an insight miner?

This career guide is exclusively for the ‘Women at work’ Telegraph feature. It is about the role of an account planner in advertising and includes the skills and experience needed and a ‘day in the life’ of one senior female Insights Director.

The job of the account planner is to get under the skin of the consumer who buys the brand (s) from the clients, do research, identify insights, brief the creatives and define brands to appeal to the target consumers. Account planners need to be curious, interested and understand the motivations, lives and buying behaviour of the consumer or ‘target audience’ as they are known. Keeping up with consumer, trade and market trends is another important part of the account planner’s role – these are increasingly fast changing but essential to get insights into what consumers think, feel and do so that sound decisions based on insight are made and the client’s products and services stand out in the right way at the right time and are appealing vs. competitors.

Account planners can be generalists or specialists e.g. digital, creative, brand depending on the size of agency and nature of clients. They start off as junior and can be promoted to senior planner, head of planning or Insights Director. In smaller agencies, the role of account planner and account manager can be combined. Account planning is a good area to do freelance and future careers cam morph into working for think tanks, brand consultancies, market research or self-employed freelance work.

Core skills/experience needed to be an account planner:

  • Intelligent rigorous logical and lateral thinkers
  • Incisive, insightful and objective  
  • Understands and passionate about brands
  • Interested in ideas and how they persuade people
  • Curious about trends and consumer/human behaviour
  • Good communication, numerate and presentation skills  
  • Good at analysis, synthesis and insight mining
  • Persuasive and diplomatic representing the voice of the consumer
  • Good at clear briefing of creatives and research agencies  
  • Translate practical features into emotional benefits
  • Love ideas and communication/media
  • Pragmatic ensuring that the client’s business objectives are achieved and a return on investment/expectation is realised
  • Monitoring and tracking of performance and achievement against defined objectives