Account Planning is a marketing discipline, developed by British advertising agencies in the 1970s as a way to include the consumer’s point of view in the creation of business strategy. As the discipline evolved, it spread to design consultancies, direct marketing and PR agencies, and client marketing departments, across Europe and around the world. It is based in part on these tenets:
- New technology, product parity, and private label competition put pressure on brands to differentiate themselves. As markets become more competitive, brands have to become more sophisticated in both their promise and delivery.
- Brand symbolism is a special language for expressing the range of needs that products and services satisfy. Marketers must use inventive ways of eliciting consumer response if they are going to understand the richness of brands and how consumers relate to them.
- The customer journey has grown ever more complex. Before making a purchase, a consumer will likely engage brands through channels that didn’t exist five years ago. Models of consumer decision making must be constantly updated to adequately account for how people are actually deciding.
- Attention and persuasion are under the consumer’s control, not the advertiser’s. The question now is not what advertising does to people, but rather what people do with advertising.