Account Planner

Strategic Services Cleveland, Ohio


Job Description

They say you should do what you love, and I do. I am challenged with new puzzles and fascinating perspectives every single day. I get to put myself in the shoes of others and spend some time looking at life from their eyes. I get to stretch my mind into new territories to find insightful patterns or exceptions to the rules. Every day is different, which means that 2 years in, I’m still energized by my job and I’m still learning at every step. I cross paths with a lot of different people in my work. Each of them has different stories to tell; habits to observe; strengths to learn from. I’ve learned to cater my interactions accordingly to bring out our best. I know people depend on my thoughts and my work to do theirs well, which I find both a flattering vow of confidence and one heck of a motivator. These people inspire me day in and day out in what we’re able to accomplish together. I’ll be honest, I work my butt off sometimes to get the job done well, but I’m not afraid of digging in. It’s those projects that I look back on and feel a sense of accomplishment, knowing they gave me an opportunity to prove myself on another level. Of course it helps that those kinds of things are recognized where I work and my company makes big efforts to balance things out. I have the flexibility and support to work how I know I work best and to seek development opportunities that excite me.


I’m an account planner at Marcus Thomas in Cleveland, an agency that – like me – thrives on impossible challenges. At any given time, I could be working on a single client or 10 different clients challenges, depending on what the task is. It’s my work that feeds a strategic path forward for a client’s complex brand and marketing problems. Part of my job is equipping our very creative, curious communications teams with the direction and momentum that enables them to invent unique, impossibly effective communications.


So how would you like to understand this job description through my eyes rather than through a typical human resources job posting? Go ahead, read my story to understand a typical day in my life.


Some days I might come in late or work from home; the agency is very flexible on schedules. But I know I’ve got a lot on my plate, so I got to the office early today. First thing on my agenda is creating a draft of a discussion guide for some qualitative interviews we’re doing. Ultimately, I’ll be using these to map out buyer journeys for one of our B2C clients, but that’s a couple weeks down the road. I’ll also be pulling data from our syndicated research tools like MRI and Forrester Technographics, and after the IDIs are done I’ll be putting together a survey for the quant we’ll be doing and then analyzing the results. Once the buyer journeys are compiled, I’ll also be part of the presentation team when we share all this with the client. Today, I’m just drafting the IDI discussion guide and will be reviewing it later with the senior planner on the project.


Later in the morning I switch gears and focus on a pure strategy project. I’m working with another planner to put together a brand portfolio strategy for one of our B2B clients. This particular client has been on an acquisition kick and now has a group of brands they need to sort out and make sense of. We’re helping them figure out which brands to keep or discard, how to align the different brands across different markets and how the brands share equity among themselves. I have already drafted a document that outlines the core elements of their parent brand and the primary sub-brands, and what I’m doing now should help pull everything together. The client has a lot riding on this, so I have to be sure I’ve thought through all the variables. A mistake can cost them millions in lost market opportunity.


I’m going to lunch today with my boss to chat about how things are going, what I’m excelling in, what I need to work on and what assistance I might need. These lunches are a regular occurrence – usually twice a month or so –that make me feel like I’m connecting with and getting the help I need from my supervisor. There’s an open door policy here at the agency, so questions and chats are always welcome, but it’s nice to know I always have these opportunities to talk.


In the afternoon I start work on a team briefing for a new product one of our clients is bringing to market next spring. I’ve already met with the social, search and analytics teams to get some insight on the interests and buyer journey of the consumer. I’ll be reviewing data from our research team and input from the client. My job is to take all of this and 1) figure out what the team needs to focus on that will prompt the consumer to take action (based on who they are, what they need/want and how this product delivers), and 2) equip the team with the right mix of information and inspiration that will spark something special as they start to come up with ideas.


After work I’m getting together with a group of my colleagues at a bar in Tremont that one of them is part owner of (it’s true). Last month a group of us participated in a local charity benefit at the zoo. I like that there are quite a few ways I can connect with my colleagues outside of work—there’s always something going on and a group of people looking to hang out.


Tomorrow at the agency, I’m sure my day will be different. I’ll continue to work on these projects, but I won’t be surprised if something new is dropped in my lap. That’s one of the things I enjoy about what I do – lots of variety and a very fast pace. I try to manage my time so that I always have some agency or self-development projects to work on when it slows down a bit. I do sometimes feel stressed because of how much is happening and how fast everything moves, but I feel like I get the support I need to deal with it. And the office environment helps. It’s very relaxed, people seem to genuinely like each other, and we all get along really well. No monster egos to navigate, very little drama. And, of course, dogs in the office, free beer, cookouts in the summer. It makes work seem less like work.


Do you want my job? Is your interest piqued and you’re up for this kind of challenge? Then write us back with your story take us through the reasons you would make a mark as our next account planner.