Richard directed them to the APG, where you can download a short document called "What is Account Planning?".
One thing that jumped out at me was the origin of the term: account planner is a fusion of account person and media planner because Stephen King's new department was supposed to be a hybrid between these disciplines - a derivation that I think is particularly relevant today when the division between creative and media planning is becoming less and less helpful - if you want to understand people you need to understand how they interact with media - so much of what constitutes life now falls under the heading of mediated experience.
In my inter-roamings, I then came across another great document: The Anatomy of Account Planning - The Creativity behind Creativity by Henrik Habberstad, a planner at Dinamo in Oslo.
It's a rather excellent analysis of the craft, covering its history, practice and some thoughts about the future, with input from some of the best brains in the business.
It has a couple of things to add to the Adliterate debate:
However, as Nick Kendall, Group Planning Director of Bartle Bogle Hegarty says, planning in the narrowest sense is about input of research to the process of creating advertising, but if you stop here, you’re in trouble.
I contacted Henrik and he has kindly agreed to allow me to [re]publish his paper here - it was written as part of an MSC in Advertising and Communication back in 2000. You can Download it here.
I'll leave the last word on this to Stephen King himself:
“Henrik Habberstad has clearly done an enormous amount of research about account planning and talked to a lot of people. I can’t believe that there’s much remaining about the topic that hasn’t been covered; so this will be the most detailed and comprehensive paper available on planning”
- Stephen King -