advertising research strategist/account planner

Department: Account Planning

Reports to: Director of Strategy, President 

Status: Exempt

the agency:

Spawn is a fully integrated advertising agency that’s independent and employee owned (ESOP) which means everyone on our team has “skin in the game.” There are no sideliners at Spawn, just a bold and resourceful team with enough courage to summit any challenge. We know that when the agency succeeds, we succeed as individuals.

Spawn is an agency that punches above its weight. In both 2017 and 2018, we were Ad Age Small Agency of the Year winners – as a standout northwest agency and, nationwide, for great culture. And we’ve been named one of Outside Magazine’s 50 Best Places to Work in America for 11 years running.  

Won’t you join us? We need an Advertising Research Strategist/Account Planner (Planner).

position summary:

The Planner role at Spawn is all about leading customer fluency. This position ensures we know our clients’ current and potential customers inside-out. The Planner uses a variety of tools including conducting primary research, sourcing relevant secondary research, analyzing sales data, and creating journey maps, etc. to write insight briefs for the agency team (account, creative and media). 

successful candidates:

  • Create inspiring, research-based, insightful briefs that serve as the foundation for any given client campaign 
  • Apply, develop, and conduct different primary research techniques to unearth insights that spark the creative process, inform media placements, and/or business recommendations (product, price, placement, promotion) 
  • Evaluate the effects of the campaign in the marketplace by tracking results against established KPI and business objectives outlined in the brief 
  • Collaborate across departments to ensure strategic ideas are accessible, timely, and actionable 
  • Maintain accurate timesheets that are completed by required deadlines


key responsibilities:

  • Research: 
    • Develop and recommend appropriate research plans for a given client project. Given budget, need, timing, etc., these plans may consist of secondary research and/or primary including both quantitative and qualitative. The Planner will put these into a format that is client-ready including rational, benefit, methodology, and pricing. 
    • Implement proposed research plans including in-depth interviews, focus groups, shop-alongs, quantitative surveys, etc., adhering to research best-practices. 
    • When needed, commission research for a given project. When a research partner is used, it is the responsibility of the Planner to serve as the liaison between the research partner and the Account Supervisor, ensuring the work is on time, on budget, and up to Spawn’s standards. 
    • Monitor cultural and social trends, and their impact on consumers’ attitudes, behavior and perceptions, using a variety of market and research data.
    • Researching the product or service, which may involve gaining technical or specific knowledge.
    • Reconciling the differences between consumers’ current perception of the brand and the way in which the client wishes the brand to be perceived.
  • Insight Brief Development:
    • Lead the brief development – the strategic communication approach that will be the most effective in reaching a client’s business objectives. The early stages of the brief development should include input and ideas from Account Management, Media and Creative Departments. The brief will be documented in a consistent, client-ready format and saved in a central location for all team members to access and refer to. 
    • Present the brief to the client, incorporate any feedback, revise and finalize the brief.
    • Lead an inspiring team briefing which will include the following teams: Account, Creative, and Media. Allow for collaboration and feedback. 
    • Lead a post-brief check in directly with the creative team. These short sessions (30-mins or less) will allow for any additional clarifications and questions from the team to ensure we are on track and on strategy for concepting. 
    • Review concepts with the creative team and ensure they are on-brief. 
    • Co-present creative concepts to the client, highlighting the brief. 
    • Once creative concepts are approved by the client, provide a high-level messaging strategy to the account team for the Greenlight meeting lead by Project Managers. 
    • Debriefs
  • Analysis & Data Science:
    • Reporting: measure the effectives of a campaign by analyzing available data from the client. Provide client-ready reporting that is first shared internally, then to client to prove effectiveness and/or recommend campaign adjustments. 
    • Business Intelligence: use data science methodologies to analyze client sales data to make strategic recommendations on product, price, placement or promotion.


knowledge and skills:  

Communication Skills:

  • Clear written and verbal presentation skills and style
  • Ability to present in a manner that influences and leads others around a great idea
  • Ability to see, communicate and implement on brand level
  • Ability to manage people and projects
  • Able to communicate in a clear, coherent and professional manner


Client Relationships:

  • Integral and visible part of the client team leading creative strategy and insights. The Planner should have a minimum of once-a-month+ communication with the client. 


Leadership Responsibilities:

  • Natural leader
  • Collaborative team member 
  • Self-starter goes above and beyond on tasks
  • Manages up and down
  • Show ability to lead a room/team in thinking


education and experience:

  • 3-5 years of experience in advertising as a Planner at a creative agency or on a creative brand
  • Proven quantitative research experience and qualitative research experience (tracking studies, focus groups, in-depth interviews, ethnographic research – any type of interviewing skills) with an ability to see and adapt insights
  • Innate curiosity and aptitude to learn about marketing, brands, advertising, communications, culture, people, etc. a burning desire to dig into what makes them tick
  • Creative and/or an appreciation for creativity, desire to be part of a creative environment and is excited about the creative process
  • Recognizes magic and shows experience of knowing what to do with it
  • Seeks out opportunity and challenge


The Perks

Outstanding benefits. Spawn Ideas pays a generous portion of each employee’s insurance premium for themselves and their families. Beyond the basics, employees can be reimbursed for participating in walk/run races, for park passes, etc. Spawn is a hybrid work/office agency. Our Anchorage office is located one block from the Coastal Trail (a popular ski/walk/run trail), and just blocks from salmon fishing right downtown.

  • In addition, Spawn benefits include being automatically enrolled in our ESOP (employee stock ownership program) plan, annual performance-based discretionary bonus, 401K, medical, dental, vision, paid vacation and sick days, company paid holidays and summer and holiday hours programs that allow more time with family and more time enjoying the outdoors.
  • Spawn Ideas is an equal opportunity employer (EOE). We support diversity in the workforce. Reasonable accommodations will be considered for disabled individuals.


Physical Requirements

Seeing: Able to read reports and use computer

Hearing: Able to hear well enough to communicate with co-workers, vendors, and clients, in person and on phone

Strength and Mobility: Ability to lift at least 10 pounds and mobile enough to perform basic tasks, such as replacing paper in printers, etc. 

Other: Must have a valid driver’s license and access to personal transportation.