The process of market and client research, development of a strategy that is specific to the client's needs, and the programmes and creative briefs that address them. The function was developed in UK advertising agencies in the 1960s but is also used widely in the US. The account planning process uses research from potential consumers in the marketplace to inform advertising and message development. The account planner acts as the ‘conscience’ of the market, and brings to bear the mindset of the end consumer and target audience to the development of advertising messages prior to testing with the actual clients themselves. Recently, account planning has come to describe how sales personnel plan commercial relations for their major customers. See also advertising; advertising agency.