WHO IS DAN CARLTON? AND WHY DID HE START A SCHOOL FOR ACCOUNT PLANNING?
To answer all that, a little backstory.
Dan started his planning career at the age of 22 fresh out of a small liberal arts university tucked away in the corn fields of western Pennsylvania.
He had no formal training in Account Planning. In fact, his school only offered ONE related course… “Marketing 101.” (Not “Advertising 101,” not “Strategic Planning 101,” not “Consumer Research 101,” and definitely not “Account Planning 101.”)
Without any credentials or pedigree, Dan somehow got lucky and, for reasons still unknown to him, one of the best Account Planning agencies in the the states took a chance on him.
He started off at the back of the pack with a lot of ground to make up. With serious college debt, he wasn’t about to walk away from a regular paycheck to attend a far-off planning school. So he resorted to the next best option.
He read everything he could get his hands on. Dusty old planning books. APG award show annuals. Heady blog posts from some of the best planners in the world. And he soaked up as much as he could from smart (yet busy) planners that he worked with at his first agency and then his next.
The studying began to stick and by the age of 26, Dan had won a Gold APG award and contributed to 8 EFFIE winning campaigns. He doesn't talk much about those because he doesn't care much for awards. He hasn't entered his work into an award show in the 15 years since.
Dan loves the craft. It’s all he ever wanted to do. He finds something alluring about trying to change someone’s mind or opinion in 30 seconds or less.
He's always been a bit of a reclusive strategist. Until recently, living off the social media grid and immersing himself in the work.
He's gained so much from those he's been fortunate to work with and has now found it’s time to share what he's learned with others.
PlannerU is a bit of a passion project for Dan. He's still very much at the helm of the company he started back in 2004, The PARAGRAPH Project. The insights and strategy work he gets to do with partner agencies and clients will always come first. However, carving out a little time to contribute content to PlannerU seems like a worthwhile investment to him.
Odds are you’ve never heard of Dan or his company. But perhaps that just might mean that some of the curriculum he shares at PlannerU could be new to you as well.
That’s Dan's goal, anyway.