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Revitalizing the Lost Art of Media Planning

Revitalizing the Lost Art of Media Planning

John Paul Cadman

John Paul Cadman

January 23, 2019

Havas Media Group London’s John Paul Cadman asks if anyone still cares about media planning

Econsultancy

By John Paul Cadman
Group Chief Planning Officer, Havas Media Group London

January 23, 2019

 

I’ve recently changed roles.

As part of the process of figuring out where I wanted to work, I spoke to a number of senior people (clients, media agencies, and media owners) who were generous enough to spare me some time and answer two questions:

  •     Does anybody still care about media planning?
  •     How can we make everyone care about it?

I knew the answer to the first question would be “yes”—if it was a “no,” then I probably wouldn’t be writing this piece. You only have to read about some recent IPA Effectiveness Awards or sit in on an econometrics debrief if you need any reassurance about the contribution that robust media planning can make to a client’s business. However, their answers to the second question reinforced my belief that protecting the skill of media planning and ensuring teams have time to do it has become more and more challenging in recent years.

Media agencies have evolved significantly over the last decade, with the pace of change increasing every year and the diversification of products and services showing no signs of slowing down. The shrinking amount of time spent managing and delivering these services for clients has meant that agency people also have less time to take a step back and think more holistically about how best to deploy media for their clients’ businesses.

Meanwhile, training time and budgets have been equally stretched, with programs changing to accommodate a number of developments in the industry: data management, tech stacks, planning, and optimization, to name just a few.

Pressure from all sides

Media agencies are experiencing pressure from all sides, with in-housing, direct deals, and management consultancies moving into their territory, not to mention their direct competitors.

Conversely, we are starting to understand more about how advertising and media work, thanks to the likes of Byron Sharp and Binet & Field, resources which should make the job of media planning easier.

We also have an abundance of data and tools, meaning the basics of great media planning (right person, right message, right time) should be easier than ever to execute against. The explosion of platforms, touchpoints, and technology may have created the perception that media planning is too complicated to properly engage if there’s no let up on day-to-day delivery.

My conversations, however, reassured me that clients really want and expect robust media planning and place a great value on it. We just need to make sure we deliver it! It feels like we need to rebalance and focus on what media agencies are ultimately here to do for clients, which is almost always maximizing return of their media investment. We need to think about how we create and reinforce a culture that expects great media planning as part and parcel of what is delivered for clients.

In order to ensure great media planning sits at the heart of our offering, I believe there are two things media agencies need to do:

1. Data

Agencies must ensure that data and proof are woven into the planning process from brief to execution, to remove subjectivity where possible. There are many instances of “I think…,” “I believe…,” “I remember that…,” which means that teams default to what they perceive to be the right answer without checking whether or not it’s actually the case. To help our teams at Havas Group Media, we are creating planning dashboards to help make data available in one place.

2. Operations

We must focus on operationalizing the planning process as much as possible, to enable teams to spend more time thinking about what the data is showing and change the plan accordingly. To a large degree, the planning process in a media agency is a combination of different tools, documents, and thought processes. This is massively inefficient and makes it hard to ensure a level of consistency across the agency. To combat this, we are creating an operating system on a single platform.

 

Read the full article

Econsultancy

By John Paul Cadman
Group Chief Planning Officer, Havas Media Group London

January 23, 2019

 

I’ve recently changed roles.

As part of the process of figuring out where I wanted to work, I spoke to a number of senior people (clients, media agencies, and media owners) who were generous enough to spare me some time and answer two questions:

  •     Does anybody still care about media planning?
  •     How can we make everyone care about it?

I knew the answer to the first question would be “yes”—if it was a “no,” then I probably wouldn’t be writing this piece. You only have to read about some recent IPA Effectiveness Awards or sit in on an econometrics debrief if you need any reassurance about the contribution that robust media planning can make to a client’s business. However, their answers to the second question reinforced my belief that protecting the skill of media planning and ensuring teams have time to do it has become more and more challenging in recent years.

Media agencies have evolved significantly over the last decade, with the pace of change increasing every year and the diversification of products and services showing no signs of slowing down. The shrinking amount of time spent managing and delivering these services for clients has meant that agency people also have less time to take a step back and think more holistically about how best to deploy media for their clients’ businesses.

Meanwhile, training time and budgets have been equally stretched, with programs changing to accommodate a number of developments in the industry: data management, tech stacks, planning, and optimization, to name just a few.

Pressure from all sides

Media agencies are experiencing pressure from all sides, with in-housing, direct deals, and management consultancies moving into their territory, not to mention their direct competitors.

Conversely, we are starting to understand more about how advertising and media work, thanks to the likes of Byron Sharp and Binet & Field, resources which should make the job of media planning easier.

We also have an abundance of data and tools, meaning the basics of great media planning (right person, right message, right time) should be easier than ever to execute against. The explosion of platforms, touchpoints, and technology may have created the perception that media planning is too complicated to properly engage if there’s no let up on day-to-day delivery.

My conversations, however, reassured me that clients really want and expect robust media planning and place a great value on it. We just need to make sure we deliver it! It feels like we need to rebalance and focus on what media agencies are ultimately here to do for clients, which is almost always maximizing return of their media investment. We need to think about how we create and reinforce a culture that expects great media planning as part and parcel of what is delivered for clients.

In order to ensure great media planning sits at the heart of our offering, I believe there are two things media agencies need to do:

1. Data

Agencies must ensure that data and proof are woven into the planning process from brief to execution, to remove subjectivity where possible. There are many instances of “I think…,” “I believe…,” “I remember that…,” which means that teams default to what they perceive to be the right answer without checking whether or not it’s actually the case. To help our teams at Havas Group Media, we are creating planning dashboards to help make data available in one place.

2. Operations

We must focus on operationalizing the planning process as much as possible, to enable teams to spend more time thinking about what the data is showing and change the plan accordingly. To a large degree, the planning process in a media agency is a combination of different tools, documents, and thought processes. This is massively inefficient and makes it hard to ensure a level of consistency across the agency. To combat this, we are creating an operating system on a single platform.

 

Read the full article

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