I’m a big fan of media planning.
Not the sort of mouse-clicking, box-ticking rubbish that goes on way too often … but the sort of planning that truly demonstrates an understanding of cultural behaviour to help realise a clients commercial ambitions.
Now that sort of approach is nothing new, if anything, it has been the basis of how media planning was supposed to work from day one … which is why I never fail to be amazed when certain specialist agencies make it sound they’re being revolutionary when all they’re actually doing is adopting the fundamental approach of their discipline.
But what really bugs me is that despite all their big [read: small] talk … despite them having more data, tools and opportunities at their fingertips than ever before … media planning was arguably more inventive in the past than it is in the present.
Of course, part of the reason for this is that the most important attribute a client wants in their media partner is quantifiability … which means they are automatically limited to choosing platforms that already have industry ‘measurement criteria and benchmarks’ built-in.
Now I totally understand and appreciate why clients regard this as important, however knowing how many people have been exposed to a message is very different to approaching communication with the goal of influencing change of attitude or behaviour.
It’s for this reason that I still find it amazing how few companies give their media partners 10-20% of their media budget to experiment or explore alternate approaches with. It’s almost like they feel safe in the comfort of predictability – which is of course exactly why they don’t do it, because in corporateland, it’s better to not cause any surprises than run the risk of doing something great.
How I wish they would. Not just so infectious creativity could be put back into media strategy … not just so they could see how impactful this approach can be on their business … not just so some very good and talented media strategist mates of mine could truly show how brilliant they are when given real freedom … but to stop out-of-date, slightly awkward, speeches like the one above from ever happening again.
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