Lonely media planner, we hear you
New technologies are creating more
opportunities for media planners but things are far from
The pace of change seems breath
taking. The pace of change is going to continue to get faster
The industry is full of questions. Ad
fraud and viewability. Fake news is tarnishing reputations. The
calculation of audience views is not standardised across platforms
or across the globe.
The task of the media planner has got
Take TV. A dozen years ago a media planner thinking of placing
video assets at scale was largely faced with the challenge of
deciding between planning into space on the TV in the corner of the
living room or going with some cinema.
They might worry that some households
had a second or third TV in the bedroom and kitchen, and that this
might fragment family viewing. They might consider investing in
cinema - that decision was at the time largely made on the basis of
whether the video asset was cinematic enough, because there was no
comparative way of measuring audience across TV and cinema.
Now of course there's much more to
consider. TV versus VoD. Lovely big TV sets, with friends or family
gathered round, versus solitary viewing on smartphone screens or
tablets in bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and on the bus. "As TV",
which is what Group M's Rob Norman, CDO, calls web destination TV
like YouTube Preferred, in-app video, feed based video, and of
course, if your asset is cinematic enough for the big screen,
cinema - because there is still no standardised comparative
audience measurement here, let alone between all the other
What does this all add up to? More
complications. More opportunities.
The task of the media planner has also
There's much more evidence of outcomes now than ever in the data
streams media agencies are analysing.
The media planner has more data to
consider and more informed judgements to make. Judgements about
media planning from scratch, with zero based budgeting assumptions.
Judgements based on evidence based arguments for planning
assumptions. Judgements about sorting the real facts from the
multiple factoids that circulate.
This is how the empirical or
evidence-based media planner might get lonely.
The media planner may find they need
to hint to the creative agency that their lovely 40-second ad might
need significant amending before it is fit for purpose for social
They might find they need to challenge
media owner research. They will have to balance the different joint
industry body definitions of audience to deliver one cohesive view
across a multi-media plan.
Don't mistake this for unfriendliness
or lack of desire to collaborate, by the way. Without a shadow of a
doubt, as my CEO Josh Krichefski recently stated, most of the
award-winning work in this industry comes from collaboration with
media owner and agency partners. Great fruitful collaborations that
help brands to thrive.
And yet it can be lonely to be an
evidence-based planner. It is their job to ask difficult questions,
to speak truth to power and to jostle the apple cart. It isn't
their job to spend the most money in the most fashionable medium.
It isn't their job to preserve the status quo. It's their job, and
it is needed now more than ever, to love numbers, to embrace
disruption and to love real consumer insight, to look for the
substantiated facts, try the new, to be ambitious for their clients
and to remain media neutral.
By Sue Unerman, Chief Transformation