Tuesday, June 17, 2008

24 Hr Self-Serve. Media Planner Evolution

Google’s self-serve buffet continues to roll-out, with Google TV ads (currently only available in the US) complimenting their online and radio offers by allowing users to schedule, buy, analyse and optimise their TV schedules. Overlay the results with their online and radio data via Google Analytics and you have a one-stop-shop to measure cross-media effectiveness.. or does it?

Bless Google for providing us with these tools, but while it does provide a somewhat over-simplified approach to media buying and optimisation, does this open the door to a lazy, self-optimising approach to media buys? If x delivers y for z ROI, then a ok? For many, this will be the case. It’s still early days, but if the Google model works for TV, the reach and targeting improve, it really does have the potential to redefine the modern day role of a media planner. It opens up an opportunity to add depth in two key areas I feel need the most attention - consumer psychology and data analyse and interpretation.

Take a quick job ad for a Media Planner on SEEK, the description states they’re after -

  1. Campaign Optimisation
  2. Development of media concepts and plans
  3. Developing innovative and effective communication solutions
  4. Maintaining effective relationships with clients and ensuring in depth knowledge of their business and its needs
  5. Media negotiation and buying
  6. Researching past brand or product strategies and results, competitive actions, consumer behavior and changes to the marketplace
  7. Understanding and interpretation of research, market data and systems
  8. Produce media plans identifying mediums, timings, weights and cost estimates
  9. Prepare presentations and reports
In theory Google has the ability to alleviate large chunks of 1, 2, 5, 8 and 9. Let’s ignore 3 and 4 for one second and focus on the remaining numbers 6 and 7 – two clearly distinct roles I feel will evolve in importance and demand for clients in the future.

You need someone who is able to proudly wear the cap of number 6, truly understand and define a brands audience, their behaviour relative to the brand, campaign and how they interact with media – all media, not just your traditional above-the-line categories we are all familiar with, but new media, social media and the yet-to-be-defined media.

You also need someone who is happy to wear number the 7 cap, delve deep into the available data sources, filtering, sorting, refining and identifying what metrics are important and why they are important relative to the brand and campaign objectives. This is all the more important in the online world, where everything is measureable, a lot of data, but not a lot of sense in what data is important.

These are truly value-generating roles, one’s that will push the ad industry forward, provide true value to clients, and from this result in numbers 3 and 4 for the media planner – innovative and effective communications solutions that deliver on client objectives and satisfaction.