Hey planners: you’re fired

  • Voices
  • April 20, 2017
  • Vincent Heeringa
Hey planners: you’re fired

I recently spoke at an event where media planners were in attendance. Apparently, I said something that upset someone enough to complain that I was wrong or stupid or offensive – or probably all the above.

What’s new? That’s my job.

My argument was this: in a world of exponential complexity, planners are bringing a linear model that belongs to another, simpler age. And they’ll soon be redundant as a species.

Perhaps a picture says it better. Here’s a picture of how we want customer acquisition to occur. It’s a linear, sensible journey that starts with the customer becoming aware of your brand through awareness, then making their way to consideration and acquisition and finally reaching a happy landing at Planet Retention.

In reality, the journey is much like this: a chaotic, unscripted, unpredictable path through a universe of choices. What’s more, the journey is traceable only after it has happened.

The complexity of this journey is a direct result of the three d’s of media: disintegration, disintermediation and disruption. Again, two pictures say a thousand words. Before the 1990s, media planning was a simple task of booking five channels. As my friend Mike Hutcheson says, by running a TVC, a radio campaign and an ad in The Listener you could reach anyone who wasn’t in a coma.

Now, the media world looks more like my shirt after a spaghetti Bolognese. Messy. 

It gets worse. This picture was made over a year ago and is already out of date. The speed of change is profound: new media channels, new planning tools and the rise of artificial intelligence is challenging marketers and planners like never before.

As Forrest Research said in 2103: “The traditional planning routine is ripe for extinction, as 69 percent of our marketing leaders say that conditions change too quickly to keep marketing plans current.” 

Part of the problem is that planners are bringing human-scale thinking to quantum-scale problems. In his book Exponential Organisations, Salim Ismail argues that we are now experiencing business growth at the same rate as technology, that is, at exponential rates. Take Facebook, Uber or AirBnB: these companies didn’t exist a few years ago but have grown to become overnight behemoths.

It’s all the result of Moore’s Law which states the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years. This has grown computing power exponentially – and accounts for the fact that you’re reading this fantastic article on a device with more IT power than Apollo 11.

That same power is now driving the complexity of our media landscape, including the number of channels, timeliness, quality and impact of interactions with consumers.

The only planner capable of handling complexity of this kind is a machine.

It’s why IBM expects its artificial intelligence engine, Watson, to become IBM’s media planner and buyer. According to the UK version of StopPress, The Drum, “Watson over time learns how effectively a campaign is performing for different audiences at different times, locations, devices and browser … In the US, IBM claims this has reduced its cost per click by as much as 71 percent, although the average hovers around the 31 percent mark”.

My message to media planners and buyers is simple: if you think that your job is important, wake up. Media planning and buying is fast becoming redundant; the age of complexity has arrived and you’re being replaced by a machine.

That’s pretty offensive, I guess.

Vincent Heeringa is the co-founder of StopPress.

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.

Effies 2017: FCB basks in golden glow, owns the night with Mercury

  • Awards
  • October 20, 2017
  • Erin McKenzie
Effies 2017: FCB basks in golden glow, owns the night with Mercury
Mercury and FCB

Last night, Auckland's Langham Hotel was taken over by advertising and marketing folk eager to celebrate the country’s most effective marketing campaigns at the 2017 NZ Effie Awards. Near 200 entries had been whittled down to 100 finalists before the best of the best were invited to the stage to bask in bronze, silver and gold. Here's the low down of who won what.

Read more
Sponsored content

New Zealand's love affair with Facebook

With Kiwis now spending around half of their media consumption time online, Mosh shares its advice for local businesses on Facebook.

topics
Beneath the Surface
Beneath the Surface
In this series, brought to you by Microsoft, we talk to a conceptual photographer, illustrator ...
Insight Creative
Insight Creative
Insight Creative specialises in shaping business stories out the core insights that often lie under ...
20/20 (tele)vision
20/20 (tele)vision
Media consumption is changing. But by how much?
The Hot List
The Hot List
Our rundown of the hottest shows, brands and creators in New Zealand media. 1. magazine ...
Cannes Lions 2017
Cannes Lions 2017
All the winners, the shortlists and the drama from this year's edition of advertising biggest ...
Merger Mania
Merger Mania
All our stories on the nation's two failed mergers in one place
Bauer Beyond the Page
Bauer Beyond the Page
When it comes to creating branded content, there are few better in the Kiwi market ...
The Indies
The Indies
Over the course of this series of articles, we look at how always-nimble indy agencies ...
AdRoll on automation
AdRoll on automation
Marketing automation is tipped to eventually become the only way advertising is traded in the ...
Game Changers
Game Changers
It’s all about PEOPLE. Join us as we discuss global insights, ideas and innovations from ...
TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 2015
TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 2015
Celebrating all the winners of the 2015 TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards.
Future Tense
Future Tense
In a new series, StopPress talks to a range of newsmakers currently trying to shine ...
Beyond the Page
Beyond the Page
In conjunction with the MPA, the Beyond the Page series shows how some of the ...
Up Country
Up Country
In conjunction with News Works, the Up Country series talks with some of New Zealand's ...
Sounding off
Sounding off
As part of a content partnership with MediaWorks, we've asked a few of the company's ...
StopPress Podcasts
StopPress Podcasts
We sit down for a chat with industry leaders to find out what they're up ...

Horse's Mouth: Kevin Kenrick, TVNZ

  • Podcast
  • October 19, 2017
  • Damien Venuto
Horse's Mouth: Kevin Kenrick, TVNZ

On the afternoon of TVNZ's new season launch, the broadcaster's chief executive Kevin Kenrick sat down with StopPress for a chat about the business.

Read more

Air New Zealand claims September Ad Impact award

  • Ad Impact
  • October 19, 2017
  • StopPress Team
Air New Zealand claims September Ad Impact award

It was a busy September with a range of brands releasing new spots in the lead up to the warmer months of the year. There could, however, only be one Colmar Brunton Ad Impact winner, and this time we saw a repeat winner step up to the podium.

Read more
voices
features

TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 2017: Why Whittaker's strategy is the best, bar none

Whittaker’s has grown from humble beginnings to a world-class chocolate company. Partnering with the domestic goddess Nigella Lawson, it’s encouraged consumers to join the switch ...

features

TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 2017: Karma Cola puts money where mouths are

Ethics may not be something traditionally associated with the soda industry, but for Karma Cola, creating good looking, great tasting, do-gooding drinks is at the ...

Sponsored content

Linkage analysis: data's hidden stories

Ipsos' Leo Cremonezl and Jonathan Dodd talk transforming your customer data into real financial and business benefits.

Next page
Results for
Topics
Jobs
About

StopPress provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

Advertise

Contact Vernene Medcalf at +64 21 628 200 to advertise in StopPress.

View Media Kit