Are Algorithms Killing The Planning Stars?

I recently attended MediaTel’s ‘Are algorithms killing the planning stars?’ conference which focused on a couple of key issues facing the industry. The first important topic covered was about data.The second big issue was about the customer journey and whether consumers are at the heart of this. The conference was extremely insightful to say the least and was hosted by a panel of well-experienced speakers from a variety of backgrounds.

The first topic, data, covered how media planners are currently using this resource to improve planning through enriched strategies. The panel converged with similar views that planners need a break from just numeric data to re-engage with human behaviour. This will help them to better understand their clients’ needs.

Tia Castagno, Head of Innovation and Content at Vizeum Global, mentioned that it is crucial to educate our planners on the creative process to holistically prepare them for existing and future challenges. It’s important to remember that the fundamental business and consumer challenges have not changed, but data can help turn our insights into gold. Data is not enough to get the full picture; getting out there and engaging with your audience, listening and understanding the issues they see from their perspective is what will give you the real game changers and keep your clients on their toes.

Dom Boyd, CSO Publicis London, captured this nicely with his assessment “sometimes it’s the stuff around the edges that is where the interesting bits are”. Rely on your human instincts and explore your options, find what information you can prove and leads you can make, but also learn from the mistakes along the way.

Dom Boyd believes that the customer journey is part of a larger jigsaw and by finding a problem to solve, one problem at a time, will coincidently solve the customer journey. Both creative and media agencies need to align on the issue at hand with pinpoint accuracy. The customer journey isn’t as simple as we think – too much data and thinking in the short-term is a recipe for disaster. Planners must also help their clients overcome this and not just optimise towards further sales. A great strategy is doing less, but creating more. Don’t lose focus of the overall outcomes. The problem is also the answer, Data.

Overall the panel understood that in order to keep a client afloat there has to be a behaviour message behind the product or service, something to create value for your audience and consumers. It is this added value that keeps agencies relevant to clients and our focus on insights and informed marketing strategies will force us to keep innovating and forging new ways of meeting client objectives. The challenges surrounding data use for our industry are not just short term but must continue into the medium and long term to protect our agency/client and client/consumer relationships.


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