Is it possible that media planners in today's market are way too dependent on the research tools in the marketplace and is it possible they are losing the ability to think creatively? Is it possible that they are planning poorly?
The answer, from my perspective, is yes.
I see and hear all sorts of horror stories about the RFP's that media people send out and I bear witness to the lack of intelligent thought that is applied to the business of media planning. Did you know that most media planners ask the sales people to fill in templates for their decks these days rather than write the decks themselves? Did you know that if your site doesn't show up in Comscore or @Plan that you have virtually no chance of getting on a buy? Did you know that some planners will layer in 4 or 5 ad networks into a single campaign and have no idea what the duplication is among those networks?
These are all true stories. i won't even get into the ridiculousness of the other questions such as "can you take my $10,000 budget and run that in 25 top markets"? These are a portion of the reason why it is so hard to get effective campaigns in the marketplace - the lack of intelligent thought being applied to the business.
Planners need to do more of their own work. They need to think before they RFP. My teams have always known that 75% of the work should come before they send out RFP's. You should not be sending an RFP to a site that has no chance of making it on the plan. All you are doing is creating work for someone and not acknowledging their time or respecting them as people. This is not how you do business. Imagine what it would be like if your client kept asking you to do plans for their business, say 5 or 6 in a year, and they never ran any of them and they never told you why. I think it's safe to say that you would be frustrated and upset. Imagine if they asked you to reach a 100% SOV against Men 18-34 in the US and they gave you a budget of $15,000 for the year. That would be stupid, wouldn't it?
Now go look at what you are RFP'ing. It's pretty ridiculous.
And do not rely 100% on @Plan and Comscore. There are lots of ways to get a message in front of the customer that are not shown in these tools. There are lots of innovative ways to reach a customer without spending money on paid placements and some of the smaller sites that may offer a 100% composition of your target are not tracked there, so you shouldn't overlook them.
Of course, you could just go back to being a time-wasting, paper-pushing lackey, if you like. It's your choice :-)