Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Apparent Lack Of Intelligence in Online Media Planning. Scary, Isn't it?

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 :-)

1 comment:

Bennett said...

"Think before you RFP" deserves to be inscribed in the creases of every planner's brain. And "Think before you RESPOND" should be burned deep into sell-side minds!

Spraying ill-considered RFPs all over creation is absurd and disrespectful, but sellers share blame for answering every damn one of them.

Many sellers are incapable of turning down even the most obvious crank "opportunity." No matter how many times they're told to reject these time-guzzlers, they don't back down.

Just as planners use RFPs to get others to do their work, sellers use them (a) as proof that they're working their pipelines and (b) as bargaining chips they can play later with buyers who now owe them something.

The system is rotten to its core, and your post is a great step toward fixing it. Your article will be featured at our next sales meeting. I also plan to use it every time I tell a rep to say "no, thanks" to a snowball's-chance-in- hell RFP. Bennett Zucker