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The Media Planner’s Point of View on Change Management

November 1st, 2018   ||    by Susan Kuchinskas

Media planner: Are you ready for artificial intelligence to take over your job? Broadcasting & Cable recently got the media planner’s point of view on changes in the game. The panel of media executives identified AI and its subset, machine learning, as the most disruptive forces in the agency world.

AI can uncover hidden patterns in consumer behavior to help planners reach their target audiences more effectively, and it can automate many lower-level tasks—and even some strategic ones. Volkswagen already is using a specialized AI platform to make media recommendations in Germany, Digiday says.

AI could also revitalize the job. The dominant argument in the industry is that automation will free media planners from rote tasks and let them focus on more creative and valuable work, as AdAge points out.

Change Needed

AI is the buzziest example—but not the only one—of how technology will transform processes for media planners.

In Videa’s Change Management survey, 64 percent of media agency folk complained that local TV inventory buying and selling is either mostly or completely manual. And that’s a waste of their time and talent.

Instead of spending time on the minutiae of creating a media plan, technology could let them work more closely with the agency’s data scientists. As data drives more advertising of all kinds, this can pay off not only in more effective plans but also in client satisfaction.

From the media planner’s point of view, keeping up-to-date with new media or ad tech is often last on the to-do list; automation could free time to learn about new offerings like programmatic television.

A recent job listing on LinkedIn from GroupM’s MODI shows how the media planner’s role is changing. First off, the job title is Media Analyst/Planner. That word “analyst” is telling. This planner will need to apply strategic thinking to TV media plans. Moreover, a key requirement is the ability to use advanced television, including addressable television and hyper-local targeting. In other words, addressable TV chops are a must-have for today’s planner.

Changes for the Better

From the media planner’s point of view, buying time slots has already changed dramatically. Soon, they’ll have to incorporate programmatic selling into their repertoires.

Today, 77 percent of media agencies said they didn’t have time to access real-time inventory. Programmatic TV will let planners quickly and efficiently buy real-time spots. Better yet, they’ll be able to use the same consumer data for television advertising that they use to buy, analyze, and optimize digital programmatic media. They’ll be able to buy across market clusters and optimize audiences across schedules.

One essential area that planners must stay current on is advertising metrics. The convergence of linear and digital television, along with automation throughout the TV advertising process, will let planners get a better handle on ad performance. For example, with addressable TV and real-time buys, local broadcast could prove to be highly effective for national advertisers.

Positive Outlook

In our survey, 91 percent of respondents said they were personally enthusiastic about trying new technology that’s intended to create change in the TV advertising industry. Another 84 percent said their organizations were enthusiastic, too.

Indeed, tomorrow’s successful media planners can’t overlook new opportunities like these. One media agency respondent told us, “If I cannot keep up and become an expert in the changes occurring, there is the possibility of someone who is more knowledgeable replacing me.”

As Ben Winkler, chief transformation officer at Omnicom media agency OMD, says in AdAge, “It’s evolve or die.”


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