Magazine article Marketing

The Problem with Planning

Magazine article Marketing

The Problem with Planning

Article excerpt

I suppose one of the principal objectives of a columnist should be to provoke reaction -- the more vehement the better. This can always be achieved by disputing current wisdom, which I did a few weeks ago by suggesting that importing planning from the advertising world was a silly idea for direct marketing agencies.

My iconoclasm earned me two outraged letters to Marketing the very next week, plus a basilisk glare from the head of planning at O&M Direct the very next day.

All concerned were aghast, I suppose, that if such a view became popular, it might lead to a wave of unemployment among planners. So I should make one point clear: it is neither planning nor planners I object to -- the first is essential, the second tend to be intelligent -- it is planning as a separate function or department.

In the letters three arguments emerged. The first can be quickly despatched: one correspondent inferred, with no evidence, that I was only interested in response and not the impact of the marketer. Those who know me will realise this is balderdash as well as being irrelevant.

A second argument was that surely creatives couldn't be expected to understand consumers. To which I would respond: it is precisely that ability which largely distinguishes good creative people from bad.

The third argument was that advertising would go downhill without planning. To realise what tripe this is, simply refer to the 60s, when Doyle Dane Bernbach, Collett Dickinson Pearce and others were creating advertising distinctly better than most of the stuff churned out today. …

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