Here is the presentation I gave this morning to a packed room of 70 media executives at the iMedia Agency Summit at the Camelback Inn in Scottsdale, AZ (super nice place btw!):

I presented our research that shows it costs more than $40k to create and execute a digital media plan and that executing a digital media plan involves a 42-step process. This process seems so ripe for automation with the high cost and labor. However, the Media Planning Tools Survey show of hands survey overwhelmingly concluded that Excel is still the top choice among media pros (as I’ve previously blogged). No surprise there… thankfully, because the rest of my presentation depended on that!

Despite the volume of screen shot slides in the presentation, I did rapid-fire 8-minute flyover of our newest creation: the Digital Media Planner system. We just launched it two days ago. This is the first time I’ve shown it off in public. I thought the iMedia Agency Summit was the perfect venue for the reveal since it is designed specifically for media planners at independent agencies. We structured our development timeline to launch in time for the conference.As always, our fantastic development team hit their dates (we’re big on shipping on time).

Being the first public reveal of the Digital Media Planner, I was afraid nobody would like it. But based on a show of hands survey, virtually everyone did like it. Yay! So, that gave my ego a big boost (although maybe they were just being nice to me because I bought them all breakfast).

Why is automation important?

The main part of the session was to ask the audience the question: “why is automation important?” in digital media planning. Hands went up and I heard lots of smart answers, including roughly in this order:

  1. “profitability – the faster we can get things done, the more business we can take on”
  2. “efficiency – faster workflow – automation makes it easy to make on-the-fly changes quickly”
  3. “streamlining the process”
  4. “minimizes risk and human error”
  5. “media planner happiness”

I was pleasantly surprised that “profitability” was the first answer within two milliseconds. Most think “efficiency” first and business growth comes after a few minutes.  Lack of automation is clearly holding back both the top and bottom line at digital agencies. I’m glad someone answered “happiness” because that’s what it’s all about IMHO (and because I littered the place with “happiness” mugs). You find happiness is the core value of automation when you repeatedly ask why. And that’s why we internally call the development of the Digital Media Planner system, the “Digital Media Planner Happiness Project.”

Besides the free food, everyone at the breakfast got a free limited-edition coffee mug, hand-crafted by me. I created the smiley face image by hand using one of my favorite apps on my iPad – Paper by FiftyThree. Below is a picture of the mug as the group was filing in. It says “digital media planner happiness project” on the other side just like on the title slide of the presentation. Let me know if you want one of these mugs – I made 200 and there will be some left over.

Now it’s time to get outside and enjoy the warm, sunny day here in Scottsdale. Speaking of happiness, I’m very happy they hold these conferences at such beautiful places!