Last week, I learned about the future of media planning with about a hundred media agency executives at the iMedia Agency Summit at the beautiful Terranea Resort in Ranchos Palos Verdes, California. Here are some of the key takeaways from our breakfast session on Sunday morning:

  1. Over the last 20 years, planning and buying digital advertising has moved from a highly manual process to a highly automated process with the advent of ad networks, ad exchanges, and now programmatic media buying.
  2. The media planning and buying process will continue its relentless march towards full automation.
  3. Marketers no longer see value in paying for execution of the logistics of the media planning and buying process because of the perception that it is fully automated (or soon will be).
  4. Meanwhile, the marketing automation eco-system has become increasingly fragmented with a dizzying array of platforms and “walled gardens.”
  5. Gathering and consolidating data from all these platforms is a major problem.
  6. Monitoring the performance of advertising placements against their goals across all these marketing platforms is a major problem.
  7. Marketers more than ever value partners who can help them to navigate today’s complex marketing landscape and to plan, deliver, monitor, and optimize effective marketing campaigns in this environment.
  8. Most agency executives believe that media planning will move away from a focus on execution to a focus on monitoring marketing performance across all media platforms and channels.

As the famous poet philosopher, Mike Tyson, once remarked, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” The media planner of the future will spend less time creating and executing the media plan and more time making sure the plan actually delivered the expected results; less time on low value grunt work and more time on high value marketing performance monitoring and optimization.

For those that have asked for it, here’s the slide deck from the presentation I used to introduce the discussion: