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What next for connection planning?

October 22, 2009

At last week’s Planning-ness conference, Gareth Kay and Jason Oke took a long overdue look at the state of Connections Planning.

Judging from the debate it’s provoked, it seems like a worthy effort. The crux of their argument is that Connections Planning has produced little and has been used by media agencies to fill a gap that existed because of their disconnection from the creative process.

At their most cynical, Kay and Oke suggest Connections Planning was born because it’s ability to provide additional revenue, perhaps a little like Account Planning in the early days.

Their ideas to get it back on track are smart and reflect an understanding of the changed communication environment. Thinking about time, space, geography and emotional connection has to be a smarter way at the opportunity, than thinking channel out. However, I would argue that some of the best practioners already think that way.

In the end, the problem is the rise of infinite media that forces the practice of media planning to be re-thought and if you add onto that the general turmoil of a communication industry, you have multiple disciplines struggling to re-define themselves when there’s no clear end-game.

At the end of two days of Planning-ness, it seems that Planners have a potentially even more expansive portfolio than ever before, but one has to question whether one person can really be effective across all or even several of these different areas.

The one solution could be Planning Teams- bringing together the best media thinkers with the best Account Planners. There’s a lot that could be done with this model, but given agencies desire to reduce costs and consolidate skills, this might not be the most attractive financial option.

Posted by Ed Cotton

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