Planners are connectors.

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I’ve been here in the UK for 3 months already. I feel as if I’ve achieved little or much, depending on which day of the week it is. And definitely in direct relation to the level of natural light available to me. I’ve been out and about listening, learning and asking questions and I want to share with you some of the things I have learnt so far. I’m not going to compare coffee or plumbing or even talk about the weather, instead I wanted to share with you some of my digital observations. The world of digital seems enormous and deep here. There’s an agency for everything, and a platform or a piece of technology that goes hand in hand with it. Clients are insourcing more digital skill-sets (and rightly so) but this leaves agencies with a need to focus on creating the next big thing.

Trending right now.

Here are some areas of digital which are being keenly discussed by both clients and agencies at the moment.

  • Digital superheroes. The technologist and the data specialist are the superheroes, waving the magic cape of complexity over the client and saving the day. But inevitably the client still ends up with an Ikea bed and no screwdriver. Unless you’re a truly rare breed of superhero, the translation or the connection between the role of technology or data and how that relates to the customer remains undiscovered.
  • Programmatic buying. In theory an amazingly straightforward way to help marketers deliver highly personalised marketing experiences to each and every customer. Clue – help, not do. The inclusion of a target audience focused content marketing plan is not included in the box.
  • Digital transformation. Clients and agencies are hot on this right now. Doing what you’ve always done is no longer an option. Digital transformation is about changing the mindset of your organisation, connecting everyone to the importance of digital in a customers life and how your organisation can meet those needs. How do we, as believers in digital, support that change?

A place for the planner.

We have a pivotal role to play as planners in helping to ensure that these opportunities are made sense of within our organisation, and in creating a strong purpose and need for them based on knowing what our customers need. We must remember to connect what we see here to what we know at the business level, the marketing level and the customer level – does it all add up? We need to make sure that we help others within our organisation to get to know and understand our customers, so technology design and data analysis becomes about adding to the picture of our customer and not about creating a new one. As planners within the digital channel we also need to appreciate that not everyone sees the world this way so we need to keep finding ways to demonstrate it, guiding our colleagues to reach their own “ah-ha” moment.


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