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It is time to chat about improving the originality of media thinking

Nov. 14, 2018


You may by now have seen the ChatBot Media Planner –“the world’s first chatbot media planner that promises to replicate your existing media agency service” (www.chatbotmediaplanner.com). It’s a spoof of course, a bit of fun. And while it might remind us all of some of the clunky and awkward chatbot experiences we have had, it’s really intended to spark a bit of debate about the state of media planning in our industry.

For a number of years now, the state and status of media planning has been suffering. Whether through a lack of time, effort, care or experience, many marketers are simply not getting the best advice from their media agency (or in-house teams) when it comes to how to invest their media and marketing budgets.

The sad fact is that the client experience of many media agencies is rather similar to the ChatBot Media Planner: no matter what your brand, your challenge, your audience, you are often served up with the same old media plan, the same old media clichés like ‘owning the weekend’, and yet another copy and paste response to a brief.

I can see how this has happened. The squeeze on margins has meant agency staffers are spread across many accounts and simply don’t have the time. The pressure to get a job off the table and move onto the next client brief is intense.

Across the board, layers of experienced talent are being stripped out of agencies to manage costs. Training budgets have been slashed, and the rise of the channel specialist means many agencies don’t have enough all round ‘generalist’ planners to stitch it all together.

Fundamentally, in today’s ‘age of audience’ the media landscape is a complex as ever, and clients need quality thinking and bespoke – not templated – media strategies.

We’re as excited as anyone about the possibilities of Artificial Intelligence to enhance and automate large elements of our industry, but I think it will be a while yet before proper strategy and creative thinking can be replicated by a Chatbot.

And if your media planning already resembles the clunky chatbot experience, and you want to speak to a human… then you know who to call!