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Marketing Monger Podcast

I was lucky enough to be interviewed by Eric at Marketing Monger last night. He asked me about planning, trends and blogging. If you want to listen to the file it's here. You should definitely check out more of Eric's excellent podcasts.

Below are my 'prepared' answers, hopefully I got the jist of them across:

Tell me a little about yourself?
By day I'm a comms planner in an advertising agency in London. In my spare time I'm a trends and advertising blogger for PSFK, IF and my own trends blog.

Define "account planning" and tell me about the role it plays in successful marketing?
Account planning was born from the research departments that agencies used to have. It was developed during the sixties by Stephen King at JWT and Stanley Pollitt at BMP (now DDB London). They believed that there was a big gap between the research and consumer insights and what was being produced by the creative departments.

It's kind of evolved since then but my favourite definition of it is 'the thinking before the doing'
There are loads of others such as being the consumer within the agency and all sorts of strategic thinking type definitions

You can have advertising and good advertising without a planner but it helps a great deal and ensures that the advertising is right for the consumer if you have a planner involved.

Tell me a little about Rapier UK and the agency's approach?
Rapier are a medium sized independent advertising agency in London. We are media neutral. What this means is that when we are asked to do something by a client we don't think in particular silos. So we don’t say that means we'll do a press ad or a TV ad. Instead we take each problem on its own merits and then recommend the best medium to solve this. This means that you get the right work for each job.

This is the reason we're not called Account Planners - as this is a traditional advertising term - we're called Comms Planners.

What's the difference between an account planner and a media planner?
An account planner helps to plan the message to the consumer where as a media planner is far more concerned with the carrier for the message. There's definitely some overlap, and my off the cuff explanation would be that media planners are like sociologists where as account planners are more like psychologists.

What are the best resources for learning to do media planning well?
I think the APG website is a great resource. Also Russell Davies, who's head of planning at Nike Europe, and used to be at Wieden + Kennedy London writes a great blog.
Obviously I think that IF and PSFK are fantastic resources for planners. It's an odd profession where you need to be aware of what the masses are watching and doing but also have lots of odd and interesting references up your sleeve.

You spend a lot of time blogging about trends on your personal blog and for PSFK, how has that affected your professional life?
I think it's made a massive difference. I think blogging makes you a far more interesting person and also encourages you to be inquisitive. You challenge things and you also try to concentrate a bit harder on what you write because you know that you'll be challenged too. It really helps you with pattern recognition - you start connecting things together and see overall movements and trends occurring.

At the moment there's been a real move towards mash-up and that's evident in all walks of life - people wear mix and match clothes, you can paint your adidas trainers, people have a Toyota Prius and a Range Rover. There's also been a mash-up in music and on the web with lots of bootlegs and Google maps mashes.

When I moved jobs recently it made a huge difference because people see it on your CV and are genuinely interested in meeting you and when they do they want to know all about blogging because in London it's certainly not the norm in advertising. Although more and more planners are setting up their own blogs.

Trends is a bit of a misnomer when it comes to my blog. It's pretty hard to just blog about trends and to do a proper job of it you have to be switched on to a lot of industries - not just the cool stuff. As a result I've sort of drifted into slightly more planning stuff and opinion.

PSFK gives a really good view of what's going on in the world at the moment and you need to take a step back to see the patterns emerging.

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