Notes from a Paris cafe

John Woodward

The Admap Roundtable on the Future of Planning (Admap, February 2010) certainly made good reading. Comprising the thoughts of some of the most eminent planners in Anglo-Saxon advertising, how could it not?

But I started wondering if these are the people best placed to see where the answers lie. Don't get me wrong, much of the most advanced communications thinking has come from the IPA and the APG in the UK, but isn't it a bit like asking the Politburo about the future of Communism? Those within the current mainstream are surely intellectually invested in where we are now.

Actually, it seems likely that the most radical changes in planning will come from outside current mainstream thinking, as they usually do in periods of flux. Digital media and behavioural targeting will surely offer a quantum leap in effectiveness that will take its next step with widespread adoption of GPS-enabled phones. When that happens, agencies that struggle to understand Nielsen data are going to find themselves competing head on with the analytics offered by phone companies, IBM, HP, Google and others. This is surely going to be a big challenge.