Planning @50: What is its future?

This article is part of a series of articles marking the 50th birthday of planning. Read more.

The proliferation of digital channels means that anyone who has taught themselves to use marketing tech can now call themselves a marketer. This is excellent news. Smaller operations with interesting propositions can now reach customers without needing to scale the barricades of expensive traditional media. Digital marketing has democratised the world for the 99.9% of businesses that just don't have the money for TV.

While many sneer at 'Dashboard DJs' (not 'real' marketing), anyone who has tried to master the fluid intricacies of digital channels will have been forced to think hard about which messages best convert their customers – and had first-hand (often uncomfortable) experience of their users' responses.

So in this new DIY utopia, is the role of the planner redundant? Quite the opposite. In response (but not opposition) to this brave new world of performance marketing, there is an urgent need for strategic thinkers.