Planning @50: What is its future?

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

This golden jubilee for account planning comes with mixed feelings. It is rewarding to see how the formal role of the strategist has been so influential and enduring in our industry. Yet, this anniversary also comes with a sense of unease about the strategist's future, much as there is unease about the future of our industry itself. There is disruption to both.

This paper reviews that disruption, suggests ways forward for planning, and looks at the implications for the agencies in which it resides. The transformation of planning goes hand in hand with the transformation of agencies themselves. Responding to clients' changing business models is where one will find answers to both.

Let's begin by appreciating how and why account planning was created in its original form. Looking back now, we can see it was clearly a product of its time.

Planning was designed for the 20th-century business model