Writing in the current issue of Admap, Murphy, global chief strategy officer at JWT, argues in Transforming planning for the 21st century that “planning is part of a business ecosystem, in which all must move together to continue to thrive.”
In an era of digital disruption, business models are changing, with a greater emphasis now being placed on a direct-to-consumer approach, he says.
“This model is obviously not contingent on securing distribution in bricks-and-mortar retail – making the original role for a brand redundant. You don’t need leverage with a retailer to secure precious distribution and in-store shelf space when you have unlimited and (almost) free distribution online.”
In this world, clients require not just marketing work that address their business priorities over the course of a year but help at the level of business innovation over the longer term.
Planners and strategists will have to adapt their approach accordingly, although there is no consensus on what path ought to be followed. “The fixed point against which to judge the success of planning will always be whether it helped the client’s business grow,” Murphy notes.
But whatever route planners take, “changes need to happen at agency level to ensure planning can evolve properly,” he states.
Crucially, planners “shouldn’t be solely yoked into the process of creating executional output or, worse, be seen as part of the agency’s sales machine for the ‘work’”.
Ultimately, strategy has to rise up the pecking order, he argues – with more money and staff allocated to planning departments to enable them to provide the right advice for clients – and the structural separation of media agency planning from all other agency strategy has to be reconsidered.
Murphy also believes that agencies would benefit from appointing more strategy people into positions of influence. “Making strategy more important involves making it part of the leadership.”
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Sourced from Admap