Saturday, July 23, 2011

There are 4 types of strategic planners - who are you?

Nielsen’s Women of Tomorrow Report, which surveyed 6,500 women across 21 nations found that females in developed countries:
- plan spending additional money earned on vacations, groceries and paying off credit cards and debts.
- feel that it is a man’s responsibility to look into purchases like homes, cars and personal electronics, though a joint decision was preferred.
- follow brands more so than men, making the social networking tool relevant for discounts, deals and coupons.
- are much more likely to engage with media that seamlessly integrates into and improves their day-to-day lives.
- rank personal recommendations from friends and family the most influential and trusted source of information, with consumer reviews coming in second.

- prefer TV to get information about new products. The results found that coming a close second was word-of-mouth.


I´m not sure if this is any revolutionary data really... It is sure interesting to look at different target groups and measure their footsteps, but when it´s "women from 21 developed countries" I get a little spooked. Can data from such a massive group of individuals be useful in any way? Or is it just a way to make an idea look better, more solid?

This brings me into another topic - sorry for jumping around, following my thought impulses, but this is after all a blog and not an essay for uni :) Anyway...

Marketers are obsessed with data and statistics, and it´s like we all have a need to understand, grasp the Truth and be finally enlighted. The problem is though, that when it comes to people, there is no Truth. We are a bunch of happiness pursuing, insecure, strange and mysterious creatures. Predictable, but not in a predictable way.

I´ve interviewed strategists from various agencies in different countries, and I´ve attended several conferences (I´m new in strategy and is doing a speed course :) and understood there are 4 types of strategic planners out there:

1. The number addicts
2. The psychics
3. The scientists
4. The management consultants

1. The number addicts love Roy Morgan data, surveys, Nielsen reports and percentages. Any data that can "prove" the case are seen as gems, and used as Facts - smoothly leading to an idea.
2. The psychics take a holistic view of the marketing process, sensing and feeling the insights, putting different facts and research together, without a logic explanation, more trusting their gut feel.
3. The scientists love Malcolm Gladwell and neuroscientfic studies, and they explain human behaviour and the target group out of brain research and what professors are telling them about irrationality.
4. The management consultants are business minded, and think strategy is more about changing the core of the company than coming up with marketing strategy. They love boxes and models.

It looks like the tradition is to be a Nr 1 - and especially media agencies seem to love for example radian6´s graphs and comfortable numbers, since they are used to the clear facts they normally get on ratings and readership. The scientists are the curious book worms. The psychics are the super lazy, or the old experienced people who have done this so many times it´s in their blood, or sensitive feminine thinkers.

I´ve noticed that the management consultants are the hot crowd at the moment, probably because all agency types are competing and there are no clear work descriptions for a "media agency" or a "social media agency"; when everyone wish to be lead agency and have Power, they all wish to be close to the CEO, influencing and steering. If you do, your ideas will become reality, and you will feel really great about yourself - I guess.

So what is the prediction? Will all strategists from now on come from McKinsey? Maybe. The brand agencies are really stepping up, feeling that the ad people are superficial and shallow, and when blending creativity and cool with seriousity and business mindfulness, you get an impressive source.

The psychics will always be the natural talents who are born to do strategy, but who might forget to back up their feelings with proper data, and so will find it hard to get a voice in the board room. When they learn to work smarter, they are the ones brands wish to have around. They are the ones who impress.

All the others use a system, and logic can never explain success. But marketing is an art, and there is a difference between those who learn to paint, and those who are Artists.

I believe adschools will need to start teaching economics and business soon. I believe the battle between agencies has just begun. I believe the anxious usage of data, science and business models will always cover up the thinking of those who are just good, but that the ones who can see the pattern emerging from it all in combination are the ones who are GREAT. (Good is the enemy of great, after all...)

Who are you?

Are there other types of planners?

Do you agree or disagree? Let me know :)

1 comment:

  1. A good exercise for me to realize my love for models would make me a good management consultant if not for my lazy psychic ways. Thanks!


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