Dear Clients, Agencies and Other Interested Parties, on behalf of Planners everywhere, may I draw your attention to the following points:
1) We are not researchers. Yes, most of us can moderate our own focus groups / depths and manage research projects, but if you’re wanting a load of quant doing complete with modelling then we’re going to have to bring in an (inevitably expensive) specialist agency.
2) We are also not account handlers so while we’re happy to deal with the client direct and keep our paperwork in order we’d rather not write the contact report, do the invoicing or play Bad Cop to anyone’s Good Cop.
3) At lot of planning is about identifying relevant insights, which needs chunks of thinking time. Time we won’t have if you fill our diary with back-to-back meetings.
4) Do you want your Planning Good, Fast or Cheap? Choose two please.
5) Asking Planners to post-rationalise creative with insight for a client presentation is like asking a creative to use starbursts and will go down about as well.
6) In the 30 minute turnaround between evening focus groups, whoever is moderating needs to go to the loo, reorganise everything for the next group and eat something. So while your between-groups feedback is essential and valued, it’s not the right time to start a debate on the future of your industry or ask what we think about the strategy behind your competitor’s latest campaign.
7) Insight needs inputs. So we’d really like access to some desk research sources like Mintel and TGI please. Beg them off the media agency if you have to, just get us some data.
8) Pitch winning propositions can rarely be arrived at in the 48 hours after the brief lands at the agency. Please build us a decent chunk of time into your pitch plan. Or at least let us know that the pitch brief has turned up, rather than sitting on it for a week.
9) Creatives – we are trying to help you. Please take our input in the spirit with which it was intended and let us know what else you need from us, even if it’s just a pot of tea.
10) And finally, Planning is not about sprinkling magic fairy dust over everything. “We need some Planning” simply isn’t helpful. “The client’s problem is XYZ and their brief to us is…” is much more like it.