Planning Nine Months in Advance
Early this year, my husband and I found out we were expecting our first child. We were thrilled! Many thoughts ran through my head those first weeks, one being that this is an event that requires so much planning and only a limited time to do so. Then I realized that as an account planner, I spend most of my time thinking well ahead of the present, sometimes much farther into the future than nine months. My thought processes are always planning for what new opportunities are out there, technologies that are emerging and how the landscape is changing. Below are my top 10 keys to successful media planning.
- Research, research, research. While everyone has different objectives to meet, goals to achieve and obstacles to overcome, decisions are always best made backed by solid research. While I pride myself on original thinking and utilizing new ideas, there is always something to be learned from research.
- Landscapes are always changing, and the best planners change with them. This is particularly challenging when charged with predicting the future, but it’s what makes account planning – and life in general -interesting.
- Staying organized is a key to success. Like most people, I wouldn’t consider myself perfect at this task, but the ability to organize thoughts, options and results is important to keep plans moving forward. Constant analysis and adjustment is important to gain the highest success.
- Flexibility is critical. Being able to adjust based on timing considerations, new opportunities and key findings along the way, and constantly re-evaluate to optimize the plan is important.
- Historical Performance is always an important aspect. As planners, we need to analyze and pay attention to results in order to make the next plan better and more engaging.
- Sometimes, last minute opportunities can prove to be the best fit. We’re never done improving the product, so if that means some shifts to accommodate the perfect addition to a plan, then it’s the right decision.
- Collaboration among all parties always results in the best ideas and product for the client. Incorporating all parties’ thoughts and perspectives helps eliminate confusion later and keeps everyone moving in the same direction.
- In addition, constant communication also enables all stakeholders in the process to be able to do their best possible work and this again results in the best product for the client.
- Set expectations and focus on results. Measurement is paramount, and setting goals for success for each campaign is critical. You must know what you’re trying to achieve ahead of time in order to measure success.
- Embrace the excitement of the unpredictable aspects of media of never knowing what the next day has in store for you. It makes the process more interesting and allows you the ability to think on your feet.
I’m guessing in the next year I will learn some additional lessons about staying organized, adapting to last minute changes and planning for the future. I expect every day to be an adventure as a new working mother, but I look forward to the challenges. The adventure of every new day is one of the parts of my career I have always enjoyed. Constantly having new communication challenges to solve, deadlines to meet and a changing landscape to navigate are just a few characteristics I find compelling. I’m sure being a first-time mother will be quite similar. I’m a planner though, so I’m guessing this next year will be the best yet.