Some of what Charlie Makin (MW September 19) writes makes perfect sense. A media-neutral approach has to start with a fundamental customer understanding.
I do, however, take issue with two points. Firstly, that media-neutral planning is fundamentally flawed. Yes, agencies are guilty of overtalking and underdelivering, but let’s not kill something which, when used properly, is an incredibly effective process. To move forward, we need to agree a common view of what we mean by media-neutral strategy planning and, importantly, to articulate clearly its benefits to agencies and clients alike – something that clearly hasn’t happened with Makin’s senior client.
Secondly, on the issue of whether consumers want media neutral planning, Makin completely misses the point. Consumers don’t throw up their hands and say “use CRM on me” – it is an approach marketers use to persuade their customers to spend more and to stay active for longer. Equally, it is irrelevant whether consumers understand what media-neutral planning is.
Used properly, a media-neutral approach will lead to powerful, effective, value-for-money communications that solve clients’ business challenges. Let’s focus the debate on how we can change agency and client organisations in order to deliver it effectively.