As least as far as digital is concerned, it seems like we’ve moved away from Media Planners + Buyers and are somewhere between Media Planners + Media Analysts and Media Analysts + Media Technologists (perhaps depending on where you work).
I started to feel this a couple of years ago. It felt like I either needed to learn about programming languages or needed a degree in statistics.
Where that’s landed me now, is trying to get to actionable insights faster because that requires defining the measures, asking the right questions, and compiling/cleaning the data efficiently. I think I started moving in this direction about a year and a half ago when I went through Google Analytics training. Just recently, I’ve taught myself to use Pivot Tables within Excel in order to speed up the reporting and optimization process.
Theoretically there always has to be a brain behind the numbers, right? Digital media plans seems to be taking two very distinctive directions. On the one hand there’s gaining efficiency, not just in terms of the media, but the outcomes. The more this becomes the case, the less importance it places on planning. Here’s where technology become extremely important, but still leaves room for a skilled person to interpret results to build upon. I don’t think this role would be completely eliminated.
On the other side of things, I think there’s a developing direction within media to build integrated and custom plans where the media team works with publishers to determine a program so the voice and direction of the program lives between the two of them.
That’s the thought for now, even with a head cold hampering my thoughts. We’ll see where the industry is in another couple of years. Likely some of it will have been predictable and some of it not.