By the time you read this, we’ll be nearly a quarter of the way into what promises to be a watershed year in the performance-based marketing industry. Already, we will have experienced Leap Day (Feb. 29) and be less
than a couple of months from the only Friday the 13th of the
year (May) — with the Summer Olympics and the autumn
presidential election looming large on horizon.
For us in the marketing world, the first two “events” are
good for light conversation; the last two have far more profound implications on our day-to-day business — now and
in the coming three months. We need to focus on the steps
we might have taken in the first quarter, and what plans we
need to carry out in order to ensure our — and our clients’
— success in navigating the impending avails mayhem.
For me, the keys are planning and taking action. Here’s
why it’s both and not just one or the other: it’s not what I
know that gets me into trouble; it’s what I know that I don’t
act on that does.
One of the best coaches I ever had explained why planning often falls short: it isn’t a deficiency of knowledge; it’s a
deficiency of execution. He was being complimentary to the
group I was in, as I am to those of us in this business.
We are a highly intelligent group of predominantly
like-minded people who seek to do the best we can for our
clients. We seek out information at every turn so that we can
improve effectiveness and efficiency in our client and media
relationships. Clearly, there is no defi-
ciency in knowledge!
His mentoring took us from what
we knew to what we should do. That
was more than 30 years ago, so obviously the lesson stuck. I’m not going
to sit here and claim perfection,
because that’s just absurd, and it
would be a lie. But the imperative to follow planning with
execution is one of the most
perceptive tidbits of insight I’ve ever heard.
Whenever I start
planning, the focus is
on planning my ac-
tions. Since October,
I’ve been preparing
clients for the
Olympic and electoral disruptions to come. I’ve had numer-
ous meetings, offering a variety of media plans with best- and
worst-case placement alternatives that will offer amazing
flexibility as we move through second quarter and need to
place the rest of our year’s buys.
I should have been walking clients through the planning
process by now — especially those who don’t plan on starting their media until the third and fourth quarters — and
that’s just I’ve been doing. The truth, though, is that no
matter how well we’ve simulated the worst-case outcomes, it
all may turn out differently than we’ve projected. But we’ve
been deep into action, based upon what we think we know.
Here’s what else we believe we know: Even with much of
the televised Olympic coverage being parsed out to a variety
of allied cable networks and a myriad of online streams, the
prospect of buying affordable TV inventory August 5-21 is
going to be daunting, if not downright ugly.
The media landscape in the 60 days before the November
election? The educated guess is at least a 35-percent increase
in media spending by candidates and super PACs. And that’s
just in broadcast and cable. And I believe digital/online is
going to exceed everyone’s predictions, thanks in no small
part to the accumulation of more private, personal data than
nearly any of us can imagine.
It’s with this combination of knowledge and postulat-
ing that we have to act. I’m not willing to tip our hand on
everything we’re doing that’s differ-
ent and will help secure our
clients’ the best possible
opportunities for suc-
but I’d be
happy to spend
time with anyone who
wants to discuss what we think
we know — and what possible
paths of actions may yield the
smartest outcomes. ;
Knowledge + Execution =
A Recipe for Victory
By Peter Feinstein