14 January 2013 | Blog
In the MediaPost article “How Ad Tech Can Kill Excel”, Eoin Townsend pleads for tech companies to create the tools and provide the education to move digital media planners’ buying practices out of the world of endless Excel sheets. He points out that in today’s environment, planners ought to be able to expect to “monitor and optimize campaigns in real time, just as stock traders watch the numbers from their desktop Bloomberg terminal” (although anyone who’s worked with a Bloomberg terminal will question the use of that particular item as a symbol of modernity). He points out that getting planners onto more advanced platforms is
about giving agency staff more time to work directly with brands on strategy. No one joins an agency to plug data into spreadsheets for hours a day. They join because they want to think strategically and drive market strategy, and automation gives them the time necessary to devote mental energy toward these goals.
He’s completely correct—there’s no excuse these days for a media planner to be chained to an Excel sheet on a desktop. His only mistake is not taking it far enough. Of course, it seems ridiculous that digital natives should still be using spreadsheets instead of purpose-specific applications designed to make those tasks more efficient. On a personal level, you could do your taxes in Excel. But using Turbo Tax makes the whole process so much less stressful and error-prone that using a spreadsheet scarcely makes sense anymore.
But there’s no reason to limit the liberation to just the digital planners—TV media planners deserve to be set free, too. Planners for every kind of media should be able to control and monitor their campaigns on the fly, on the web and on whatever device they choose. Today’s fast-paced environment requires constant adaptation, but that shouldn’t mean that a media planner should be shuffling spreadsheet columns 24 hours a day. Web-based, real-time TV campaign management tools allow TV planners to keep up to date without the repetitive labor, so they have more time to focus on their real jobs—planning. Automation: it’s not just for digital anymore.