Matt Holt

the future of planning

We need more broader thinkers

To borrow an analogy from athletics, planning needs more multi-event athletes argues the Digitas UK chief strategy officer

By Matt Holt

What's the future of planning? To answer this (excellent) question we need to start with the outcomes we need to deliver for our clients.

In my view that’s about helping them get future ready. Because we know that future ready companies are more efficient, effective and profitable. More effective by maximising revenue through superior experiences that attract, serve, retain and upsell. More efficient by minimising cost through operational excellence. The difference between lower costs and higher revenues is what makes future-ready businesses more profitable.

The trouble is that we know that the majority of companies aren’t future ready. It’s within that context that I think the future of account planning needs to operate – a discipline dedicated to getting our clients future ready, to being one step ahead and achieving broader outcomes for our clients delivered by broader thinking.

Broader thinking requires broader thinkers. I am an athletics fan and enjoying the European Championships as I type this. I think we need more heptathletes and decathletes. Multi-event athletes not just event specialists. We need people who are more adept at delivering more of the experience across channels (the ‘front stage’, to borrow from a theatre analogy) as well as people who know how to enable that through strategy (the ‘back stage’).

Because if we have broader thinkers, we can aim for broader outcomes. Strategy and data folk focusing on something we call total effectiveness. Of course striving for commercial effectiveness, but also considering societal, sustainable and equitable effectiveness as part of a much broader - and future-proofed - approach to strategy.

Matt Holt is chief strategy officer at Digitas UK


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