Planning @50: What is its future?

This article is part of a series of articles marking the 50th birthday of planning. Read more.

All around me, I see marketers in a state of what I call tactical paralysis. They are dealing with changes around them – changes which are happening at breakneck speed. Radio is dead, we were told. TV is over. Move over, Facebook.

But rather than panic, bluff, or throw money at the latest new technology or ad format, we need to slow down and think about the right questions to ask in order to get to the bottom of what's really going on, and what needs to be done about it. These types of questions are perhaps those we asked more as a matter of routine before 'digital' came and disrupted us. Questions such as: Who is my audience? What do they need? What do I offer? Or, what's the barrier to my brand's growth?

In fact, outspoken marketing pundit Mark Ritson went as far as to say that too many clients are "intent on jettisoning even their vaguest strategic principles for a roll-with-the-punches approach to planning". Meanwhile, others have started to speak of another threat: the 'over-datafication' in marketing.