I spotted this over at Account Planning Methods, and I recommend you take a minute and go read the whole thing. It's very good.
Statistically speaking, however, the practical results of this kind of thinking are residual. While textbooks and thinkers counsel us to work this way, when we stop to objectively look at 90% of the work we put out there, it just doesn't fit. We'll get back to this in a minute.
In November, the folks at eMarketer reported that marketers' and consumers' expectations of digital channels were misaligned. In short, this means — within the sample of that study — that marketers know jack shit about what consumers actually need, want and expect in various digital channels. Maybe because they don't operate based on actual data-driven strategic hypotheses, but who knows.
But I believe there is another type of misalignment that is systematically hurting the results we achieve and present to clients. It's the misalignment of ideology, strategy and execution.
The social media boom helped democratize the tools that help consumers and citizens — increasingly — have an active voice, but it also democratized the amount of bullshit gurus and know-it-alls can put out there. And fellas, there is at least 3,300,000,000 worth of bullshit.
There is no shortage of thinkers about the role of social media and digital in changing the universe and whatnot; ideas, articles, webinars and opinions are a dime a dozen.
What we really need is to foster more strategic thinking when it comes to framing, developing and applying those ideas. The guidelines and conditions we gather should help these ideas stretch (enough to live independently in multiple media), while keeping their focus (to avoid drifting away from their original purpose, i.e. the objective and not what the wife thinks). And, of course, they should properly guide the execution of those ideas.
Actions without a plan are a severe consequence of being a cocky creative.
But planning without actionability is just PowerPoint jerk-off.