One of my many failings is my useless sense of direction. SATNAV and Google Maps are a godsend for a numpty like me.
Blatant excuse to show this..........
I was lucky though to have grown up in a time when there were not the tools to do it for you. The AA Route planner and real maps became my friends.
And I got very used to being lost. Got used to not panicking, leaving enough time in the first place and getting there.
Which means when the tools let you down (and they frequently do) you actually want me in the car with you.
When it comes to the tools for our job, media agencies tend to be amazed how loads of creative agencies you will have heard of don’t have some of the basic planning tools.
I don’t mean the sexy stuff like TGI Worldpanel, NVision or the latest YouGov Profiles doo dah (you can get a watered down version of Profiles here).
Stuff like basic TGI, Mintel, Touchpoints or access to WARC.
Now these tools are bloody useful of course, but they have problems.
TGI is based on claimed behavior and as has been said ad nauseum, people rarely say what they do.
Touchpoints is more diarised of course, and real time reporting means you get a decent idea of what people do. But no clue about how they feel about it, or why they do what they do.
Mintel is really someone else’s opinion on market share and TGI. And don’t believe their observed trends – it usually means it has been observed twice.
WARC case studies are really helpful for all sorts of industry stuff, case studies and awards papers are great for inspiration but every single one is a representation of a perfect world, where everything works like clockwork, where there has been an ‘invented crisis’ and some earth shattering insight to overcome it. When of course, every agency process is a variation of chaos, post rationalization and gut feel.
The tools are great for the ‘sell’ – case studies and data that justifies the thinking are great.
But the problems with tools is they’re too easy.
They keep you at your desk, settling for easy answers that at best tell you ‘what’ rather than ‘why’.
They allow you to have an opinion and then justify it.
Rather than finding a fresh perspective.
They allow you to have a point of view on your target customer without ever having met them.
They are Trojan Horses of the obvious.
Now, of course, creative folks without the tools can be VERY guilty of assertion without making any effort to prove it.
And some quotes from Trendwatching or NVision loosely linked to your ‘insight’ don’t count.
But the good organizations are great at having an informed opinion by constantly going out and meeting their customers, reading what they read and doing what they do.
I think a great example was when AMV wanted to prove that Sainsbury’s customers sleep shopped, so they filmed a Gorilla roaming about instore, being mostly ignored by customers and showed it to the client.
Deep insight you won’t get from TGI.
Aligned with the fact that most bought cookbooks are left unread you have a lovely tension between the pressure of habit and routine and the pressure to be a ‘foodie’ you get ‘Try something new today’.
By all means use the tools, but only as a starting point and by way of the final ‘sell’.
Please do the desk research, all the crumbly stuff out there on the web.
By you can’t beat leaving your desk and actually being your audience.
Because the problem with relying on Satnav, and planning tools, is that you don’t know you’re lost.