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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Media Director 2025

Over the past week, I have had some lively exchanges with some media pros regarding what qualities a media director will need to have 10 years from now. Several of us are retired or semi-retired (as I am) and a few were under 35. Candidly, anyone 45-55 is not objective as they are apt to mutter something to the effect that they want nothing to change or little will change until they retire. That is a child’s dream--all of us decided to leave that to the children.

Looking 10 years ahead is not easy. You need to focus on the dramatic change of the past decade and recognize that the next 10 years will likely be far more significant in terms of upheaval than the last ten. Platforms that we cannot even conceive of now will be standard in 2025. So, who do you need to lead your media team in the future?

Clearly, the odds are overwhelming that the person will no longer be called a media director. No matter. The function will be largely the same but all of us who discussed it said it would far more important to agency performance that it has been in the past.

Someone asked me a year ago, what skills a 2014 media director needed. I mentioned that the ideal person had to be part economist, trend watcher, negotiator, media researcher, business analyst, futurist, and student of marketing. Sounds like a high bar, doesn’t it? I have never met anyone who hit on all those cylinders simultaneously.

For the future, some mix of the above attributes will still need to be there. I would say the key function even if we go to significant automation in on line and broadcast buying will be proper allocation across the various media platforms. That has always been a blend of art and science but art will make a huge comeback in the mix as new types of media emerge at an ever rapid pace.

I threw out an idea to my vest pocket panel of contributors. Perhaps the media director of the future, or whatever he or she is called, might come from account planning. Your basic training had been to be the eyes and ears of the consumer and to relentless in asking everyone, in every department, “WHY.” That might be the ideal candidate to manage the media world of 2025.

An interesting sidelight came out of the discussion. All of us no longer involved full time in the business did not feel that we would be right for the job in 2025. Perhaps humility comes with maturity.  :):):)

I would love to hear your opinions on this topic.

If you would like to contact Don Cole directly, you may reach him at doncolemedia@gmail.com

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