Seriously important stuff

I spent this morning talking about effectiveness to some new-ish industry recruits.  It was part of a training day put together by the excellent people at the London Strategy Unit and I was worried about being the dull numbers bit sandwiched between the cooler topics like “writing great briefs”, “finding killer insights” and “working with creatives”.

I probably was (there’s only so much comedy gold to be mined from Professor Andrew Ehrenberg’s Double Jeopardy Theory).  But I was pleasantly surprised by the interest in the field generally (if not in my own assorted ramblings).

I’m not sure that this would have been the case, even a few years ago.  Back then, young planners seemed to divide the job into the “front-end” (fun, strategic bit) and the “back-end” (tedious, evaluation bit).  Now, there seems to have been a sensible recalibration – no doubt prompted by our economic woes, but also by a greater appreciation of data’s creative potential .  And most importantly, by a sense that effectiveness needs to be considered from the start of a project onwards, not just at the end.

If this is true (and other initiatives like the IPA’s Eff Test suggest it might be), then it’s very good news for all of us, not just the  new intake.  Because while effectiveness might never be a barrel of laughs, a future where this serious business is neglected wouldn’t look very funny for the industry either.

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