“There was a new trend for agencies to hire and parade before their clients “strategic planners,” an ideal originally imported from the UK; but these were not strategists in the same way that management consultants were strategists. Instead, agency strategic planners were experts in customer segmentation and behavior, excellent at designing market research and reading the results of market research reports. The planners were called, in some quarters, “the conscience of the consumer” – they upheld long-term brand values on behalf of consumers and helped to resist any attempts by the creative department to go “off brand” in the pursuit of cute ideas that would dilute “brand values.” In short, the strategic planners were consumer experts, brand developers and brand policemen. They were an important innovation, but they hardly signaled new strategic directions for ad agencies, and their efforts did not have the slightest impact on their clients’ concerns about achieving improved shareholder value. Ironically,”

Michael Farmer, Madison Avenue Manslaughter: An Inside View of Fee-Cutting Clients, Profithungry Owners and Declining Ad Agencies
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