The Importance of Having a Plan

During a great session “Ad Operations Optimization” in Prague at our European Publisher Forum, Jen Hanks put forward a question to the group asking how many people had 1 to 2 year plans. Few if any hands went up. At first I was shocked having maintained such plans myself for several years, but as the group discussed further it made sense why no one is planning ahead – at this point there is so much confusion in the air and with increased pressure on Ad Operations to do more with less, most people aren’t in a position to plan ahead. While understandable, I think it’s a mistake.

First, I think it’s important for everyone to map out their own professional development. Even in a down economy where job security is of greater concern than job satisfaction, you need to start to figure out ways to grow or you’ll quickly burn out. As Jen mentioned in her presentation, it’s important to step outside oneself (her meditation exercise I doubt will be soon forgotten) and look at what you are doing from a distance. Start charting a path that gets you to do more of the things you enjoy doing.

Second, map our your department plans. Not sure what the next 1 to 2 years in our industry looks like? Who does? That being said, you can certainly lay out some good, solid assumptions. For example, what are the chances your company would change ad servers? If there is any chance, how early in the process would you be involved and how long would you expect it would take? Depending on your answer, you have an idea of how long you have with your existing ad server and you can set goals around that. Do this with other aspects of your responsibilities and you’ll have taken the first step to getting your department heading in the right track (and a plan to get there).

“Turning over stones to look for opportunities” was a great quote from Jen’s presentation and speaks to one of the key functions of Ad Operations. Ad Ops leaders are in the unique position to look at each aspect of the process and start looking for opportunities for generating revenue and/or creating efficiencies. It might not be formally documented, but that’s what every Ad Ops leader’s 1 to 2 year plan should include.

Rob Beeler is Vice President of Content and Media for AdMonsters and has worked in Ad Operations for over ten years. Rob started attending AdMonster events in 2004 as a member and will be in London on July 15 for the first AdMonsters Network Ops Forum