Essential Planning Skills

Next Online Course: 22/29 Sept + 6/13/20/27 Oct - PMs

This is one of our most popular courses. Course tutors are the experts in each field and include Shekhar Deshpande of Facebook, Zoe Scaman, David Wilding of Twitter, Neil Godber of Wunderman Thompson, Phil Barden and Julian Saunders.  This is a course with a difference. We want to focus the course on practising the Principles of Planning rather than just learning them. Our ambition is to arm you with ‘cheat sheets’ that will help you put the principles into action the minute you walk out the door.

Who is it aimed at?

This course is ideally suited for Planners and Strategists with 2 years+ of experience in the industry. It is designed for Strategists from a variety of disciplines – be it brand planning, digital planning, channel planning, engagement planning. It is also suited for Strategists with specialist experience who would like a more well-rounded view of Strategy, even though they may have spent more than five years in business.

What will you learn?

As with any APG training course this modular course mixes the theory and and practice of planning and is highly interactive, enabling you to take away tools and approaches and use them immediately in your day-to-day job.


Our ambition is that rather than blow you away with awesomeness, we will arm you with ‘cheat sheets’ that will help you put the principles into action the minute you walk out the door. We daresay you should remember (at least) the best bits a year after we have finished with you.

How have we chosen our modules?

We have drawn upon a panel of industry experts across Planning disciplines (in other words, old and classic ones as well as young and cool ones). With their help, we have identified the core areas that would be relevant to all strategists, across disciplines.

Course Content & Modules

Timing: 1.25pm - 5.30/6pm (except Weds 6/10, 12.25 - 6pm)

WEEK ONE - Weds 22nd September  

Module 1 - How to have powerful and enduring Brand Ideas

Module 2 - Unearthing and profiting from insights

Tutor: Shekhar Deshpande, Facebook

WEEK TWO – Weds 29th September 

Module 3 - Writing a creative Brief without writing one - Tutor: Shekhar Deshpande, Facebook

Module 4 - Briefing and working with creative people - Tutor: Dave Masterman VCCP

WEEK THREE - Weds 6th October - EARLIER START 12.25

Module 5: 21st century Brand thinking - Tutor: Julian Saunders, Joined-up Company

Module 6: The practical side of Behavioural Economics – Tutor: Phil Barden, Decoded

WEEK FOUR - Weds 13th October
Module 7: Effectiveness - Tutor: Neil Godber, Wunderman Thompson

Module 8 - Understanding people through (quant) data - Tutor: Sam Fowler, Craft Media

WEEK FIVE – Weds 20th October

Module 9 - Channel Planning - Tutor: David Wilding, Twitter

WEEK SIX - Weds 27th October

Module 10: Getting to your one big marketing objective

Module 11: Identifying the basis for your strategy

Tutor: Zoe Scaman, Bodacious


"Great overview of the Planning process – great for highlighting room for improvement and getting inspiration.  Helped put all of the pieces together."

- Planner, Integrated Agency


"Really well thought out structure and outstanding teachers – covered all the areas I had questions on as a planner."

- Planner, Creative Agency


"Incredibly useful – especially when putting our newly learned skills to the test with practical applications."

- Planner, Digital Agency


"Great breadth of content brought alive by a multitude of approaches and models, and made accessible through carefully thought out practical exercises."

- Planner, Digital Agency
Course Details

6 x half days - PMs

Timing: 1.25pm - 5.30/6pm (except Weds 6/10, 12.25 - 6pm)


22/29 Sept + 6/13/20/27 Oct - PMs (SOLD OUT)

Platform - Zoom

This Course will be run Online. Please note we can't offer catch-up sessions or recordings if for any reason you can't attend.



£985+VAT  (APG Membership required)

Course Enquiries
If you are interested in attending this Training Course, please e-mail Alison Trotter at 
Course Tutors
Dave Masterman

Dave Masterman

Creative Director

David has spent over 20 years in the creative discipline and has previously worked at agencies such as JWT, BBH, Fallon and DDB UK. This gives him the unique insight of having received many briefs from planners over the years.

David Wilding

David Wilding

Director of Planning

David is one of the best media planners in London. He has a particular interest in behavioural theory, a fascination with neuro-marketing and a mild obsession with trying to catapult brands into the heart of popular culture. He has recently jumped ship from PHD to run planning at Twitter.

Julian Saunders

Julian Saunders

The Joined Up Company

Julian Saunders has worked as a strategist in most disciplines and recently in The Zoo at Google, where his role was to advise clients about effective marketing on digital platforms. He works directly for clients and specialises in running strategic workshops for them. Previous roles include: CEO of Red Cell, Non-Executive Planning Director of Good Technology, Executive planning Director of McCann-Erickson and Planning Director of Ogilvy. He publishes regularly, mostly in Market Leader (the quarterly journal of The Marketing Society), blogs at and was editor of The Communications Challenge (APG 2004) a pioneering textbook for planners about the impact of the digital revolution”

Neil Godber

Neil Godber

Head of Planning

Neil is a top planner, formerly of BBH and now running Planning in JWT London. He is multi-awarded for at APG Creative Strategy Awards and a winner of the Grand Prix for Dixons in 2011 and an expert in all things effective.

Phil Barden

Phil Barden

Owner and Managing Director
Decode Marketing Ltd

Phil has over 25 years client-side brand management experience. After 16 years with Unilever, rising to Marketing VP, he worked at Diageo and T-Mobile. Whilst responsible for T-Mobile’s brand positioning and development around Europe he became a client of decode marketing consultancy and first encountered 'decision Science‘. He is now one of very few experts to combine a practitioner's perspective with a profound knowledge of decision Science.

Sam Fowler

Sam Fowler

Craft Media

Sam Fowler has previously worked atVizeum, Goodstuff Sommunications and has recently joined Craft Media from MediaCom where he was Associate Strategy Director. Across his career he has worked with clients such as Coca-Cola, Sky & Spotify.

Shekhar Deshpande

Shekhar Deshpande

Head of Strategy and Global Accounts, EMEA

Shekhar has led local and global Planning roles for JWT in three continents. He is passionate about mentoring and developing young talent.