Relationship between advertising and media agencies

Accountability for results is not built into your partnership contracts:

The relationship between advertising and media agencies with their clients is truly one of the long standing examples of partnership and collaboration across business functions. While a relationship of trusted partnership with the advertising and media agencies is essential, it is also mutually important for the players to follow a diligent and regular review process across all aspects of the relationship. Apart from adherence to processes and policies, a re-assessment exercise re-calibrates and authenticates existing contracts, spends and execution pattern. Variable payments often are a very small portion of the overall remuneration. KPI-linked payments are few and far in between and there is scope to improve transparency around financial transactions. This exercise should ideally leverage other internal departments like Finance and Procurement as well. If the relationship with the agencies is based on very high mutual trust then it is easy to make these assessments an intrinsic part of the checks and balances regime. Key performance aspects like agency remuneration, performance linked spend analysis, assessment of media campaign effectiveness and competitive benchmarking should be a part of the scope. Market leaders find that regular assessments throw up insights and information that critically determine how their marketing budgets can be better utilized.

Innovation streak has not yet reached media strategy:

Given the widespread challenges advertisers face in terms of communications clutter and inability of people-meters to go beyond the demographic variables, innovation in media strategy is essential to enable brands to reach their target segments effectively. Best practice leaders have demonstrated that breakthrough innovation is possible across channels be it the use of advertiser funded programming or innovation in outdoors through 3D billboards. Hand on heart, not many marketing teams can stake claim to breakthrough ways of reaching their target audience and this points to capability and process issues. Another area that Indian advertisers as a whole have been slow to adapt is the use of non-traditional media. While in most developed countries TV and print contribute 50-75% of all media spends, the number is still as high as 85% in India. While some brands have adopted brand-led web portals and targeted SMS-based promotion routes, this area remains unexplored. There is an urgent need for brand teams to decipher and fully understand the multiple forms of web advertising, email ads, search engines ads and now mobile advertising as consumers have taken to these media at a rate much faster than advertisers. Again, the key pre-requisite for innovation is for brand teams to build capabilities which otherwise would have been considered outside their domain.

While there is immense pressure on CMO’s to optimise spends; it is also a great opportunity for them to fundamentally alter the processes and capabilities which define how they are able to invest in their brands in the time to come. A rigorous assessment of their marketing organisation process and capability can not only lead to cost efficiencies in the region of 5-15 % but also infuse innovation and energy into the marketing setups.

With clients increasingly trying to cut costs, agencies must constantly try to find new revenue streams to augment revenues, he said, adding that agencies should not expect the same revenue models to deliver forever. BBH initiative Zag that was set up with the mission to invent new products two products from Zag had already taken off among the 22 ideas that were launched.

Great people have a focus and don’t want to compromise. Do interesting things and interesting things will happen to you. On digital firms wanting to develop a creative culture in their organisations, it was better to put creative and technology guys together and ‘have fun’ rather than try to make creative guys tech-savvy or getting techies to embrace creativity.

Advertising had created an abstract world to live in and built a thought cage” to capture consumers, but technology threatened to change all that. The more technology connects us the more fragmented it gets.

Scary, yet fascinating things were happening that threw open a lot of opportunities for communication. There is disappearance of craft in advertising as craft ensures the subtleties and attention to detail that lifts work and makes it unforgettable. There is a need for refreshing communication and it was the discovery of what makes people do what they do, find meaning and value.