R Gowthaman, Leader, Mindshare South Asia lists the seven things agencies can’t ignore while making a media pitch to a client.
Product – At the end of the day, you are as good as your product. While each agency will have their own tools and techniques, it is imperative that these tools are put to good use to demonstrate that they are indeed working and more so, working in context to the client’s brands and business needs. There are a broad range of products and services that an agency can put in front of the client – across Business Understanding, Consumer Understanding and Execution Excellence, Real Time Campaign Management and Business Intelligence. Don’t want to give a plug on Mindshare, but I am compelled to say that our value exchange framework puts this in a nice and detailed wire-map, giving our clients a complete suite of tools and techniques that can be beneficial to them.
Price – At the core of our service is the price efficiency we bring to our client. The efficiency that helps their bottomline. A&P is one of the most questioned investment/ expenditure in any balance sheet. It is of paramount importance that the price is just right and in fact the best a client can get at that point of time. This is exactly where the size matters. And at the same time, micro-planning efficiencies on day-to-day management of the plans are equally important. While the product helps in getting the strategy right, price helps in getting the execution right. As media gets more and more fragmented, the onus is on the agency to be abreast of all the developments and to be on top of the dynamic nature of the business to deliver 24x7 control on the investment/expenditure of a client’s marketing plans.
People – We are in the people’s business. The nature of our business is so people dependent, that more often than not, the passion for brands, the commitment to be on top of the situation, being observant of the market development and the urge to be on top of the competition can more than offset the other two Ps mentioned above. And committing the right talent to the client depending on their needs is absolutely important. Not all talent can work with all clients. We need to customise the talent to the right needs of the client.
Process – A brilliant execution of a not-so-good strategy is far better than a brilliant strategy poorly executed. Execution is strategy in our business. And for good execution, a world class process is necessary and important. State of the art back-end system, quick response time to course-correct activities and a system that manages and informs all the stakeholders on an ongoing basis is very vital. With the number of transactions per day increasing day by day and with more media options coming in with varied trading terms and success/delivery metrics, it is absolutely important that we provide the best process to our clients that improves the efficiency of the delivery big time. In my experience, process efficiency can itself provide 10-15% advantage in the marketplace.
Technology – Ours is a data heavy business. We deal with multiple streams of data – both slow-moving and fast-moving. Data is the new oil. An agency should be able to harness the data and help the client infer these to aid them in their decision-making. Media agencies are well positioned to be the main pipe through which all data can flow through to the clients. And for this, we need superior technology that provides data inferences in a smart and beautiful way. This is absolutely critical going forward. An agency which is not investing in technology is sure to lag behind in the times to come. And I am absolutely delighted to say that we are at the forefront on the investments we are making in this area.
Terms – Very often, we are called ‘buying agencies’. While we do buy media, it is important to note that most of our fraternity is involved in the entire marketing process and our terms of engagement with the client should reflect that. I really get very troubled when we are called the buying agency. In fact, I am worried on both these terms–buying as well as agency–actually we are not agents, we do much more than that. And in most cases, our terms should also reflect the same where we are measured for our efforts that deliver outcomes on brands and not just mere intermediary outputs like GRPs, Reach and Frequency. I am reasonably sure and safe to say that our fraternity in India is far ahead of just being “buying agencies”.
Trust – This is a value that we stand for. Our clients come first and we should demonstrate the same internally and to our clients as well. Only when the clients trust us is there value in the equation. Otherwise, this business can go down just being absolutely transactional and relegate itself to being just a vendor. We believe we should be the trusted business partner to our client. Mindshare believes in this philosophy to the last bone in its ecosystem. We will live and die for our brands and build trust, so that our clients celebrate our partnership.