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Jim Hytner

G14 CEO & President, Global Clients | 25 Oct 2013

Clients expect the team to concentrate on their job, which is to sell more products. If you want your agency to be interested in your sales, you have to pay your agency to be interested in the sales, which is why with Tata Motors we get paid commensurate with how many sales they get. We follow the pay-for-performance model, linking compensation directly to client growth. It’s a simple rule that we follow and I think this is how the clients should behave. The client should not pay by commission or fees, but they should pay by sales.

An exceptional leader, a Manchester United lover and a busy father, Jim Hytner, G14 CEO and President of Global Clients, IPG Mediabrands, dons many roles. Following leadership roles at UM in Europe and Initiative around the world, Hytner oversees global clients as well as the G14 markets for IPG Mediabrands. He leads all three global brand networks – UM, Initiative and BPN – together with Mediabrands assets across a collection of the greatest markets in the world.

He is a Trustee of Comic Relief, Chairman of Logan Sports and a member of the Commercial Committee at BAFTA. He is a season ticket holder of 35 years standing, but his only disappointment is that none of his children, yet, are as fanatical about Manchester United as him. In conversation with exchange4media’s Twishy, Hytner speaks at length about the plans to grow with the Indian clients, the growing importance of digital, the pay for performance model followed by IPG and much more…

Q. How different is the Indian market as compared to other G14 markets in terms of client expectations and media landscape? How are you planning to grow here?

The media landscape is very different because India is a growing market. We think that the economy is slowing down, but compared to the UK, Germany or even China, India is a great growth market for us.

We expect great things from India because we feel we have been underdeveloped here. We bought Interactive Avenues as part of an aggressive acquisition strategy in India and we want India to take a leadership position in G14. Digitally and media-wise, India is very advanced, so IPG looks at India like in the 1990s it may have looked at the UK – as a vibrant dynamic market. However, our planning needs to be stronger. The ideas are plentiful, but conventional clients still want a great plan.

Q. What are the major clients for you in India? How are you planning to grow with them?

We have some very good local clients doing innovative work with us. We have done interesting programmes with Tata Motors and Unilever, so it’s hard to pick an individual client. My job is to address the client’s issues and to build every market. All clients are important to us, because every client has its own benefits for the teams that we employ. The media marketplace is competitive, so in order to survive, you have to have great clients who want great work.

Q. There are many clients who would like to come to India. What is your advice to them?

I believe India is more dynamic than the US or the UK. In India, everything is possible, so for companies who are not here, it is welcoming commercially. There are some fantastic agencies that can help market their brands. Since it is a growing market, consumers are interested in new brands, unlike Western Europe. It is easy for marketers to access consumers in India through mobile and advanced technology.

Q. How are you increasing collaboration across various networks in IPG?

One of the specific reasons we are here is for Germany, Italy, the UK, France, Mexico, Brazil and Japan to meet Interactive Avenues and to use them better. I am really interested in the collaboration between the other world markets in the group and Interactive Avenues. They are already working with some of the US clients. Hence, there is increasing collaboration happening across networks.

Q. How difficult is it to manage all G14 based client relationships across UM, Initiative and BPN?

It’s easier than you would think. It’s one conversation, so Shashi Sinha and media brands in India have one person above, and that’s me, and I have one person that is Matt Seiler. The challenge is to make sure that each operation is different and drive distinction between them. For example, it is a challenge to make sure that UM is curious, which is their brand positioning, and Initiative is fast, brave and decisive, which is their positioning, and to make sure that Shashi Sinha drives the distinction between the operations. It’s a pleasure because it’s just one conversation with one chief executive.

Q. What’s the rationale behind G14 and how successful has it been?

The G14 is IPG’s group of high-growth, priority markets that includes markets such as Germany, Italy, the UK, France, Mexico, Brazil, India and many more. The G-14 markets are of great importance to the clients. Almost 80 per cent of the investments of big clients go into these markets. These are the markets that get services rolled out first, they get the acquisitions first and much more. We operate regionally and serve the clients regionally, but these markets are of utmost priority. It’s easier to roll out the same services for the economies that are similar to each other.

It’s to do with focus and investment and make sure that the countries that the clients regard as most important have a commercial focus.

Q. How are the Indian clients adopting digital in their marketing plans?

Digital has changed everything. I probably spend 80 per cent of my time talking about social media with clients and my teams. And yet, spends by clients is just 5-20 per cent. Clients are rightly obsessed with digital, but even in 2013, there is an appropriate nervousness about coming of outdoor, radio, print and TV all into social media and digital. The transition into digital and how it works is difficult to understand. There is reticence to switch completely, and I think the way Indian clients are slowly but surely transitioning is the right way to go.

Q. Since you have an experience of working on the client side as well, what do clients expect from media agencies?

They expect the team to concentrate on their job, which is to sell more products. If you want your agency to be interested in your sales, you have to pay your agency to be interested in the sales, which is why with Tata Motors we get paid commensurate with how many sales they get. We follow the pay-for-performance model, linking compensation directly to client growth.

We have worked with the German government and Angela Merkel and we clearly mentioned that don’t pay us if you lose, but pay us more if we help you win big, so we were paid on the percentage of votes. Even in France, with Starbucks, we were paid on the amount of coffee they sell every year.

Hence, it’s a simple rule that we follow and I think this is how the clients should behave. The client should not pay by commission or fees, but they should pay by sales.

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