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Media agencies haven’t been given their due credit: Manmeet Ahluwalia

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Media agencies haven’t been given their due credit: Manmeet Ahluwalia

Manmeet Ahluwalia, Marketing Head of Expedia India, who is also on the jury of exchange4media’s Media ACE Awards, talks about the essence of true partnership between media agencies and clients, key challenges faced by clients in a working relationship with media agencies, and his expectations from the inaugural edition of Media ACE Awards.

Are media agencies true partners for clients today?

There couldn’t be a better time than today. In today’s dynamic environment, marketing budgets are shrinking and advertising rates are increasing by the year, with a regular addition of channels and publications to the bouquet. The media agency plays an indispensable role in finding a sweet spot for brands, as most clients are trying to reach the same set of consumers for different products & services. Clients today, value agencies that work as extensions of their internal teams keeping a view of business objective and recommending strategies that best suit client need without compromising on efficiencies.

What are the needs/ gaps/ challenges faced by clients in terms of their media agencies?

One of the key challenge faced by clients are frequent change in key account servicing & planning teams due to flux or resource rationalization by the agency itself. However, this creates disconnects, as clients need to start afresh, to educate and align the new team/members with the business needs and SOPs. It also spells additional time investment from the client’s side to align them to the business objectives.

Are agencies able to fulfill client needs in terms of digital engagement with consumers?

It’s a steep learning curve wherein both clients & agencies are learning from each other and evolving in the digital landscape. Though India is still at a nascent stage as compared to the western world, but the market is picking up fast. In fact, some segments such as mobile marketing & social media marketing are moving at a much faster pace given the penetration of mobile smartphone devices in our country. Brands are constantly looking out for newer ways of targeting their customers and consumers and are fast evolving to experiment and leverage novel channels for marketing.

What are your expectations from the inaugural edition of Media ACE Awards?

A good advertising idea can be translated into tangible success through a mix of creative execution and a good media vehicle to reach out to the TG specific for the brand. Choosing the right media vehicle is one of the critical factors that decide the fate of an advertising campaign. While we have umpteen creative awards, this initiative will help recognize creative & innovative media strategists in this space.

What is the benchmark that these awards felicitating the agencies should set, so that both brands and the agencies can use it as a yardstick?

Given the communication environment we all live in, innovation is imperative to break clutter, garner eye balls and build brand recall. This innovation has to extend to media execution, to create the desired impact and success.

What do you personally feel about the necessity of acknowledging the work of media agencies in the country?

Media agencies haven’t been given their due credit. With the ever changing landscape it is time, we as fraternity and advertisers, acknowledge how crucial their contribution is to the chain of communication.

exchange4media Group’s Media ACE Awards initiative is an attempt to recognize Indian media agencies for their work and contribution to the Indian media industry. The Media Ace awards are slated to take place in the first week of July. The jury meet is on June 19th in Mumbai.

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