As ZenithOptimedia celebrates its fifth anniversary here, Philip Talbot, CEO - APAC, ZenithOptimedia, has made some 20-odd trips to India. Though a bit late in India, Talbot is happy with the way the group is moving in the country.
Though the Diwali quarter of 2008 was flatter for the group than in the previous four years, what Talbot is really interested in is to see how things are going to be like in the next four weeks. In an exclusive conversation with exchange4media Tabolt said, “Personally, I think this can be really-really strong. Besides the slowdown, you had terrorism as well, so what I noticed was that throughout the world with the global economic crisis, there was little bit more things happening in India that point in time, and India stops slowdown much more sharply than anyone else, but I would say, especially after the elections, it picked up really well. And with the Commonwealth Games, the overall feeling of optimism and confidence is really strong in India.”
Speaking about ZenithOptimedia’s growth, Talbot claimed that in the last five years the group had been doubling its business every year. “Though it might have been a bit lighter in the slowdown year, but still it would have been over 50 per cent growth,” he said, affirming that last year was the best year ever for ZenithOptimedia across the APAC region, with the group exceeding every target across the region.
He pointed out, “There is a French rating company Redmark, an Internet agency which does assessment of all advertising agencies across different markets on different matrices, and they have released their 2008, and we got an A+ in India, which is the highest among all the agencies. When you do a cumulative score across the region, ZenithOptimedia came first.”
On being asked whether there was space for the number of agencies from the same group – with MediaVest, Vizeum and OMD already here and with the latter planning to launch PHD – Talbot replied, “From a broader perspective in terms of the advertising market in India, I think one of things people forget is that advertising as a percentage of GDP in India is a mere 0.4 percent, while in the US it is 1.1 per cent and the global average after the slowdown is 0.9 per cent and it is 0.8 per cent in the APAC region. So, there is an awful lot of room for India to grow.”
Talbot was amazed by the continuous amount of new advertisers coming into this market place and said, “For me, India really has more opportunities probably than any other market, due to its consumers, the opportunity and generally the whole area of marketing consumption advertising that can grow here.”
Speaking about the ROI seminars organized by the group (one of which was held in the Capital recently), Talbot said that these were meant to bring people together and build much more partnership and collaboration. “We will continue to think of different ways by which our clients can engage with consumers in all other aspects, besides the traditional point of views as well. We will probably do a number of different tie-ups and look at different ways of expanding our footprints. There are a lot of cities and local areas still to be covered, so we will look at ways of how to cover those markets efficiently,” he added.
ZenithOptimedia has always stressed on ROI. The group is now looking at building more and more tools based on ‘Live ROI’. Talbot noted, “When we talk about touchpoints, we have got a database of over 300,000 people whom we have communicated with, we have got a databank of five years’ experience. So, people who want to are talking about ROI at this point of time and it’s up to them, but we have been living and breathing it for a much longer time.”
Along with expansion to newer markets, also comes the hiring of the right people. Stressing on getting the right talent, Talbot said, “I think the key is to bring the right people with the right culture, then you are going to maintain that momentum of success. In India, it is never difficult to find talented people who have got the drive and passion to do things, so talent is not a problem. But you’ve got to find the right person for you, and that’s much more difficult. We’ve had huge ability with our senior and middle management, and over the years we have realised that the most valuable thing is that you’ve got your people and that they work together as a team.”
(Written by Shanta Saikia)