Talent crunch has been a cause for some serious worry across industry, more so in the advertising industry. Highlighting this issue, Dominic Proctor, President, GroupM Worldwide said that one of the main concerns facing the industry is re-training the existing talent pool, however not enough is being done on this front.
“You cannot transform a business without transforming the people in the business,” said Proctor. Speaking on the talent from India, he felt that not enough leadership is emerging from India and this is a challenge as India is still a follower and not the leader as far as new thought processes are concerned. An observation over his many trips to the country is that while India has become much more confident, the challenge remains in building on this and becoming a world leader.
Looking ahead, Proctor forecast that while media companies will be more automated, he does not foresee a situation where a company will have fewer people on board. He sees firms concentrating on a lot more strategic initiatives and reiterated that for this to happen companies will need to refocus on their talent.
Proctor further said that while he found the constant comparisons between India and China amusing, he found extraordinary innovation in China. While many in the West still think of China as being masters of duplicate, this is no longer true as today some of the best innovation is coming from entrepreneurs based behind the Great Wall.
Proctor saw developments in digital media as the primary change in the last couple of years globally, but added that India is still down the curve when compared to other global counterparts. He felt that there is “incremental value in growth of digital” and felt that mobile will play a big role in growth of digital in the country. With mobile being the primary access medium to the internet, Proctor believes that other countries could learn from India on using mobile as a target.
While consolidation in the industry is a positive sign, he admitted that the recent Publicis-Omnicom Group (POG) merger did come as a surprise and believes that media and investment management was most likely the reason behind the merger. While on mergers, Proctor did not rule out further acquisitions in India by GroupM, but added that no large firm is on GroupM’s radar. However, the company’s focus will remain on small, strategic firms as specialisation and not scale was the company’s strategy.
Being in the client servicing business, it is critical to remain ‘more intelligent’ than the client, Proctor said, adding that GroupM picks up knowledge from the broader market. However, while the focus always remains on the client, the company has walked away from global pitches as it felt that these businesses would not have helped recoup their investments. However, the company believes in engaging with its clients and even involves them in its internal awards, Choreos.
Finally, pitching for a career in a media agency, Proctor said that media investment/ management companies will become more valuable, providing a huge opportunity to youngsters looking for a career here and added that media agency is of massive importance not just to clients, but also to the economy on the whole.
Dominic Proctor was speaking on the topic ‘Evolution of media and the India market’ at the 13th edition of the exchange4media Conclave, held in Mumbai on November 25, 2013. The session was chaired by Annurag Batra, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, exchange4media Group.