When the global CEO of a large media network comes calling, you’d seldom be doing anything else than waiting for an opportunity to meet up with him. And if the CEO is of an agency as hot and rewarded as Mindshare, then you’d better not be missing out on the gyaan and gossip that he’d have to belt out.
In India after a gap of four years, Dominic Proctor, CEO, Mindshare Worldwide was at his witty best as he went on an overdrive explaining Mindshare’s performance around its key markets, shared mantras for markets to survive a slowdown and how India was the market to watch out for in the immediate future.
Lead business partner
An evident and large scale activity that took place in the group was the restructuring exercise, which though low-key was a key milestone for the group. The move was to be seen as a “lead business partner” to client rather than just a media buying or selling agency. Said Proctor of the activity, “Globally, we are still very much a Work-In-Progress and it really depends on the market that you are in. I think one of the more sophisticated markets in that respect is actually India, where we have made a lot of progress in the area of business consulting and business analytics so that we can be a real business partner to our clients. In the last couple of years, there has been more of a focus on the basic core services of media buying and selling because of the recession. Which I guess didn’t really affect India as badly, but in markets which were affected, a lot of the clients did focus their attention on making sure that their bottomline pricing was good.”
And so when the slowdown of 2009 had curbed the growth of most markets around the world, it was India that was the high point for most business ventures. And similar was the fate for Mindshare in India. Sharing his learnings from the downturn, Proctor said, “Generally speaking, the markets were depressed in 2009-10, and we are seeing growth now in most media markets in most countries. But it reminded us that clients still want to have that core basic services delivered to them efficiently and properly. If you can do that, then you can build on that core decision by adding more value with new products and new services. So, the first lesson out of the recession was going back to basics: making sure that the basics are completely correct and that’s where the procurement got actively involved.”
Of course, the downturn notwithstanding it was a strong backing that the agency received from its clients that was responsible for the good showing. “The way the clients have demonstrated their faith in us is by staying with us. Our client retention rate is extremely high – 98 per cent. That tells me that we are absolutely on the right course,” said a beaming Proctor.
On how 2010 was a unique year for India, Proctor said, “It was a very good year in the way we won a lot of businesses and also retained our clients. We did well on the awards front too as that is a measuring stick on how well the market seems to be doing. All in all, the year saw significant financial growth and was a healthy one in terms of awards too,” cited Proctor.
Presenting an overview on the growth of its other markets, Proctor said that the markets that had been struggling the most had been North America and Western Europe. “But where we have seen the most growth by contrast are the usual suspects – India, China… BRIC markets and the next 11 markets as they categorise themselves as. Certainly India has had a very strong growth for us in the last few years. We definitely see the market here growing way ahead than any global averages.”