The first day of Goafest 2016 saw a panel discussion on ‘What agencies can do better’, where the role of agencies in business growth was put under the microscope. The discussion was moderated by CVL Srinivas, CEO of GroupM South Asia and was attended by Oliver Maletz, Head of Connections Planning, Media and International Communication at Volkswagen, Chandramouli Venkatesan, MD of Mondelez India and Samar Singh Sheikhawat, SVP (Marketing) of United Breweries.
Some of the key takeaways were:
* People who back agencies within the company are in the marketing department and one cannot make the marketing team look less important in front of the procurement team. To avoid this, agencies need to be commercially responsible. If the agency keeps this in mind, there is enough flexibility (among clients) to take risks.
* KPIs are linked to realities of business and the reality right now is that business during a particular point in the cycle is not focused on brand equity generation but on generating revenues, which is why advertising focus might seem short-term as opposed to long-term. The solution suggested by Chandramouli was to have a strategic approach towards marketing and advertising with a focus on business generation.
* Mistake made by clients and agencies is to paint the entire audience with the same, broad brushstroke.
* Clients will take substantiated risks. The suggestion to agencies was to treat client’s money as their own and think whether they would back the idea in that case.
* Still need to figure out how digital advertising can have time bound impact and a lot of groundwork is needed to find the solution. True digital revolution will come when this issue has been resolved.
*Agencies need both kinds of talent---super-specialists and generalists.
* There is a risk that at times agencies become complacent and not put their best talent forward and stop thinking about the client’s business and focus too much on their own.