Mark Patterson, CEO, GroupM APAC, enthralled the distinguished gathering at the exchange4media Conclave 2009 that was held in Mumbai on June 3 with his keen observations of the Indian market. Sounding optimistic about the Indian economy, Patterson said that the ingenuity and flexibility of the Indian economy made it resilient in turbulent times and acted as a driver of growth.
Speaking further, Patterson said, “India needs to capitalise on what makes it unique, which is its ingenuity and flexibility, to adapt to the current economic conditions. This will allow India to grow faster. It is well positioned for growth because of its young demographic population, which brings a lot of energy and competitive advantage to succeed.”
He added that media knowledge in India was pretty high as compared to other countries in the Asia Pacific region. “There is not much gap between the communication objectives of local and global companies in India, and that makes its market a lot stronger and sophisticated,” Patterson said, adding, however, that on the creative side, there was still a lot of room for improvement in the country.
He also gave insights into other markets in the Asia Pacific region and highlighted the advantage that India had over other countries. “India has a strong position in outsourcing, but with the slowdown, every country will review their process. At this stage, India should put greater emphasis on its BPO strength and promote its position,” he observed.
Patterson’s keynote was followed by a Q&A session with LV Krishnan, CEO, TAM India. Krishnan asked Patterson about GroupM’s vision for the Indian market, the restructuring of the group companies and the consolidation amongst the media companies and its impact on client relationships. To this Patterson replied, “In India, we have the scale, intelligence, ambition and depth. We have exported Indian talent to build businesses around the world, but we have not looked at importing international talent here and take insights and learning from this market. We would want to do that.”
Shashi Sinha, CEO, Lodestar Universal, then asked Patterson about his view on the absence of the outsourcing model in the domain of media and communications. To this the latter said that the domain of media and communications strove on relationships and proximity. “Apart from all the data work, relationship with clients and media makes our domain tick, and that is the reason we have such conclaves and networking parties to build relationships. We still spend a lot of time in simplifying tasks within our organisation. Maybe this recession will force us to think on the aspect of outsourcing in this domain too,” Patterson added.
Krishnan then engaged Patterson in a rapid fire quiz round where he dodged questions on his favourite country and client. Well, he did mention that China was not among his favourite countries. On his favourite competitor, Patterson said that he admired and respected the work of OMD. In terms of his relationship with Sir Martin Sorrell, he termed it as ‘hot’. On being asked about his favourite creative agency, he pegged for Ogilvy and Mather, and when questioned about his favourite division in the group companies, he vouched for Maxus as having a lot of potential.