It’s okay to sleep with the enemy, as agencies turn media integrators, say Sanjay Behl, Ashutosh Srivastava, Nick Waters

With a provocative title like ‘Sleeping with the enemy – Is the age of collaboration really here?’, the views could only have been insightful. Mindshare’s Ashutosh Srivastava and Aegis Media’s Nick Waters engaged in this interesting debate, with Sanjay Behl of Reliance ADA as the session chairman.

e4m by Pallavi Goorha Kashyup
Updated: Jun 14, 2010 8:48 AM
It’s okay to sleep with the enemy, as agencies turn media integrators, say Sanjay Behl, Ashutosh Srivastava, Nick Waters

The Mumbai leg of the exchange4media Conclave 2010 was held on June 11. The annual flagship event of the exchange4media Group, the Conclave is special this year as it marked the commencement of the Group’s 10th Anniversary celebrations. The theme for the Conclave this year was ‘Rebooting the Indian media and advertising industry’. The exchange4media Conclave 2010 was presented by Dainik Jagran. CNEB was the Associate Sponsor.

In his opening address, Anurag Batra, Chairman & Editor-in-Chief, exchange4media Group, said, “We are really happy to announce the completion of 10 years of the exchange4media Group. In these 10 years, there have been several landmarks. We’ve had a tie-up with AdAge and we are launching our Marketing Awards. We are going to educate and involve all the brand owners and CMOs of the country. We have seen a lot of growth of newspapers due to the decrease in newsprint prices. We have recently launched samachar4media, a website on Hindi media.”

The proceedings of the day-long Conclave commenced with the session on ‘Sleeping with the enemy – Is the age of collaboration really here?’ The panellists comprised Ashutosh Srivastava, CEO, Mindshare APAC, and Nick Waters, CEO, Aegis Media APAC. Session Chairperson was Sanjay Behl, CEO, DTH & IPTV, Reliance ADA.

In his opening remarks, Behl said, “I strongly believe we live in a very exciting age today, where change has been constant and the market is evolving very fast. We are living in a world which is predominantly digital and the consumer has changed his thought processes about the mediums. The medium of print has dramatically changed. There are lot of more TV and radio channels. Cinema has evolved and improved a lot. ”

He further noted, “We are an unconventional medium and we are moving towards a digital revolution. Social networking is a very confusing medium and it has become a marketer’s tool. Broadband reach is increasing and it is bringing virtual gaming to life. Every gaming company wants to make a film on every brand available. We are in a revolutionary stage where all media is evolving. The marketer needs to evolve and become a digital marketer and connect with the world. Marketing ROI and the output is being measured through the brand track.”

The question put to panellists was how the media partners and agency partners were evolving?” To this, Srivastava replied, “I have been asked this question many times – that you have been out of the market for five years, where do you think the industry has changed? We have evolved a little and the challenges we faced weren’t any different from any other mediums. We need to discuss certain issues and face the challenges as a collective industry.”

“The media business has become very sophisticated. The reality is that all these media services are not integrated and very often they are competing against each other. They are looking for advice to make things simple. The creative agencies are at the bottom of a pyramid in the market where the content is media landscape. We have number of forces clashing with each other. The media agencies that are stuck to dated models, specialised shops bring new marketing ideas and newer players who generate lot of data and sit on it. The marketers must start negotiating cost and the media agencies will then need to deliver cheaper inventories,” added Srivastava.

He further said, “Our new marketing reality is paid and owned. We use paid media to promote all utilities and credibility. It’s about promoting the brand through similarity of ideas. We need to navigate the world of marketing through effective marketing-targeting, adaptation and tracking. It’s important to link our output to outcome he opined. The enablers are experts in understanding data and using technology to analyse the same. We need to understand the media through numbers and how brands are operating. We are moving from the segmented audience to individuals. It’s not about 30 second commercials anymore. We need to create versatile ideas through channel diversity and media specific creativity. The solution to this is collaboration. We need someone who is a versatile leader working with a group of people with complementary skills.”

Giving his observations in the scenario abroad and in India, Waters said, “America has been first to become digital. In Europe, there were turbulent difficult times. In India we have found the country to be ahead of the thinking game in the digital world. We have the maximum number of broadband connections going and the maximum number of mobile phones in India. We need specialised people to train for the digital revolution. Media agencies have taken the central position. We need to manage and revolutionise data.”

According to him, “There is the opportunity for media agencies to be media integrators. I clearly see bigger imperative in integration but it is a big challenge. Media agencies need to understand consumer behaviour and integrate to get all the solutions together. The key is to move from outcome measurement and come out with a unified code for media agencies. We will need to take support from an outside specialised agency, this helps in specialision and some clients prefer specialised media agencies instead of one agency performing all the services together.”

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