"We aim to cater to SMEs that don't have access to large media agencies"

Our vision is to enable marketers with discovery, shortlisting, planning and execution of their media plan, says Mayank Bidawatka, Co-founder & CEO, The Media Ant

e4m by Deepa Balasubramanian
Updated: Sep 17, 2013 8:41 AM
"We aim to cater to SMEs that don't have access to large media agencies"

“Our objective is to make the marketer’s job easier by increasing transparency of information and making planning easier, while leveraging technology,” says Mayank Bidawatka, Co-founder & CEO, The Media Ant.

In conversation with exchange4media, Bidawatka talks about the need for a company like The Media Ant, what drove him to start it, challenges in the India market and plans in the pipeline, among other things…

What were the insights on starting The Media Ant?
When I was heading marketing at redBus and wanted to spend Rs 5 lakh on offline marketing, I contacted media agencies to get media options I could evaluate within this budget. None of them were willing to help me unless I increased my budget by 10-fold. They said it doesn’t fit into their economics. I was left to figure out various media options on my own and the experience was very hectic and time-consuming. I knew that there are many media options out there, but there was no single place to get information related to these options.

That’s when I realised that there is no information transparency in the media business. Only the large advertisers could access information through their agencies. The smaller and mid-sized companies would face something very similar to my experience. We wanted to create a product that could cater to the SME that doesn’t have access to an agency and create a business model that could cater to them at scale.

The best way to do this would be to aggregate information from all the media owners across various media categories and make this information available online. This way, there could be a self-serving model where the SME could get information for free and get in touch with us to help them out with media that they shortlist.

Our vision is to become a platform that enables marketers with discovery, shortlisting, planning and execution of their media plan. Unlike the traditional agency, we want to be an enabler rather than a doer.

Our model is very different from the usual media agencies. We work more like a buying agency than a planning agency; hence, giving us the ability to deal with conflicting businesses too. We largely use our website for planning purposes and don’t do heavy execution. We connect our clients to the vendor directly in cases of heavy-execution media requirements and largely execute print-related media.

What are the challenges that you face when it comes to building your brand in a market like India?
The problem we are trying to solve is that of aggregating all media options in the country. That’s a gigantic task. There are many media types and each of them has thousands of media options. This is a network business and you have to figure a way around the chicken and egg issue. Media owners don’t want to list with you till there are enough advertisers, and advertisers won’t come till there are enough media options. This is a difficult issue to crack but we have found our way around this and are doing fairly well in perfecting the business model.

The other challenge is getting the word out to marketers. There is no single large platform that reaches out to this segment. This makes the marketing piece a little challenging.

What is the revenue model for The Media Ant?
Unlike media agencies, we get our revenues from the partner, rather than the advertiser. They pass a commission on the value of the media sold.

What are the growth plans in the pipeline?
Our plan is to grow fast in terms of adding new media options on our site. We have one of the largest options in terms of non-traditional media and magazines. We will now work on making discovery easier in the print advertising medium and move on to cover other media types once we have exhausted that. Print has the largest pie (50 per cent) in the $6 billion advertising market in India and we want to concentrate on it before we move on to other areas.

Our objective is to solve pain points in the industry and make the marketer’s job easier by increasing transparency of information and making planning easier, while leveraging technology.
 

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