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An agency is only as good as its clients: Kartik Sharma

10-May-2013
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An agency is only as good as its clients: Kartik Sharma

While brands are constantly trying to ascertain how to optimise media spends, leverage multiple touch-points to engage, and interact with consumers in order to enhance the influence of brand communication, Maxus India’s approach to media is deeply rooted in the agency’s proprietary philosophy called Relationship Media (RM).

“At the heart of RM lies putting the consumer at the centre of everything we do and understanding their barriers and gathering insights that will help break those barriers. It’s a rigorous process striking a balancing between science and art. When you put the consumer at the centre, in essence you become neutral to media platforms. When CMO budgets are under pressure, this approach helps even better as it does not start with any pre-conceived notion of which media to advertise on,” shares Kartik Sharma, Managing Partner, Maxus India.

Sharma also believes that the old world order of doing things with a certain template approach to brand building using media is fractured.

Today both advertisers and agencies have no choice but to be bold and experiment. “An agency is only as good as its clients. If clients are not bold, there is no way agencies can do good work,” he added.

The data equation
Whilst clients and agencies alike are grappling with the two pronged challenge of firstly getting access to the right data and secondly its optimum usage, the range of data metrics available today add to the challenge leading to an overload of data. Maxus India believes in tackling this as a collaborative process with clients. “Once you get good data, we use our proprietary tool called Live. It’s a cutting-edge tool which at one hand acts as a real-time dashboard to understand campaign effectiveness and at a different level can be used to do scenario planning. Live is the only tool by any media agency which ranks amongst the top three tools in the world, as per a research done by Forrester. In fact, the tool resides at the client’s end which helps clients take faster decisions. The beauty of the tool is its simplicity and the ability to be media agnostic. Any data, as long as it is quantitative in nature, can be input into the tool,” shared Sharma.

The agency leverages data to create robust statistical models to understand business drivers and use it for both, optimising and future forecasting.

The agency has recently launched a proprietary tool called Resolve, developed by the global planning team. Resolve helps in articulating key brand tasks based on barriers and then recommends the ideal touch-points. The data is based on rigorous primary research done across consumers. The tool looks at more than 70+ touch-points and depending on the task, it recommends the relevant touch-point.

The other proprietary tool Maxus uses is Bingo; developed by GroupM, which is a multi-city media mix optimiser. Maxus also leverages QED a proprietary tool which uses the power of econometrics to optimise media investments.

“Till date, we have two large projects using behavioural economics, and the results are encouraging. We will be doing many more studies in the next few months and release many new ground-breaking researches that the Indian market has never seen before,” shared Sharma.

Media planning: The next game-changer
Sharma believes that while the media buying activity can be boiled down to a single metric called savings for the client, planning is not so easy. Hence, many clients don’t understand the value of planning. Planning at a philosophical level is about what to do and buying is about how efficiently you can do it.

“If you get planning wrong, then it does not matter how efficient you were in the buying process. Some clients have started valuing planning. To me personally, this is going to be a game-changer in the next few years,” he added.

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