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India is an engine of growth for GroupM APAC & WPP globally: Mark Patterson

24-May-2013
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India is an engine of growth for GroupM APAC & WPP globally: Mark Patterson

GroupM Asia Pacific CEO Mark Patterson has expressed how bullish he is about growth in India on different occasions. According to him, India is not just among one of the top 10 markets, but is also an engine of growth for GroupM Asia Pacific as well as WPP globally.

Along with the growth story, GroupM has also been tapping the huge talent pool that India offers. “I don’t think you will find any office in Asia Pacific without an Indian playing crucial role. For instance, Vikram Sakhuja is now Global CEO of one of our agencies, Maxus. Indian talent does spread that spirit and bravery across the network and that’s one of the reasons behind our success,” Patterson remarked. He also reiterated the importance of the four Ts of business in India – Technology, Trading, Talent and Terms.

However, this growth is not without its challenges. Comparing the two big markets of India and China, Patterson said, “When you start to look at the scale of comparison, these two are essentially huge markets, we have got huge metropolitan areas, there’s government involvement in various ways and it manifests itself in different ways in both the markets. We have several thousand people in China and India working in multiple cities.”

Meanwhile, noting how client-agency relationship has changed over the years, Patterson said that media agencies are today referred to as partners as opposed to vendors. He further said that clients today recognise that it is a two-way relationship between clients and media agencies and that agencies bring more insight and value. “For us, it is intelligent application,” he added.

He further said, “One thing that I have learnt is to never generalise about our clients or the individuals markets. Particularly in Asia, you have a much broader way of approaching the clients since there are different cultures and different ways of looking at products and services in agencies. Thus, you have to tailor your relationship with clients on a much broader spectrum.

Patterson added that in India clients are seen and treated as a partner rather than a supplier. “In India, it is certainly far more balanced in terms of mutual understanding, which is different from other markets,” he said.

Speaking on specialisation and super-specialisation in marketing communication services, Patterson remarked, “One of the attractions of our business moving so fast is that inevitably there are super-specialists appearing in those areas and grabbing the opportunities that exist and working at the forefront of those businesses.”

He added, “Within an organisation, in a way we are collection specialists and a limited number of generalists. The challenge is orchestrating the specialists in an integrated way. But there are certain things that we are not interested in doing, for example, we don’t want to create a copywriter and produce 30-second films.”

Calling himself a fan, promoter and an evangelist of automated media planning, Patterson shared that going forward there will be significant investments at the global level as well as in India.

He further said that there is a lot of scope and potential yet to be unlocked in digital media from a marketing communications sense.

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