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PMAR 2018: Exploit each medium's unique strengths, says industry veteran Sam Balsara

19-February-2018
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PMAR 2018: Exploit each medium's unique strengths, says industry veteran Sam Balsara

Industry veteran Sam Balsara, Chairman, Madison World, summed up the advertising world's journey in 2017 in one word- stunted. Although, he had two words for 2018- fingers crossed.

Balsara said that he is optimistic about 2018 and explained why is he keeping his fingers crossed for 2018. "Our optimism is only tempered by the fact that the government is set on its agenda for the long term good of the economy. So, some other reforms which are introduced during the year, which could be good for the economy in the long run, may have an adverse short term effect of destabilising the economy again, the way demonetisation and GST did," he said at the unveiling of the Pitch Madison Advertising Report 2018.

He observed that the coming year looks promising after emerging from the two years of slow growth. "There are multiple reasons for the year looking promising. State elections, new launches by automobile companies, better spending in the sporting arena, strong come-back by FMCG companies, etc. are indicators," said Balsara.

Keeping all these growth avenues and the roller-coaster ride that the industry has been on for the last couple of years in mind, Balsara offered his advice to advertisers for the year ahead. He pointed out that media should be used wisely and that, at times, taking risks is worth the gains.

Calling upon advertisers to adopt a new terminology, he proposed managing media by objectives. "Peter Drucker introduced the concept of Management by Objectives decades ago. It was a new-fangled approach back then when I was in management school. In a market full of brand proliferation and little distinctiveness, I believe you can make media the differentiator to meet brand and business goals," he said.

A range of diverse media has led to brands exploring every avenue, seeking to fulfil unnecessary objectives, sometimes without the right purpose in mind. "Let's focus on outcomes rather than media output. Media choices should lead to the brand being seen, explored and shared more or work harder at point of purchase. Therefore, we must choose the one that is most important for the brand and then set our KPIs in stone," he noted.

"Sometimes marketers and advertisers forget that delivering reach at the lowest cost is just one parameter on which they should evaluate media," Balsara pointed out. "We do feel that in the current scenario with our state of brands and media, you cannot grow brands only by driving CPRP down," he said. He advised, "We need to use media properties put out by media owners wisely and fearlessly. No risk, no gain."

Balsara also had a word of caution for advertisers against following the herd blindly, in the context of digital advertising. "Use each medium to its strength. Do not use a medium just because everyone is using it. Instead, exploit each medium's unique strengths," he said.

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