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Smart marketers no longer need traditional media companies: David Klein

17-November-2009
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Smart marketers no longer need traditional media companies: David Klein

If one were to write a paper on the current media, advertising and marketing scenario, and possible solutions for future, sitting through a session of the impact One-on-One with Advertising Age’s Publishing and Editorial Director David Klein and Madison World’s Chairman and MD Sam Balsara would suffice. From treating agencies as vendors to media agencies turning creative to the issues of media company locking or unlocking editorial content on the web, the session covered it all.

Klein kicked off the session by sharing his observation of the marketing strategies in the US over the years and the trends emerging thereof. He said that marketers in the US were turning media owners, as they were sitting on mountains of databases of their customers and social media networks. “Smart marketers no longer need traditional media companies,” he emphasised.

He highlighted the fact that the industry was turning radically transparent and good advertising could no longer cover up for a bad product. “Online feedbacks and Youtube has cleared all barriers today, and messages cross borders and influences decisions,” he added. He also touched upon the aspects of location based marketing and ideated the concept of Vendor relationship management.

A tete-e-tete with Sam Balsara

Known for his incisive questions, Sam Balsara did not disappoint the audience in his conversation with Klein. The first question was what were the mistakes that agencies made in the past decade, that were counterproductive? Klein replied that it would go back a little farther when agencies expanded and turned public. He said, “This shook the client-agency relationship leading to treating agencies as vendors than partners.”

This was followed by another meaty question that if agencies are lowering their prices today, what will happen ten years from now? Klein agreed that the level of talent sophistication was going down but a marketer is going to get the work he pays for.

Highlighting another major issue of the industry, Klein said, “The process of hiring an agency by a marketer today is undertaken by an accounting person.” Balsara followed that with the question that whether advertising and media agencies could come together again? Klein stated that that was unimaginable. He pointed out that media agencies are becoming more creative and the lines between them are getting blurred.

Balsara asked if Klein would blame the bosses of the publically held agencies for the current jumble but Klein quipped that there are many factors that contributed to this mess. Talking about the free flow of editorial content on the web, he added that revenues in print advertising were going down but that was marginally compensated by advertising on the internet version. “What print media can do is probably bring out customised papers and market intelligence reports that they have collected so far in a targeted manner. There is no reason to read a general content in print today because it is already available on the internet in a faster way,” he said.

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