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Industry stalwarts turn the spotlight on emerging agencies’ challenges

Madison’s Sam Balsara, Olx’s Amarjit Batra, RK Swamy’s Srinivasan K Swamy, among others, discuss the success path for small agencies in the ever changing world of digital marketing at IAA-Delhi Ad Club event

Aanchal Kohli | Delhi | August 10, 2015

IAA-DAC

The International Advertising Association (IAA), which has been known for creating best communication among various industries from advertising to media companies as well as advertising and interactive agencies, direct marketing firms and even individual practitioners, conducted another IAA Emerging Agencies Conclave last week in Delhi.

The event was jointly organised by IAA and Delhi Advertising Club on the theme ‘Emerging Agencies – Challenges: Let’s Get Real’. The event was attended by the who’s who of the industry with speakers including Madison World CEO Sam Balsara; Olx CEO Amarjit Batra; Srinivasan K Swamy, Chairman, RK Swamy Hansa Group and many more.

Thing Small, Beat Big

Sam Balsara started the session by explaining how one can benefit out of the changing dynamics of the industry to run their business. The topic of his presentation was ‘Thinking small and beating big’, where he talked about how small ad agencies should function in order to tap clients while competing with the larger agencies. He said, “At Madison we still think that we are one of the small agencies as compared to the big giants, hence we still believe in innovating and transforming our strategies as and when required. The reason why today we consider ourselves to compete with big giants is because we think small and beat big.”

Highlighting facts about Madison World, he said, “We are a 27-year old diversified communication group, with 26 units across nine specialised functions of Advertising, Media, Business Analytics, Out-Of-Home, PR, Retail, Entertainment, Mobile and Sports; employing over 1,000 communication professional across cities in India, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Our gross billing is around Rs 37 billion and we still innovate and create more strategic alliances.”

“We still believe in simply being the best communications agency by using our insights, experience, expertise, creativity, environment knowledge and business sense to increase our clients’ profits in a sustainable way,” he added.

Looking at the way the industry and the world is moving, Balsara believes that technology can do a lot to an agency if used correctly. “We try to take away and create anything that would benefit our client in the long term. We have been hiring and nurturing the best talent and constantly challenging them intellectually and constantly challenging our existing ways, thoughts, processes and systems and developing radical new ways, tools, processes and systems that show the way,” he added.

New side of digital

Olx’s Amarjit Batra started his presentation by saying, “The industry that we all stay in today is getting diverse and complex day by day. Olx India is part of the horizontal online classifieds industry in the country and has in a short span of time catapulted to become the number one online classifieds player and among the most admired brands of India.”

According to him, the world today is seeing and witnessing the birth of a brand every year with new vision and mission and will create a new way of marketing. He said, “Marketing plays a vital role and every brand would want to use a different strategy to create awareness about the same. Super stars will keep ruling and stars of yesteryears will make comebacks and their off-springs will enter the pool.”

He feels that success for ‘dotcommers’ is not easy, hence it is about creating success in a different way. Adding further, he said, “The only reason behind the same is the fact that a lot many dot-com business take birth, but many do not have the staying power. If a business strategy is chosen strategically and in the right way, then dotcommers are here to stay.”

Digital opportunities in agencies

With the digital medium reaching a fast acceleration point and the addition of millions of Internet users every day, Google’s Business and Marketing Head, Sapna Chadha, noted that by 2018, around 500 million users were expected to be added to the current numbers.

She feels that smartphones have grown excessively and screens have grown drastically. “When it comes to marketing and advertising, with increasing screens brands are facing quite a few challenges to tap their target audiences. With mobile, marketers are getting better opportunities as that has enabled Internet engagement quite literally,” she added.

According to Chadha, the biggest challenge is awareness about digital as a medium on both sides – agencies and clients – hence, the space is becoming complex day by day.

The initiative

At IAA - India Chapter, the goal is to be seen as the most vibrant of all chapters across the globe. Srinivasan K Swamy, President, IAA, said, “In 2014 we were recognised as the Best Chapter by IAA Global - the earlier one in 2010, was also ours. In addition to various activities, our focus will be to attract more members, provide more relevance of IAA to them, be seen as an active industry body by every constituent – advertiser, agency and media.”

With this initiative, IAA also wanted to let advertising and marketing to come together once again and relate/ discuss the on-going challenges in the industry. Since IAA has entered its Silver Jubilee this year, he said, “I do believe that the last couple of years (2012-14) have been quite hectic for the India Chapter. We have entered our Silver Jubilee year and this year promises to be no less, from the slew of activities planned – continuing ones and new ones. The tentative calendar of events provided below will show that IAA India will not have a dull month with an event almost every week.”

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