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Upselling to clients can solve the issue of dwindling media agencies’ revenues, says Navin Khemka

After bringing home the title of ‘Media Agency Of The Year’ at The Abby One Show Awards 2023, Khemka, CEO, EssenceMediacom (South Asia), spoke to on the impact of awards, fragmentation and more

Navin Khemka

Just five months after the merger between two of WPP’s media agencies- Essence and Mediacom took place, the newly minted agency- EssenceMediacom bagged the title of “Media Agency Of The Year” along with the coveted Grand Prix at The Abby One Show Awards 2023. 

For this year’s Media Abby, there were 1019 entries (including South Asia), out of which 408 entries had been shortlisted and 99 metals, including 5 South Asia Winners, were given away at the awards gala.

Of these, EssenceMediacom won 1 Grand Prix, 4 Gold, 9 Silver, 6 Bronze Abby and 122 points overall.

Speaking about the win, Navin Khemka, CEO, EssenceMediacom (South Asia), stated that while the team is ‘absolutely ecstatic’ about the win, personally for him, it is a “great start” or “just the beginning” for the five-months-old EssenceMediacom and is a predicament to the fact that “things are going just right”, be it in terms of the “team being structured well” or “some great work happening.” 

“Awards are a great recognition at two-three levels. Firstly, it gives a lot of confidence to the agency that the work that they are doing is amongst the best. Today, the client is also looking for recognition in his/her organisation for the marketing efforts that are working for them and therefore, the client also showcases the work that the team or we, as an agency, are winning, internally. The third thing is that awards help in attracting new businesses, clients and obviously talent. Overall, it gives you a huge blip in the market,” he emphasised.

Upon being questioned as to what, in his views, has opened up the envelope for the awards this year, he replied that because everybody, including the smaller agencies, is realising the importance of awards and the crucialness of winning at a forum like The Abby One Show Awards, it reassures the agencies of the kind of work that they are doing along with their clients.

“Because marketing is getting fragmented into newer services, there are newer agencies which are emerging and specialising in those areas and coupled with the emergence of new categories in the awards, which is bound to happen, winning the title of Agency of the Year is going to be extremely tough,” he stated.

On another note, he also shared that post the recent merger of Essence and Mediacom to form EssenceMediacom, the objective is to ensure that the team is set “absolutely right” straight from the leadership roles which constitute not less than 17 members across three different countries- South, West and North at the time, with the East office coming soon.

“If each country or unit is self-sufficient, they’ll be able to grow themselves,” he added.

In his viewpoint, there is a lot more “sophistication” that’s prevalent in the media agency ecosystem albeit in terms of understanding the consumer’s needs, harnessing data, reaching out, transacting or even ensuring that a loyalty is being built in the process, because it is no longer a one-way communication with the consumer but a two-way street.

“Today media agencies can do so much more rather than just placing media advertising, which today is just 20% of the job, but to be involved in the entire journey - the remaining 80% of the job - is to actually do the full funnel activities constituting all the three- top, middle and bottom levels,” he opined.

He also went on to point out that in the contemporary world, there are various brands who don’t wish to go down the funnel in the typical fashion (Top to Middle to Bottom) and rather choose to go straight down the funnel to the bottom level, in certain cases, as the consumers today are already targeted quite sharply.

Throwing light on the rationale behind the same, he emphasised that in today’s day and age, not only are the consumers fragmenting but also the data about the consumers is sharply available, unlike earlier times when there was no option but to be top funnel and hope that the consumer will buy the product in the absence of data.

As per Khemka, the two biggest challenges for the media agencies in today’s day and age include scaling up by being truly good in the kind of services that one offers, especially the new age ones, and the other to be able to attract and retain talent in the industry.

He also shared the opinion that the revenue of media agencies would either be stagnant or would even go down if at all the agency doesn’t upsell and offer more services to clients as the clients would obviously not pay an agency “more for the same, but would actually pay more for more.”

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