Traditional media shares in ad spends set to decline

MUMBAI: Across the globe, ad agency specialists and media specialists are talking about the fact that traditional media will no longer continue its monopoly over media spends. In India, too, below-the-line activities such as direct marketing, in-film placements and public relations. Although TV and print still manage to get a dominant chunk of the ad pie, change will be the name of the game.

Recently, the Heads of Marketing Survey 2003 was carried out by NOP and surveyed 100 senior marketers from a range of sectors. This survey conducted by Jaywing, a London-based communication management agency, has revealed that 40 per cent of UK-based firms were planning to increase their budgets on direct marketing campaigns using email and SMS, as well as digital television in 2003.

So what do Indian experts say?

MediaCom's senior VP Jasmin Sohrabji says: "The whole idea is to get close to the consumer and develop a central plan or insight. We develop the plan from that central point rather than having a pre-determined fixed idea. The process of strategic media planning is not just about TV or print but involves identifying the various consumer contact points such the Internet or outdoor or other innovations."

"We have no qualms about telling our clients that they should use DM (direct marketing) or PR (public relations) to attain the desired results. At MediaCom, we call this "channel (different from TV channels) planning," Sohrabji adds.

Initiative Media president Ashish Bhasin adds: "One of the most important trends in 2002 was the increase in the proportion of below-the-line media (rural marketing, direct mail, public relations, merchandising, shopboards) vis-?-vis traditional media such as TV and print. This segment grew at a faster pace and was also responsible for growing the media pie."

Recently, Bhasin hit the headlines when he was handed over the responsibility of media and advertising powerhouse, the Lowe group?s integrated communications businesses (which include Lowe Personal, Linterland, Lintertainment, LinOpinion, Advent, dCell and Aaren Initiative). It is believed that the size of the DM industry is at around 10 per cent of the entire adspend of Rs 90 billion.

WPP's Mindshare Fulcrum MD Vikram Sakhuja says: "Securing competitive deals and managing our clients' media investment is fundamental for MindShare and our critical volume ensures favoured customer status with powerful media owners. MindShare goes above and beyond traditional media planning and buying. We are able to redefine media and approach it from a broader perspective, by incorporating expertise from WPP Group companies together with the MindShare specialist units."

These are MindShare Digital; MindShare Direct; MindShare Consumer Insight; The Advanced Techniques Group; BroadMind and The WOW Factory. WPP India already has specialist divisions such as Thompson Connect, IPAN, Digital (wholly owned subsidiaries of JWT) Ogilvy PR and OgilvyOne (O&M). All these units are independent and self-sustaining units.

Several experts feel that new media has proven itself capable of delivering double-digit response rates consistently and at a far more competitive cost. New media marketing was taking off as marketing managers faced increased pressure to get more out of small budgets. Ad guru Alyque Padamsee has gone on record saying that phenomenon of SMS is set to increase in 2003.

This dependence could also be propelled by the general recessionary trend prevailing in India which has resulted in shrinking ad budgets. Accountability is the name of the game!

Starcom India's MD (West and South) Ravi Kiran says: "We are trying to convince our clients about the need to explore new ways of looking at how human beings process information and act on them; and to examine the human passions that can be leveraged by brands [At SMG, we call this Passion Group Marketing]."

Starcom has started direct marketing divisions and its Leo Entertainment is already making waves by exploring other options such as in-film placements.

"This aspect, by itself, is significantly changing the share of each medium in our portfolio. As an agency, we pride ourselves on being media-neutral. Our commitment to brands and customers continues to be a priority. Media is our weapon; we will use each one as we require it rather than declare loyalty to any one or two," he adds.

Looks as if the Indian media specialists are already emulating their global counterparts.

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