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And a new journey begins...

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MUMBAI: In June 2012, two senior executives Sudha Natrajan and Raghav Subramanian quit Lintas Initiative Media to commence a new journey together. The duo had announced the launch of their new venture named TMC Corporation.

The media veterans who have a combined experience of more than 40 years in the media industry have launched two businesses under TMC Corp- The Media Consultancy and The Media Café.

The Media Consultancy is a strategic consultancy specialising in new age consumer research, brand and return on investment (RoI) analytics and modelling, media content and training. The Media Cafe, on the other hand, is the first of its kind media, advertising and marketing hangout. It is where industry professionals can bond, learn, gossip and have fun.

Based in Gurgaon, the two have self-funded the entire venture as they wanted complete control of its operations. They are promoting the businesses through word-of-mouth publicity and there is a dedicated FB page for ‘The Media Café’.

Natrajan and Subramanian write about TMC Corp and the idea behind the birth of an enterprise with a twist...

After spending 20 years each in the industry, we both realised that we were getting a little bored with what we have been doing till now, and that the way forward was to carve out newer challenges for us. Hence was born TMC Corp. While about 80 per cent of our time would go into building our consultancy, which has been constructed in such a way that it addresses the gaps that we have experienced in the media agency product over the years, there was an alter ego that we wanted to satisfy.

The answer lay in The Media Café. The media industry is a people’s industry. The last 20 years we have personally gained the friendship of everyone in the industry. We felt that we needed to give something back, to offer a space that the fraternity can call their own, where they can hangout and feel a sense of belonging. Setting up the Café has also given us the much needed freshness and twist that we needed in the second chapter of our career. We have put this up in nine weeks, a record time for anyone who is familiar with the F&B industry.

Media has come a long way in the last 15 odd years, from a delivery arm within a full service agency to a marketing partner to clients. Primarily because clients realise that media is the biggest cost bucket within marketing. Hence the significance and accountability automatically rises.

This growth has also led to challenges. What started with and 2.5 per cent– 3 per cent is now hovering around 1 per cent to 2 per cent. So, now with just a thru-put offering it has become hard to sustain, more so with global hawks keeping an eye at the numbers. So gradually ‘value added services’ have found a place within media agencies. This ranges from research to analytics to content and so on. This also adds up as a good pitch conversation (though rapidly there is no differentiation here as well).

The next level of challenge for agencies has been delivering this promise and also selling through to clients. Media agencies find it hard to attract specialized talent in these areas both from a scope and learning perspective, as well as pay scale. This becomes a big hurdle to deliver the services. The other big challenge is of objectivity. Especially when it comes to research and analytics, clients are not very convinced of the objectivity. A marketing mix model might always end up saying client needs to spend more or that there is nothing wrong with the current media mix. Marketers like Unilever have a strict code to work with third party companies for their analytics.

TMC has the uniqueness with both its founders, having worked in the industry across functions over two decades. The idea is not to fix things (which are where most start ups come from) but to support and work with both advertisers and agencies to create a better space for the brands.

Our offering is across the line support for the thru-put. A sound strategy needs to be backed by research and analytics and a good brand engagement needs to be enabled through content. Our offering is both composite as well as modular. Outside of this, we will be designing varied training modules for both agencies and media owners. Such an offering from one place does not exist. That should differentiate TMC. What we are not is a media planning and buying agency which executes plans for brands.

We are an offering that is complementary to the way the industry is structured currently, and do not intend to displace any existing entity. So, our potential market is fairly large. The field we are playing in ranges from doing projects on content strategy to on-going research and analytics relationships directly with large to medium sized clients, comprehensive strategic solutions either with clients or for them through their agencies and to retainership relationships with large agency houses. This will entail formulating and putting together pitch strategies, value-add to existing strategic challenges with their clients, content/research/analytics solutions, and training – both on functional strategic skills, as well as grooming leaders/aiding succession planning. There are also analytics assignments we are exploring with clients overseas.

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