By Mohit Joshi, Managing Director, Havas Media Group
Mohit Joshi, Managing Director, Havas Media Group
The Importance of Media Consulting in Today’s Market
India, today, stands at the top, amongst the most attractive business markets and emerging markets with strong fundamentals of business and policy. The drive and entrepreneurship of its people and youth as well as India’s youth being a present and future active brand consumer has attracted startups, local and global brands,driven by investors with deep pockets from across the globe as well as local investors.
The introduction of Startup India initiative was a thumping success and its action plan gives impetus and support for the further proliferation of young Indian brands looking to be successful. It will also curb Indian companies from going to set up shop in Singapore as India will be as easy to startup a business which will encourage more companies to start. This means more brands will need more customers.
The sheer multiplication of media and devices is staggering. Just TV has HD and SD with FTA and paid channels; group companies have multiple channels with similar and multiple genres. These also have shown on the web and on the channel app. Print publications too are growing by the day and radio is poised to become even more prominent. Then comes digital with plethora of formats. In this milieu, there remain a slew of devices and launch of new devices with older ones still going on.
Consumption patterns are cross device, platform and media as well as simultaneous with attention focus on one or many subjects. Clearly, the audience is today the media. Further, attention spans are decreasing, brand completion heating and number of brands are increasing, whereas switching costs are often low and positive performance short term results are imperative. Yet the basket of customers is the same for multiple brands, though we say 24x7 in a typical time-zone there are peak and lean hours of people’s time- with everybody having to report for work or get up in the day and sleep in the night. This matters, even for global brands, in a particular country looking for mind and market share. India is many countries in one, numerous regions are there and brands need to reach all these through the multiple media they consume. Serving an ad or sharing your communication format in this ecosystem is no mean task. Its visibility has the capacity to build awareness and excite brand buy which affects the top and bottom lines of all companies. To not make a mental impression is to lose it to a competitor attempting the same task. Brands and marketers need to perform and deliver in the current campaign, long term is a great talking point but every CEO needs delivery, now.
Media consulting in this ecosystem becomes vital. It is not important but essential, to help a brand navigate this rough, churning sea to deliver - the right message, to the right person, at the right time, in the right manner, with the right attitude.
Evolution of Media Consulting
Advertising started without differentiation of agency as media or creative and then split. Media Consulting involved planning and buying. So, media would study data points, reach, frequency and basis the TG and a particular budget – wok over the best advertisement placement, for the best price and audience eyeballs in the best media from a then small fixed basket. Creative was viewed as the cool idea people, the builders of brands, some more talented; media were the boring data and best price people.
Then digital took the world by storm and exploded when the smartphone became the must-have in the hands of people and especially the youth. Coupled with social, the fact that every click could get recorded, ROI was determinable and interactive, word-of-mouth directly reached properties, forced slow moving marketers to see the power and proximity to the customer through the digital route. Data, the foundation of media consulting is today the buzz word. Much has been learned but much remains to be learned.
Media is honed in working with data mines so the present data world is more of a natural habitat, though complicated. Data people and mathematicians, the erstwhile geeks are the rock stars of today. Media consulting has evolved and has been working towards a fully integrated offering with creativity and insight. No one can say that they have arrived as digital is constantly in flux. Needed is - agility, adaptability and accountability. Today is about both data and creativity, together – it is what the customer wants, needs and media consulting is best positioned to deliver.
Role of a Media Consultant
The media consultant’s role is of a brand marketer, data scientist and social evangelist. Savvy and client facing, the consultant needs to understand the clients’ business requirements, objectives and interpret data points into a creative concerted action plan to map the brands way forward, as well as be responsive in real time. The consultant needs to seek and interpret insights, be the artist who brings alive a blank canvas. A good consultant successfully optimizes marketing dollars bringing brand success – short and long term; as well as some happy loyal customers.
Buoyed by the aspirational Indian youth and emerging economy with its capacity to consume new brands, products and services, the Indian Media & Entertainment sector is expected to reach US$ 100 billion by 2025, from its estimated size of US$ 17.85 billion in 2015.
Every segment in the advertising pie is expected to grow, led by digital. The regions are heating up and Tier 2 - Tier3 are growing on their own. With the increasing penetration of smartphones and the expansion of 3G/4G network, it was estimated that India would see about 9 billion mobile app downloads in 2015, five times more than the 1.56 billion in 2012. Simply put - more brands and their marketers need more real-targeted-convertible customers. Customers need to be understood, kept engaged and not be irritated. Media Consulting when done holistically is the focal point to deliver the right message, to the right person, at the right time, in the right manner and with the right attitude!