Local Advertising: A Latent Opportunity?



India – a traditionally under-advertised market has received a fillip from a recently released PWC report. According to the PWC E&M Report-2008, a CAGR of 18% is supposed to provide impetus for the industry to grow form Rs 196.4 b in 2007 to Rs 453 b in 2012. According to global studies by JupiterResearch the CAGR of local advertising in this period will be 13%. There is no available India-specific study in this accord; however, given its geographical dispersion and cultural diversity, there is ample reason to believe that this trend will apply to India as well.



Who are these local advertisers?


The existent framework incorporates large agencies operating from major cities. They cater to primarily metro centric clients. They are comfortable in their existing model. But the growth spikes are coming from the smaller towns of the vast geographical spread that is India. Currently small/local advertisers have direct relationships with media houses (as in most cases accessibility to the agencies is hindered due to location disadvantages).The needs of small/local advertisers are however expanding. For the typical first time advertiser or mid-sized entrepreneur to gain media mileage and propel growth of business base, creative and logistic input of the advertising agency will be in demand. But their required input from the agencies will not be same as some of the larger clients.


Hindi News Channels on TV is a proven example that working with local advertisers can be a two-way profitable venture. At present the internet platform provides a solution for these advertisers. Google’s software AdSense is a pretty portable and customized digital consultant. But it is limited in its scope (only online platform). To factor in the importance of personal interaction (a feature these advertisers lay a lot of emphasis on) the involvement of agencies is mandatory.


What could be the possible POA?


Targeting these sachet advertisers, who basically have limited advertising budgets and infrequent media presence, is the need of the hour. Also their growth of advertising spends may be directly linked to their business progression. How the agency is going to cater to such a segment is the question.


1. A franchisee model to fulfill the need for geographical reach could be a first step. Briefcase agencies; a popular term for agencies which are driven by a single person (in most cases the owner himself) in smaller towns can provide local expertise and forge relationships. On their part, they can cash in on their bigger counterpart’s prevalent Best Practices and knowledge base. Moreover if the client is looking at expansion in scale, the presence of a bigger partner is always beneficial.


2. Creating a digital platform for integration and to play cupid between the advertiser and the media vehicle is another possible undertaking an agency can perform.

This setting up of a “flea market” for media inventory will include accessible information and transparent transaction. Giving birth to a playground which offers equal opportunity to an advertiser regardless of size may presently sound Utopian but is by no means impossible in the near future. From the agency’s perspective the provision of services will entail a difference only in the delivery platform.




Digitization will lead to a much needed Crowdsourcing in this field. India’s erudite multitude is an immense asset in this respect. Given the large populace of technologically able potential contributors; Crowdsourcing might be a sure catalyst for a change. Investment in technical expertise might also enable agencies to function as independent entities. But the most important point to note is that the mindset of the fraternity needs to evolve. Time’s importance, thus, cannot be discounted. Perhaps these encouraging snippets can be chewed on while the market moans the ongoing all-encompassing crises.


Pubilished on October 27, 2008 http://www.livemint.com/2008/10/27132747/Local-advertising-a-latent-op.html

Social Media: A suitable supplement?

September 2003.Osaka, Japan.12 storeys above the ground, football is defying gravity. The highly creative campaign by Adidas was one of the first cases of viral recognition through the www. Social Media announced its presence as a new addition to the existing conventional field. India has recently warmed up to the brilliant possibilities of user generated content (UGC). Driven by enterprising efforts of insight-laden consumers, UGC showcases an emerging trend for the future. Social media encompasses several facets. From Social Networking sites to Wikis, Digging to Blogosphere, Marketing as we know is on the brink of undergoing a sea-change.

Let us look at what drives this exciting media. The single most differentiating factor is the neutrality of UGC. Unmindful of conventional media’s censorship UGC tells us what people really feel. Moreover as shown by media outfits recently, consumer participation thru blogging and SMS response can act as tools for opinion building. Take the Priyadarshini Mattoo or Jessica Lall case for example. The Singur controversy played in the public imagination thru ample media exposure as well as opinionated blogging. Social issues have received overwhelming response from the users and they have mostly yielded positive results. The neutrality factor is also very important from a marketing communication. Peer delivered content has immense ability to build opinion for branding solutions as well.

Surveys in Europe have shed light on growing distrust in advertisement. In contrast, people are much more willing to believe their friends. This phenomenon has been recognized and acknowledged by the giants of the industry. Chronic attention deficit has been attributed as the principle reason. Capturing a potential consumer has become increasingly difficult with the proliferation of media. UGC offers a solution. Blogging and relatively non-intrusive advertising on social networking websites is the future path to tread. On a flip side though, UGC can be deliberated through profit objectives by dummy bloggers. This is a fallout of the otherwise widely appreciated “no-control” policy.

But intelligent response and open debate also results in highly discerning consumer viewpoints to which the marketers should give credit. An unbiased understanding of the consumer is an essential feature, earlier not credibly captured. “CrowdSourcing” is fast emerging as a reliable metric. The Aegon-Religare KILB campaign featuring Irrfan Khan was according to Google one of the hottest debated topics at the time of launch. This PR angle is nascent and begs to be exploited. Awesome publicity can be achieved by the power of net conversation. Another recent example is the Idea Mumbai launch campaign.

Google Trends Chart showing the success of the Aegon-Religare KILB campaign
Google Trends Chart showing the success of the Aegon-Religare KILB campaign



The concept of mystery shrouded advertising is by no means an alien one. However what was lacking then was the consumer insight platform and hence suitable response from the Media. Lack of attention span meant attrition from memory. The emergence of Social Media and UGC in the spectrum, with its capacity for dialogue, is a potential alleviator. This vibrant, compelling and insightful platform is important for another reason. It targets consumers as individuals and not as demographic sectors.  In fact UGC or the loosely termed Social media is on its way to supplementing the myriad holes in the existing media fabric.

Published on October 2008 http://www.exchange4media.com/viewpoint/viewpoint.asp