Mumbai: MRM Worldwide, the digital arm of global advertising agency McCann Worldgroup, is scouting potential acquisitions and partnerships in India, says chief executive Alastair Duncan.
“Investors all over the place are looking to buy interactive set-ups in India. What we are keen to do is build some relationships with small firms who are technically savvy in terms of developing tools to measure media,” Duncan said in an interview. “Some of those firms will be part of our business; either through investment or acquisition.”
MRM Worldwide’s roster includes brands such as Microsoft, Intel, Nestle, Nikon, Pand G, Avis, Johnson and Johnson. MRM exists in India as a niche direct marketing function within ad agency McCann Erickson India.
Duncan stresses the analytical aspect of the communications business. “We will do what is required to be future-focused in the business,” he said. “What we are looking to do is to build the capability of measuring media investment for ad business on a global basis and in India, in a scenario where media companies have begun to spend time and investment on the same.”
MRM India has offices in Mumbai and Delhi. “We have structured a digital marketing task force which has regional representatives (which includes an Asia-Pacific representative for India) for assessing and recommending change in order to be future-focused in business. Where we need to be strong is markets that are coming to maturity such as India,” he says.
MRM Worldwide likes to think of itself as a “modern digital agency”. Duncan says that most other interactive agencies grew with the skill sets of developing websites, and added to this some amount of strategic capability. “We are different,” he added. “What we are really focused on in our business is accountable online marketing. We think about how we want to measure it.” Unlike his peers, he doesn’t predict the death of television advertising. “In this business you can say anything—such as TV is going to die away as a platform. But what will happen is that TV will find its rightful place,” he says.
Much of the work MRM Worldwide has done for its clients includes social media. For example, Imagine Cup, a student technology competition for Microsoft and a technology blog for Intel.
“The exciting part about social media is that it’s not in your control,” Duncan said. “The challenge is that numbers are very tiny such as 300 people downloading a brand-related application on Facebook. We are still figuring out what is it that creates interesting applications that become very popular.”
Estimating how much advertisers spend online, he says packaged goods companies could spend as much as 5-10% of their ad budgets online while a technology client such as Microsoft could spend as much as 8-10% of its budget on digital.There are also financial players such as loan companies that exist 100% online. MRM aims to grow between 10-20% globally each year.
“I could say we are aiming for a 50% growth rate. But I worry when people say we will double our revenues by next year,” Duncan says. “Because you need time to structure, and your people need time to understand what the business is about. Grow too quickly and your competency slides down.”