Key strategies to increase biz and retain clients in lean times

Key strategies to increase biz and retain clients in lean times
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First Published: Tue, Apr 07 2009. 10 19 PM IST

Updated: Tue, Apr 07 2009. 10 19 PM IST
Arvind Sharma
Chairman
Leo Burnett India Pvt Ltd
It helps to be social-media-savvy to keep and grow business and maintain relationships. I have been active on Facebook and LinkedIn for a couple of years, even before the slowdown. It helps me stay in touch with former employees and clients who have moved on.
Business leads come up this way, perhaps three-four a year, with someone saying, “I worked with you before and am looking for an agency.” There are definitely more people now contacting me versus a year ago, but generally it’s more people looking for jobs.
There are various ways to network innovatively. Leo Burnett started its Cannes Prediction event a decade ago. It gets people together to help predict winners at the international Cannes Lions ad festival. With few people expected to go to Cannes this year, I’m hoping to attract many more people to our event in Mumbai. We are also extending the event to Delhi.
The agency business is so fragmented that no individual creative agency has anywhere near 10% share of the market. With limited resources, we can reach out to many people at one shot.
About a year ago, Leo Burnett globally launched its Human Purpose of Brands platform, which helps define the purpose of a brand across everything a brand does.
MG Parameswaran
Executive director and CEO
Draftfcb+Ulka Advertising Pvt Ltd
We are using what we call the MINT formula. Key marketing activities need to be measurable (M), so we are putting in place measurement metrics into all campaigns. These were there before, but now we can track campaign performances better with the help of technology.
Involvement (I) is next. The agency needs to get involved with key strategic issues faced by clients. Involvement may need to come all the way, to the top. We are using many of our key divisions such as Cogito Consulting to take involvement to the next level. Cogito recently completed a BOLD (business outlook from leaders and decision makers) report covering around 100 chief executives and marketing officers. This is being shared with key clients to help them gain a better view of the coming months.
These tough times do not allow you the liberty to recruit at will, so we have put in place an active form of networking (N) among offices for planners and creatives to ensure that talent, learnings and best practices get leveraged across the agency.
The last element is talent (T). We are accessing three levels of the organization for growth. The not-so-good performers will get counselling help and portfolios that best use their talent.
R Gowthaman
Leader, MindShare, South Asia
GroupM India Pvt Ltd
We just reorganized ourselves at MindShare in terms of various units such as business planning, invention, exchange, etc. It was just when the downturn happened. I think we now have a structure that offers greater value and is geared towards such a situation. Also, clients today need highly optimized media plans and sharper targeting. We are also insisting that clients brief us in advance so that we can plan and pre-book media and do due diligence. It gives us a chance to serve them better.
In terms of new business, we face category blocks in nearly every sector, which is why we are not mindlessly chasing new business, especially in these times when ad spending in general is tight. We are looking to add profits to new revenue streams such as data analytics, activation, etc., which are emerging as critical now. Even though we are not actively seeking new clients, we are seeking new business in diverse areas (beyond traditional media) from existing clients.
Ravi Kiran
CEO, South Asia
Starcom MediaVest Group
To help retain clients, we are asking our senior managers to spend more time with clients and get deeper into their business.
Also, clients need even better guidance from us on how their customers are changing and how they should adjust. Earlier this year, we conducted two studies called “Sentimeter” and “Spendthrift” to uncover consumer motivation and behaviour during the slowdown.
We are also upskilling. For example, late last year, we had formed an eight-member, high-end strategy team called StarWiz based in Mumbai and Delhi.
We had planned to make this a pay-as-you-use unit. But considering our client needs, we have revisited that decision and are offering StarWiz service to clients free for 2009. And to acquire new clients, we are getting even more choosy now. If you accept clients without proper diligence, you will be inviting liability.
As told to Anushree Chandran.
anushree.m@livemint.com
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First Published: Tue, Apr 07 2009. 10 19 PM IST