Advertising

We must do ‘something’, but what?

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Over the years, many pundits (including the arm chair variety like yours truly) have bemoaned the state of the Indian advertising industry. The chief cribs being:

1. There is a talent crunch: talented professionals are neither coming in to the advertising industry nor staying. We are losing talent to more satisfying and more paying industries on the client side, Media, IT etc.

2. The current tribe of advertising agency professionals, especially the Account Management variety are woefully out of touch with what is required on their job. They are nowhere near as ‘well-rounded’ as they once were, mainly due to the creation of specialist silos (media, digital) with whom they are out of touch

Those are the symptoms. The big problems outlined are:

1. Lack of training: the need for training our entry, junior and middle level professionals, especially in Account Management has been the No.1 ‘To-do’ for years now

2. Poor remuneration from clients: though this is not as vociferously repeated as the other problem, some have bemoaned the squeeze on margins thus making it difficult for investments in people & training.

Of course theres a lot more in the crib list. And everyone who outlines such problems has said that the situation must be corrected…’something’ must be done. But what specifically must be done? What practical steps must be taken to improve our collective skill sets? Herewith some harebrained suggestions (this might be a good time to read the Disclaimer):

– implement a Training Month. All employees of participating agencies will undergo training for a week. The training content will vary depending on 3 levels of experience: one week each for 0-3 years, 4-7 years and 7 years & above. The content will be the same across all agencies and will be developed by a panel drawn from the big, medium & small agencies, across disciplines. The content will be written in a manner that each agency can deliver it on their own and will be geared to making the current lot ‘well rounded’. The training will cover the basics of Media Planning & Buying, Digital, Creative Briefing and so on. Hold a similar week of training for the Creative team bringing them up to speed on new media & what technology can do. Of course, just  a week’s training is not going to be the panacea for all advertising’s ills, but it could be a start.

The rest of the ‘To-Dos’ viz. getting clients to pay better, breaking the silos (and getting the media, creative & account management to sit together), getting back to 15% commission – all fall in the wishful thinking category.

What else? Comments welcome.

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A marketing communications professional with a keen interest in all things advertising. I share creative ads and views on the ad industry here. Views are personal. See Disclaimer for more.

5 Comments

  1. I believe that we lack people who take pride in the work (including people in client servicing and planning..after all, it is their work too)…the creative output is something that only matters to a few

    advertising has become yet another 'job' to some extent… that is why, because of demand, their advertising quantity…but not quality..

  2. First, we need to know what has gone wrong.

    I think the real cause is that ALL businesses have gone down the commoditisation road – partly as a result of today's investment environment. There is a constant (irrational?) push for all-round cost-cutting and higher profit margins.

    In the Ad industry's) that has meant that… Instead of investing on talented people, we invented creative 'processes' (a.k.a cheap formula)… Instead of creating advertising that differentiates, we played safe and eroded brand equity… Instead of driving client's profit, we focused on maximising media commission… Instead of becoming indespensible partners, we became pushy opportunitists.

    We can tackle all these issues individually – or perhaps we can somehow evolve our industry to fit the new environment.

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