شوفوا.. الواحد ما يبغا يتبطر.. لكن عندما يتعلق الأمر بواقع لا مفر منه، فإن الإعتراف بالإنجاز أكبر فضيلة!
شركة ميديا ون mediaOne أصبحت أكبر شركة شراء وتخطيط للوسائط الإعلانية في السلطنة Media Planning and Buying باستحواذها على حساب بنك مسقط وحساب النورس مع حساب شركة عقارية كبرى ستدخل السلطنة قريبا. وتعتبر mediaOne شركة شقيقة لوكالة أوكسيجين Oxygen الإعلانية تحت مظلة مجموعة شركات الوطنية للنشر والإعلان NPA.
وقد أشارت إلى ذلك مجلة Business Today في عددها الصادر هذا الشهر، لذا سأترككم مع الموضوع الذي نشرته المجلة.. أعرفكم عمانيين ما يخلصكم تقريوا، لكن يالله عسى واحد وللا اثنين يقريوا..
(إذا لم تستطيعوا القراءة في هذه الصفحة يرجى الضغط على الرابط المباشر في المجلة http://www.businesstoday.co.om/disCon.aspx?Cval=521)
Value for money: that universal mantra has achieved yet another dimension in Oman as NPA and the Zeenah Group set up two independent companies – MediaOne and Zeenah Media – as exclusive media planning and buying agencies. A media agency is essentially an entity which helps companies plan and present their communications in the most effective manner based on research and strategic planning. While such agencies are common in the more evolved markets around the world, this is a new concept for Oman, where advertising agencies often doubled as media planners. Those at the helm of MediaOne and Zeenah Media agree on one thing: that there is an increasing familiarity with concepts that more mature markets use successfully. As companies here look for a more professional approach, they say the one size fits all approach is becoming redundant. In a market where most companies still think of spending on advertising as a waste of resources, media agencies may have a tough task ahead. But Roopesh Bhatnagar, COO, MediaOne, says the ground is ready for media agencies. He points out a major factor that made NPA decide that it is time to move into the next level of evolution in the advertising field. Compared to a few years ago when the advertiser’s choice was limited to a few newspapers, three or four magazines, one national TV channel and one radio channel, the options are far more varied now. The best of communication can get lost if not placed correctly and vice versa. “Today you have to be far more decisive on where and what media you should opt for. You need to find the right fit for your client’s objectives. That is what professional media planning and buying companies do. Backed by research and analysis, we make recommendations on how to achieve maximum value, efficiency and reach,” says Bhatnagar. While there may be a strong case for having a media agency, as of now in Oman it is only BankMuscat and Nawras who have gone in for an independent tie-up with a media agency. MediaOne has won both the accounts.“We are now the exclusive media agency for BankMuscat for all its national and international campaigns. The creatives are done by different advertising agencies, but the media planning and buying is done by us. Same is the case with Nawras,” says Bhatnagar, adding that the third client is an international real estate company that has plans to enter the Omani market soon. The case for a media agencyIla Thakur, operations manager, Zeenah Media, puts across the case for media in simple terms. A client may feel that though his advertising agency is producing excellent creatives that work for his product, he is still not getting the full benefit because it does not seem to reach the right target group. She says this is where strategic planning by a specialised media company comes into play.“We are a lot more critical in understanding and analysing and assessing the media and then making our recommendation to the client,” adds Bhatnagar.Another benefit for the client is that when they deal through a media company, they get better rates, says A J Rao, general manager MediaOne. Media agencies bring efficiency to their clients across media planning and negotiation points as they have the specific expertise and volume leverage. As a large agency with several clients, economies of scale work in their favour and thus reduce per media booking transaction cost for clients. While buying is a critical part of media, strategy is equally important, says Ila. That is worked out considering all the data available. “If you don’t do your research properly, you may decide to place an ad somewhere just because it is cheap. However, a media company will look at several aspects. It is not about the price, it is about value for money,” she adds. Ila explains the value for money concept with an example. A person may spend RO100 on a pen and another may decide to spend only RO1 per pen which he would use and throw every three days or so. But at the end of the year, the person who spent RO100 will still have his stylish pen while the other one would have spent a lot more than that buying cheap, lower quality pens which didn’t add any value to his image. “The same thing is applicable to placing advertisements,” she concludes, adding that cheaper is not always the smart choice. Rao explains why media planning as a component of marketing is vital. If you look at a company’s marketing budget, out of all its components, maximum will be on media. “Now, as marketing budgets are tightened, the challenge is to have the same impact with less money. That requires a lot of research and planning so that you adopt the right strategy.” While the advent of new media may provide the luxury of a much more targeted campaign opportunity, it has also brought forth the danger of completely missing the target with a wrong choice. With the Internet and mobile phones offering information on the move, young people don’t want to wait for the next day’s newspaper. “If you don’t take such aspects into account when deciding where to place a particular ad, as a routine you may end up doing the same things that you always did. While those may have been fine a few years ago today with all these changes there may be a need to look at something more,” says Ila. A collaborative approachIn the more mature markets, advertising agencies handle only the creative aspect of a client’s campaign while media agencies handle the planning and buying. World over, advertising agencies often divert their own clients to a media agency when it comes to placement of advertisements. There is usually a revenue sharing arrangement. “The market here is different, so we are still working out details of the revenue sharing aspect,” says Ila. Both Ila and Rao point out that it is not in the business interests of a creative agency to have an entire department analysing market, media, consumers and competitors for a particular product/ brand. Bhatnagar says there is no competition between a media agency and an advertising agency. Client is the focal point for both. “It is more of a collaborative approach. We are taking a major burden off their shoulders enabling them to focus on their core business. As a media agency, we are a lot more focused on aligning the creative needs with the client’s media objectives and needs.” Bhatnagar adds that bigger companies prefer to have a media agency to handle the placement of advertising because they can concentrate and deliver much better than an advertising agency. RoadblocksThe two that have boldly entered the arena may have the early-mover advantage by the time others wake up to the opportunities, but as of now there are several roadblocks they need to tackle. Media planning in all the international markets is supported by other agencies which provide them with a lot of market data in terms of consumer research, media research and data, media audit figures, target profiling and other statistics. Unfortunately, that input does not exist in Oman currently. Because of that some of the media planning tools used internationally cannot be directly used in Oman, says Bhatnagar while Rao points out that even something as basic as a media audit is available only in the case of one publishing group.Rao, Bhatnagar and Ila agree that while data is not available in the form most professionals are used to, they are working around such difficulties building their own tools using in-house research data. Says Ila, “If you dig deeper, the data is available in an unstructured fashion. You need to convert that into information and use that effectively.” Another difference with the more mature markets, says Ila, is that advertisers here don’t think of media as a function that is critical to their marketing activities. Everywhere else there is an acceptance that media contributes a lot to the communication process. “People here tend to think of it is a cost rather than investment.” Bhatnagar agrees there is a cost to the service but points out that there is also a value addition to that cost for the client. A typical client for a media agency, Bhatnagar says, is a big player. They are multi-region, multi-market, multi-product clients. As some of them seek a global footprint, a more focused approach is necessary. Whether or not a small company would think of having a specialised company handle its media planning depends on its objectives, says Ila. “In my opinion, even a small company wants value for money. That is what we can provide. For us, size is not important. It will be a challenging opportunity to build a brand for a small firm.”The bigger challenge for MediaOne and Zeenah Media will be to achieve a shift in the mindset of advertisers. In a market where even brand advertising is a rarity and campaigns concentrate more on product advertising, it may not be easy to wait till the market evolves to the next level. But as more international companies come into the market, they may have an advantage as agencies offering a professional service that they are used to. As for advertisers, if you look at your ad spend over a one-year period and feel that you could have got more value out of that with a little more planning, may be it’s a good idea to take a serious look at what a media agency can do for you.