Happy 8th birthday, Spatial Access

14 Oct,2011

By A Correspondent

Spatial Access turned eight yesterday. From a team of four eight years back, it is now 30 members  strong, and has more than 120 clients – most of them in India, but some in South Asia as well. Meenakshi Madhvani, Founder & Chairperson of Spatial Access, is ecstatic and philosophical at the same time, “It is not yet time to retire.  I still have many more years to go, but it is now time to do things slightly differently. It is the eighth birthday of Spatial Access, and time for reinvention.”

The company is not only reinventing the services it offers but also the identity of the company. Says Ms Madhvani, “The new logo reflects who we are and what we stand for. Spatial Access is in business of audit, advisory and analytics. Our logo is fluid and mobile – growing as we grow .The small red part in the logo indicates seed – which is now growing. In spite of the growth our DNA of accountability remains intact.”

Ms Madhvani believes that optimum value from media and marketing spends can be obtained by ‘nurturing the concept of accountability and transparency by all key constituents.’

Talking of Spatial Access’s presence in overseas markets, Ms Madhvani states, “We are creating the first Indian translational in communication and audit space. We already have operations in Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore. We are doing sophisticated and highly complicated work, and have knowledge and proprietary technology. We can benefit global advertisers in the similar fashion as we are benefitting Indian advertisers. For the multinationals we can provide a seamless product experience.”  She adds, “Over the last three years, our Singapore Spatial Access has worked with the objective of finding out if there is any wastage in media and marketing spends– and if there is, can it be reduced and how?”

Operations at Spatial Access have been divided in three SBUs –

SA1 – Media and analytics business headed by  Nikhil Rangnekar

SA 2 – Marketing Services headed by Geetanjali Bhattacharji

SA 3 – Media & International (the media audit @ Spatial Access) headed by Harsha Joshi

Talking about SA 1,Media and Analytics, Mr Rangnekar said, “It is important to understand how much of media money is being wasted and what can I do to minimise that wastage.”

As per him wastage in media can be due to multiple reasons. Among them:

  1. Faulty objective setting – Am I buying more GRPs, secondage than needed to achieve my reach/frequency objectives?
  2. Lack of rigour in the plan: is the agency optimising my plans to give me the desired reach and frequency in the lowest possible GRPs/investments?
  3. Suboptimal channel mix based on favouritism – identify redundant media vehicles and make recommendations.

Mr Rangnekar also stresses that 360-degree media should be used based on need, and not because of the feel-good factor. He believes that media mix should never be predecided or based on favouritism.

Audit is needed not only in strategy and planning, but also in the implementations: one needs to understand whether implementation is it in line with strategy? Are there any gaps? He says, “We go back to the client with advise on how to improve implementation. Agencies need to look at us as their partners and not enemies.”

He believes that things are changing, and marketers are keener to experiment now than they were earlier. Marketers need to question ‘How should I change my mix to improve my RoI.’ Things are definitely changing with econometric modelling.”

Reflecting on the increasing need for Marketing services audits  (SA2) Ms Bhattacharji says, “In an advertising lacking in metrics for ‘nonmedia’ investments, marketing services audits bring measurability to the effectiveness of print and film production, PR, events and activation…The production of television commercials, marketing collateral and retail signage occupy a large share if marketing investments. However, in absence of industry-metrics, accountability is often compromised.”

As per her BTL is now 35 to 40% of investment – and hence the need for measurement is increasingly being felt.

She stresses that need is not to just create accountability but also appropriate measurement matrix. She expresses, “Spatial Access with its domain expertise can be the bridge to ensure that marketers get what they ask for. As validation process for quality is not in place with quite a few marketing companies – marketing audit becomes all the more important.”

She stresses that measurement should not be based only on cost, but also resource requirement.

Making a special mention of PR, Ms Bhattacharji states, “PR can deliver, and be controlled in the similar fashion as advertising.  Size of the release and space value does no matter. Spatial access with its revolutionary tools Prowls and PRIZARD can measure effectiveness of PR.” She adds that brand imagery needs to come across via brand vocabulary.

Ms Harsha joshi concludes by expressing the need for media audit to measure efficiency and accountability (SA3). She states, “Media spends are growing at about 14% annually. Efficiency and accountability are key for CMOs, CFOs and CPOs across categories.”

She points a number of reasons for media audit among them:

  1. The standalone price comparison: An advertiser should avoid being the most expensive advertiser in its category by getting its media buying performance audited
  2. Cost benchmarking through comparison to a pool of comparable data, comparison to year on year efficiencies or comparison to actual market data

Performance of a media plan, as per her, should be based on Spends filter, Deal construct filter and Target audience filter

Says Ms Joshi, “Though the need for media audit is being felt by 40% of marketers in India as of 2010, global average is 80 percent, and more Indian marketers need to realise the value of media audit.”

Spatial Access is ready with a new identity, energy and reengineering – objective, as Ms Madhvani states is, “to cover new areas and address old concerns”.

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