The Anchor: Lara Balsara’s 5 reasons media agencies should attract talent from outside

06 Dec,2011

By Lara Balsara


#1 Thinking beyond numbers and objectivity. A typical media planner tends to think very objectively and tends to opt for plans and media that are supported by numbers and makes only data-based decisions. Whilst this is a basic necessity, you have to use your imagination based on quality of content, its appeal to different target audiences, etc for your plan to be a holistic media plan that is based on rigour and discipline but does not lose out on the soft factors. If you look only at hard numbers, most media plans would look exactly the same and that would not serve the brand’s purpose.


#2 To come up with innovative and comprehensive solutions. Media in India has now been a specialist discipline for over 15 years and therefore there is a certain sameness in thinking that has come about among professionals. To counter this, you need people who are better with lateral thinking capabilities as they would balance a plan supported only with numbers. When you have a diverse talent pool working together, each individual brings in their own unique perspective and their area of expertise; as a result you come up with a brilliant strategy, idea and execution. At Madison Media, we have experts in analytics, account planning, creative and content integrated in the core media plan and we have seen this diversity work magically for our clients.


#3 Scope of media is very broad. Today anything and everything is a communication medium, and the biggest challenge for media agencies is to come up with new and interesting ways to reach out and engage with audiences. Increasingly with so much noise in the marketplace, there is a need not just to expose your target audience to the message, but to affect them in a deep and engaging manner. If you look at media awards, which are a barometer of good media thinking, you will see some outstanding examples.


#4 There isn’t enough talent available. It’s a simple issue of demand versus supply. Media professionals are in huge demand and there is a huge shortage of good talent available. Media agencies have no option but to look outside.


#5 Media professionals rock. Having said all the above, you can’t underestimate the skill sets of media professionals; they are the most equipped to handle almost any job in communications, but the same can’t always be said of other communications professionals’ ability to handle a core media planning job.


Lara Balsara is Director, Madison World.

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