Campaign India Team
Sep 25, 2009

Getting ready for the turbulent times ahead

In a couple of months, we’ll know if the economy is, indeed, bouncing back. There are optimistic numbers being bandied about combined with low inflation, a resurgent stock market and talk of green shoots and a robust rebound.There’s no greater proof of the state of the economy than actual sales in what is traditionally a great time for marketers – Diwali.In addition to it being Diwali, marketers have high-attention programming which will carry the messages to the consumers – cricket.

Getting ready for the turbulent times ahead

In a couple of months, we’ll know if the economy is, indeed, bouncing back. There are optimistic numbers being bandied about combined with low inflation, a resurgent stock market and talk of green shoots and a robust rebound.

There’s no greater proof of the state of the economy than actual sales in what is traditionally a great time for marketers – Diwali.

In addition to it being Diwali, marketers have high-attention programming which will carry the messages to the consumers – cricket.

While India is, undoubtedly, not as badly affected by the global recession as many of the western and south-east Asian economies, the extent to which we are stronger will be clear once the festival sales figures are totted up.

And these figures will set the tone for the next couple of quarters.

Advertising and media agencies have their performances tied inextricably to those of their clients, who in turn, will be praying for a significant uplift in consumer sentiment.

Lots of prayers.

If the festival sales figures are on the (optimistic and) expected lines, managers would have seen the closure of a difficult and critical quarter.

A lot rides on this quarter.

If numbers are close to expectations, one can reasonably expect that managers of the network agencies would be free to hire again. These managers have been under intense pressure during the last year or so, with the recruitment freeze coming at the same time as pressure to deliver higher revenues.

This pressure is sustainable for a short term – but not when it has gone on for almost a year now.

Compound that with the fact that most companies decided to do away with increments for the year and you had a eminently forgettable year for HR managers. They’ve certainly had an annus horribilis.

And if the last quarter of this year fails to deliver healthy numbers, managers of all kinds will have another annus horribilis – certainly two quarters horribilis.

Performers who decided to stand by their companies and wait for a better day will certainly expect a fatter pay envelope come April. If the numbers are disappointing, and no pay rises are forthcoming as a result, one can look forward to an exodus to the newer agencies, whose business plans can afford more executives at seemingly better prices.

Less than projected sales by major companies will also lead to a rash of pitches, both in creative and media agencies. This means stretching already stretched resources to ensure that existing accounts are satisfied and reasonably content as well as pitches for new business opportunities.

Movement of accounts (especially loss of accounts) add another layer of stress for managers. While it is already difficult, in today’s environment, to project revenues, gains and losses of accounts make the task that much more challenging.

It makes sense for managers to be proactive in meeting the possible turbulence of the months ahead.

Make a list of all those executives that the company must retain, will try to retain and can afford to lose. Draw up retention plans for these chosen few – but have them ready now rather than wait for the judgment hour.

Similarly, do a thorough evaluation of the state of health of relationships with your clients. In the cases where you believe clients are likely to flirt, look for solutions – both short-term and medium-term – that could help retain the accounts.

Quick-fix and crisis management solutions will not work. That’s why the prescription – start worrying now.

Source:
Campaign India

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