A few weeks back, one event would have put media agencies in India on guard. A team from Firm Decisions Global headed by their CEO Stephen Broderick was speaking to nearly three dozen leading advertisers who are members of the Indian Society of Advertisers (a body of leading advertising spenders).
For the record, Firm Decisions is among the leading marketing compliance firms and among the key topics discussed in Mumbai was about how clients could have increasing transparency on their media spends.
“The leading Indian advertisers shared their growing concerns on media transparency and their eagerness to know more about the black box of media trading incentives (rebates) between their appointed advisors and media suppliers. Indian advertisers are already aware of the issues now and we did see willingness by Indian advertiser to consider on these lines,” says Stephen Broderick, managing partner and CEO Firm Decisions.
He adds, “Media transparency poses to be a continuing problem in most top countries including India. We have done audits in over 70 countries including the US and UK.”
Broderick proceeds to say that in India too, they have seen similar issues. However, clients are not fully aware about it. “There is lack of transparency in the financial dealing in the client – advertising agency relationship. In countries across Europe, North America or even in China, if clients want transparency, they incorporate necessary clauses. But in India, trust is more on the agency compared to other nations,” he says. While that is a relief for agencies, it also puts a lot of responsibility on them.
Broderick says, “Indian advertisers are still not understanding the significance of media transparency and where the money is wasted. So we are trying to create awareness first and of course would provide services to Indian corporates furnishing better visibility into their ad spends. We work closely with advertisers and respective agencies to validate and verify if clients have received the services they have paid for.”
This media transparency is not just for leading media buying agencies but also caters to digital, mobile, data driven advertising, print among others.