Surviving in an Industry with Low Barriers to Entry The scale at which the industry is witnessing the digital transformation, to "coexist" simply isn't enough to make a cut

By Shrenik Gandhi

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When it comes to advertising, change is the only constant. With the industry recording double-digit growth Y-o-Y, it is on the cusp of a great shake-out. But it's not just the growing technological advancements advertisers have to keep up with, the nature and size of competition to are changing! With limited entry barriers, it's not just the traditional industry competitors and needs to keep an eye on, but new entrants from outside the industry, equipped with digitally-based business models.

As the industry continues to welcome newbies of all sizes, backgrounds and competencies, with open arms and no strings attached, let's not forget our existence within the ecosystem. The scale at which the industry is witnessing the digital transformation, to "coexist" simply isn't enough to make a cut. So, while barriers to entry are minimal, if you don't disrupt your own business, someone else will.

Here's a four-point checklist to prosper in these disruptive times.

Extract Value from Data

According to the IDC, data creation is poised to increase 10x by 2025. As data continues to grow in volume, variety and velocity, brands should power their strategies with data. Customers today seamlessly hop, skip and jump between various screens and channels. The neat and tidy linear sales funnel has been replaced with the modern purchase path – nonlinear, multidirectional, interconnected. This digital footprint is valuable because every interaction is full of information. The future will be about marrying creativity with this data, which means marketers should be armed with the right technology that will creatively dissect data.

Favour Innovations Over Operations

The Information age is over. This is the Experiential Age – a by-product of Industry 4.0. As smart tech continues to disrupt anything that comes in its way, it's also transforming customers' expectations. With this backdrop of shifts, marketing budgets should shift too. Marketers should think beyond social media posts, contests, image banners or influencers and be present in the moments. Be it virtual assistants, chatbots, AR experiences or image recognition, it's time to let technology do the customer experience for you.

Optimize Skills Not Just Campaigns

While technology is quickly transforming how we run processes and interact with customers, the same is not applicable to the digital literacy of those in charge of planning and running the campaigns. Learning agility is the name of the game. With MarTech and AdTech landscape forming fast, your employees' ability to be agile in letting go of the old rules and learning new tools, techniques and skills will be crucial to succeed in the ever-evolving digital environment. It's time for the C-suite to treat learning as a continuous process, not an episodic event, and as a company-wide responsibility, not just limited to HR.

Don't Spray & Pray

It is common knowledge that every single thing you do to generate leads should have a purpose. Without any purpose, an ad campaign will hit the market far and wide, but won't have a tangible impact, despite breath-taking design or number of channels utilized. From a brand standpoint, CMO's are increasingly rethinking agency KPIs. Innovation will be encouraged, but those innovations will have to deliver ROI. A focussed approach takes time, extensive research and to some risk as well, but it's worth the investment.

These are interesting times to ramp up your creative ingenuity. Nobody has a crystal ball and no one can predict the future of an agency. But, the agency of the future will be adaptive and reflective of the times and stay at the top of the trends. Only those who adapt will prosper! So, how many boxes did you tick off?

Shrenik Gandhi

Co-founder, White Rivers Media

Shrenik Gandhi is the Co-founder of White Rivers Media.

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