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Madison on a high, scouts for acquisitions

By , agencyfaqs! | In Media Planning & Buying | June 06, 2005
Sam Balsara, CMD, Madison, is bullish on Madison Creative; the creative division has grown by 75% in the last year


Sam Balsara's Madison Communications has built quite a reputation for itself by regularly winning prestigious accounts. Recently, group agency Madison Media was nominated as the most admired media agency in an industry survey conducted by a business daily. & #BANNER1 & #

Now, the conglomerate is contemplating powering growth through acquisitions. Madison's CMD Sam Balsara says that his enterprise is "completely open to acquisitions. In fact, we are aggressively looking at it."

He indicates that the target companies are in the area of smaller creative agencies, Internet, direct, BTL and others. "My daughter Lara who spends 30 per cent of her time in the corporate office is doing a wonderful job in identifying new areas where we could venture," Balsara adds.

Balsara clarifies that there are no plans to set up a second agency to service conflicting businesses. "Instead of having a second agency, we will actually have three - Madison Media, Madison Media Plus and Madison Media Infinity - all within the Madison Media group. These are not second agencies, but sub-brands."

"We are doing this to reward the young people who have performed. This will give them a sense of ownership and independence of operations of the units that they have helped build. In the process, the move allows us to handle a little bit of minor conflicting clients too."

Despite the appreciation from peers, Balsara feels that Madison Media - the group's flagship agency - will still need to improve. He says, "Unfortunately, in the last decade, the return on investment on the media spend of the advertiser on an average has been going down. Madison Media would have to deliver advice to clients that enables them to build sustainable brands in a profitable way. We believe there is tremendous work still to be done in the media area."

Balsara is a great believer in 360-degree solutions. "I believe we were one of the first agencies to highlight to our clients that excessive dependence on television could be wrong. Our multimedia evaluation model is a step in that direction to show to our data-savvy clients that multi-media does work. Besides, we are today taking our clients aggressively to the market, on to the field, with the help of some of our media partners. We do lots of ground events for advertisers."

"360-degree is a state of mind. It's not really in billings. It's more in terms of a plan. Remember, everything cannot be measured in billing. For every media client of ours, we have an annual review. The review covers 20-40 different parameters spread over 3 broad areas - strategic planning, buying and hygiene factors. And we get rated by our clients on each of these parameters, and based on that rating we earn a cash incentive from them. Most of it goes directly to the teams working on respective businesses."

The Madison CMD is pretty bullish on Madison Creative, the conglomerate's creative agency. This is despite the fact that it's not considered among the top agencies and certainly not in the same league as Madison Media.

Balsara defends. "Our dominance in media has led to our six other units in creative, PR, outdoor, rural, retail and entertainment getting a little overshadowed, but only in terms of media coverage. Madison Creative, of course, suffered the most when I, for some reasons, decided to part ways with DMB&B. That decision of mine has unfortunately proved to be a bit of a setback for Madison Creative."

"Madison Creative last year achieved the highest percentage growth of all units. It was a clean 75 per cent growth. I am delighted with Madison Creative's performance." 2005 agencyfaqs!

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