Prajjal Saha & Devina Joshi

OgilvyOne’s Kent Wertime shares his perspective on DM in India

Kent Wertime, CEO, OgilvyOne, Asia Pacific, was recently in India and spoke to agencyfaqs! about his view on the one-to-one industry, the growth in digital media and developments at OgilvyOne

Kent Wertime, CEO, OgilvyOne, Asia Pacific, visited India recently. When agencyfaqs! caught up with the DM veteran, he shared some interesting insights on the one-to-one industry and OgilvyOne’s future plans.

Excerpts from an interview:

Q. There seems to have been a number of changes at OgilvyOne lately – the closure of mOne and Bates Healthworld merging with OgilvyOne to form Ogilvy Healthworld. What’s next?

Ogilvy Healthworld came into being because it was the next logical step for us, considering the fact that the healthcare communication industry is going through a process of dramatic change, with digital communication entering the scene. mOne, on the other hand, happened because of a difference in our visions for the future.

But coming back to your question, we will launch a specialised unit called Neo globally by the end of February. Neo will function as a unit within OgilvyOne and will specialise in digital media. This has been done because we need deep expertise and in-depth knowledge on digital as a medium, for which we need a separate unit. We hope to add more clients to our roster with the formation of Neo.

Q. Why is India always among the last ones on the list when any global changes are made in the WPP structure?

I wouldn’t say that India is trailing behind the rest of the world as far as any WPP changes are concerned. In some cases, it is a matter of transferring an existing unit to other countries, while in some others, the process involves establishing new units in various markets. The latter takes time as the respective market needs to be ready for such units.

Q.The industry had really high expectations from the healthcare sector and expected it to boom. But nothing of that sort happened…

I think this is an example of the danger of expectations outstripping reality. See, it takes time to build businesses. No doubt, people have built their expectations and then wonder what was the big deal about it. But things are happening quietly behind the scenes. There has been a rise in affluence and a simultaneous rise in chronic illnesses. The healthcare industry is growing tremendously, but I think it will take a couple of years to fully capture that opportunity in India.

Q. In Indian advertising, there is still a heavy reliance on mass media for mainstream B2C brands, whereas one-to-one marketing is more popular for pharma and other B2B brands. Could that be a reason why healthcare advertising hasn’t picked up in India?

Yes, it’s true that pharma brands use more of one-to-one marketing in the belief that brand building certainly doesn’t imply that everyone needs to know about it; only the people who need to know about it should be addressed. These include doctors, medical representatives and the end consumers.

But as far as mass media is concerned, I’ve seen a dramatic shift in Asia, even in India, over the past five-ten years. Clients are increasingly trying to tap consumers at the actual point of purchase. That is not to say that mass media is not important in India any more. Marketers here have been used to a certain kind of media for over 60 years and, obviously, changing such a pattern is not an easy task!

Mass media is, and will continue to be, important for some time. But a slow shift is happening and one-on-one marketing is growing at a rapid pace. Abroad, B2C clients are using DM rather nicely. One good example is American Express. In India, too, things seem to be moving in that direction. For instance, Pepsi and Coca-Cola are taking some interesting online initiatives.

Q. Often, global agencies launch tools and bring these tools to other countries as well. Don’t you think such tools shouldn’t be just dumped, but should be adapted to suit the country’s specific needs?

Tools are merely a framework of thinking. The tool may be global, but the research, the insight, the communication is always local. It is a question of tool versus application. And clients don’t buy tools, they buy solutions.

On the subject of tools, one new tool that we at OgilvyOne are going to roll out soon is ‘Personal Circuits’. It aims to understand how people organise things in everyday life and what goes behind their decision making on various matters.

Q. What are your views on the growing importance of viral marketing?

Viral is uncontrollable, by its very nature. The question is how does one tap into it? Even on blogs, one cannot control conversations. If one adopts the right tone in viral marketing, it can prove to be a very powerful medium. But if a marketer cheats people with false corporate talk and praises the product, then it can backfire very badly. So, it is important to be honest with consumers. As David Ogilvy said, “The consumer is not a moron; she’s your wife.”

Q. After authoring ‘Building Brands and Believers’, which is your next book?

There is a book I’m writing on marketing in Asia and the new media options in the markets here. I think the book will not roll out before the next 18 months, as my job is taking up most of my time. But I’m not complaining – it’s what I enjoy doing.

© 2006 agencyfaqs!

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