Because the landscape of creative partners has fragmented enormously, afaqs! Marketplace wants to aid their discovery by advertisers.
afaqs! has launched afaqs! Marketplace, a platform that will allow agencies, production houses, design studios, content creators and others to host their own page on the site.
“We have been working on this project for more than six months,” says afaqs! co-founder Sreekant Khandekar, clarifying that “it is not a mere listing site. This is a platform which will allow advertisers to discover exciting work by agencies they have not worked with – and possibly not even heard of. There is an inbuilt messaging system via which they can contact each other on the platform.” Marketplace is free for marketers and is hosted on the afaqs! site.
Tracing how the agency-client relationship has changed, Khandekar recalls that in the ‘90s there were only a small number of advertisers in India whose needs were met by perhaps 30-40 major agencies.
Today, there are countless advertisers, big and small, and literally thousands of communication partners offering an astonishing range of specialised services. Most creative firms have snappy websites and social media presence but because the market is so dispersed, advertisers can’t easily find them.
This is the pain point afaqs! Marketplace seeks to address, says Khandekar. It allows agencies which subscribe to display almost all the information that they host on their websites. “Once they come on board afaqs! Marketplace, they don’t have to worry about reaching the right audience. They can leave that to afaqs!, a major destination for India’s marketers for more than 20 years,” he says.
Marketers are constantly looking for new creative partners they can test by assigning a project or two. “That is why we have laid great emphasis on discovery via projects,” he explains. Subscribers to the platform are allowed to host an unlimited number of projects they have executed.
Apart from browsing projects and viewing agency show reels, marketers will be able to shortlist agencies by a variety of ways: by city, specialisation, product category experience and number of employees.
Though the platform was soft-launched only early this month, Khandekar says that the agency response has been extraordinary. “One of the commonest questions we get is: ‘Why didn’t afaqs! create Marketplace earlier?’ he says. “I do wish we had!”
afaqs! Marketplace is already in talks with nearly a hundred agencies, production houses, design studies and content creators. Based on their response, Khandekar is confident that most of them will subscribe. He ends by saying, “And remember, we are only beginning to promote the platform.”