Some advertisers recognise the crisis as a time when it is necessary to make a long-term investment in its position on the market, so I believe that in the future we will also be a good ally of companies and brands in making informed and timely decisions, says Jovan Stojanović, Managing Director of Direct Media, who expects another challenging year in the domestic advertising industry.
How do you envisage the business climate for the functioning of agencies in 2016?
– The business environment has not supported the players in the communication chain for a number of years. And 2016 will be no less challenging, judging by the macroeconomic indicators and the general developments on both the domestic market and elsewhere in the region.
Total consumption in Serbia is not recovering at a pace that we would like, as a result of the harsh fiscal consolidation measures, and many companies are facing reforms and also turnarounds in operations, due to the process of harmonising domestic legislation with that of the EU. In such circumstances, it is logical that there is a sense of caution in the implementation of business strategies, which can reflect on the communications industry in the form of a smaller number of campaigns and budget cuts for advertising.
However, it has turned out that some advertisers recognise precisely such a situation as their chance to utilise the crisis conditions and additional investment in order to occupy a position that they will collect on during the years ahead.
The two key drivers of change in our advertising Industry that we expect in the future are the growth of “ecommerce” and, consequently, on the basis of collected Online consumer data, “audience buying”
Does Serbia have adequate infrastructure that would enable agencies to implement global trends and standards, and thus effectively service the needs of advertisers?
– Absolutely. The resources exist – both technological and human. The famous multidisciplinary qualities and proactivity of our profession are increasingly apparent in specific campaigns and projects. I would remind you that Programmatic buying came to fruition on our market very soon after its global launch. That advanced model of digital media leasing, as well as advertising on Twitter and Instagram, was introduced first in our region by Direct Media. Apart from that, in the project “Telenor banker”, for which we last year won important regional awards, we apply multiple technology platforms, such as virtual reality, which are currently also the latest trends in the world.
In agencies, we have the knowledge and people who can implement the most sophisticated projects that become examples of successful campaigns at the level of large international groups. It turned out that it was precisely this innovation and implementation of the latest trends, that was crucial to the pitches final outcome.
Which channels of communication could be utilised to improve the efficiency of budgets intended for advertising?
– I would say that the whole mindset of agencies should change and thereby generate greater efficiency of advertising messages more than communication channels that are limited to individually placing messages could do. Our understanding of our clients’ businesses, and also advertising, results in our focused being on our clients’ results – on their ROI. Everywhere in the world, marketing is now facing pressure to rationalise budgets and provide a greater return on investment.
On the other hand, media fragmentation and the wealth of information on the internet today provide incomparably greater creative space than when we had fewer media and scarce information about consumers. Our approach to advertising is based precisely on a model which combines Science and Art dimensions. It is based on precise mathematical analyses formulated through tools that predict the result of sales and other effects of advertising.
At the same time, it draws on the breadth of creativity for the best placement of advertising messages, because the ultimate goal is to find the user and to communicate with him in a way that suits him. As far as channels of communication are concerned, the potential of digital advertising in Serbia is high, although it is still below the trends in Europe, where in some markets internet advertising has already surpassed investments in advertising on television.
What do you consider as being the “golden rules” of market communication?
– Consistency and confidence – both in relations between brands and consumers, as well as in cooperation between agencies and clients. We are witnessing the fate of many major brands that have succumbed to pressure to make a change in the communications environment and have not remained true to their identity, thereby losing the confidence of consumers. The same analogy can be applied in business communications, where each party wants to know what it can count on in the long term. Staying true to your own values, and building relationships of trust in which both sides will grow in the long term only through such a partnership is the only winning combination.
The biggest challenge is how to adapt to the current moment of market development… the advertising industry sometimes loses the race against time, and is sometimes way ahead of its time in relation to the development of new technologies in this region
What are the current issues of the profession and the future challenges that will have to be faced by local agencies in the fields of marketing communications and public relations?
– The biggest challenge today is not only understanding the so-called “Consumer Journey”, i.e. the way the consumer, in this era of networked communications, decides to buy a product and become a loyal customer, but rather in knowing how to use this insight. In this sense, it is essential to have more education of everyone in the field and to work continuously on improving existing models of communication. One of the challenges is adequately adapting global trends to the local market.
The era of digitisation and hyper-personalisation has brought new channels of communication. However, the greatest challenges are how to adapt to the current moment of market development. When monitoring international trends, the advertising industry sometimes loses the race against time and is sometimes way ahead of its time in relation to the development of new technologies in this region. The focus of our industry will continue to be on the consumer and understanding what his drivers are. The sector has begun and will continue, to move towards a clearer definition of its impact on ROI and the direct measurability of this parameter. The two key drivers of change in our advertising industry that we expect in the future are the growth of “e-commerce” and, consequently, on the basis of collected online consumer data, “audience buying”.
How do your activities differ from those of your competitors and what makes you stand out on the market?
– We are a local “self-made” agency that has grown for the past 15 years and we are proud of that fact. We have grown from a media agency into a media system that can today manage the communication process from the emergence of an original product idea to participate in the creation of the product and its sale to consumers through an advertising message.
Thanks to our partners – some of the largest advertisers on the market – we have an opportunity to realise some of the most innovative campaigns. World leaders, the ones that dictate trends in the global advertising, engage us in collaboration on the markets of the region where we operate, because they, like us, believe that our network of employees can deliver on such serious projects. I expect that we will very soon be able to offer, again as the first in the region, a unique tool for measuring the performance of campaigns based on an econometric model that we are developing completely in-house, as was the case with all previous tools to date.