Jul 28, 2008

Business - Bates develops tools for live sales data for Brands

Advertising agency Bates David Enterprise’s marketing services arm 141 Sercon has developed some marketing tools that will enable brand owners to get live empirical data on the performance of their brands versus their competitors, directly from the point-of-purchase (POP).
Whereas market research firms provide monthly or quarterly data and marketing services firms then uses that data for developing a strategy for their clients, 141 Sercon expects this retail oriented diagnostic tool to provide live data to the brand owners as the sales happen.
This WPP group agency expects 250 new client sign-ups in the first year of its launch and expects revenue growth in line with the market, upwards of 30 per cent. Some of Sercon’s present clients in India include Hindustan Unilever, Whirlpool and Swatch. The companies that have used this tool in other countries in Asia are McAffee, Lenovo and Unilever.
Vijay Singh, managing director, 141 Sercon, said, “Driving a car without a dashboard would imply taking a blind risk. Beginning from that observation, we have developed an online tool that would present the sales data collected in a form that looks like a car’s dashboard.
This data could work as an indicator for brand owners to make strategic decisions for their marketing initiatives. It would give the performance and insights on the brands at “the last mile” to know which factors play in the consumerss mind when they actually take the decision to purchase a brand or not.”
Singh says that about 70 per cent of the brand decisions happen at the last mile before purchase. Another agency, which has recently developed a tool to understand the customer psyche better is Group M Media, which uses a tool named Real World Street that gives brand insight from a sample of households.
McCann Erickson and Mudra group are also investing heavily in beefing up their marketing services arm. McCann will develop MRM, its direct-response agency, and Momentum, its event management arm. Mudra is looking at expanding its marketing services division under the leadership of Pratap Bose, who joined Mudra in July after quitting as CEO from Ogilvy & Mather.
Currently, 35 per cent of total ad spending in India is geared towards below-the-line marketing services, estimates Sercon. However, agencies in India expect this figure to go up with the changes in pattern of media consumption and macro-economic environment of the nation.
Agency heads say that as the world witnesses a convergence of media, various arms of the agency would have to work together to create holistic brand solutions cutting across channels. 141 Sercon developed its marketing tools with its partners in other countries over a period of one year. It has already been deployed in some parts of Asia like Singapore.
These tools by Sercon would involve a customised interface, where brand managers can key in their questions, which would be answered by designated field officers from the various regions. This data could then be interpreted by the marketing software tools namely market pulse, shopper pulse and event pulse. The data would be stored at 141 Sercon’s server and would be accessible by the owners through a portal.

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