The approach of demarcating traditional media planners from digital planners not feasible anymore: Anisha Iyer

Pranali Tawte
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Anisha Iyer

In conversation with Social Samosa, Anisha Iyer talks about the challenges that women face today in the Indian A&M industry, dealing with PII in this day and age, and as a Jury Member of Social Samosa Superwomen 2023, shares a message for the participants.

With more than two decades of experience in the advertising business and a niche in digital and technology, Anisha Iyer, CEO of OMD India, shares that the media industry is filled with great examples of people breaking the glass ceiling and this needs to be emulated by the advertising industry. With changing rules of data protection, she also discusses the trends in terms of media spends and shares OMD's growth prospects.

Edited Excerpts:

A lot has changed on the data front of late. With first-party and zero-party data now taking prominence, how has the functioning of media agencies changed? 

Media agencies can no longer just sit back and take things easy. It is crucial for them to be at the forefront of innovation, and this is one of the biggest changes needed in agency ethos.

The current approach of demarcating traditional media planners from digital planners is not feasible anymore.

At OMD, we are setting the standard for the new normal by creating a unique pool of integrated planners. This is helping us better understand at-scale matters of privacy, data-led communication planning, as well as ensuing recommendations. Clients are becoming aware of the fact that there aren’t any established rules and benchmarks for this in India yet. With even most large companies still figuring out the intricacies of this approach, we need to work on normalising tests and learning initiatives and educate clients that first-party data is the best-party data. Subsequently, scaling from there is what will work in the long term.

Any tips on how brands and agencies can approach PII in an ethical manner? 

Non-ethical practices are not even a point of discussion. In fact, if an agency has access to client data (even if aggregated) and that data is then used in a larger pool for in-sighting purposes, that is a problem.

At Omnicom, we don’t believe in owning any data. We believe that data belongs to the client and, as such, should be treated, understood, enriched, and expanded within a client-exclusive environment with no access to PII.

That’s the sustainable way to deal with PII and ensures deeper client partnerships, with trust and compliance at the core. 

In terms of media spends, what are some of the trends in the last quarter? From an OMD perspective, which platforms are your clients more focused on? 

The digital platform continues to dominate and grow steadily. Being at the heart of transformation and engagement, digital will continue to give mass media a run for its money. However, that’s not to say that TV has lost its relevance. On the contrary, TV is still very relevant, and thus, this does not come at the cost of TV investments. Interestingly, in certain categories, we are observing the resurrection of print media, but only time will reveal how sustainable print will be. Ultimately, a multimedia approach is what matters. Regardless of what channel is used, understanding the consumer journey and having a multi-touchpoint approach are key to a successful approach! 

Also Read: Digital and television act as yin and yang: Swati Nathani

What are the agency’s plans this year? What is of top priority on your TDL? 

OMD has gone through a massive product and people transformation in 2022. So, 2023 is definitely the year of growth. We have kicked off the year triumphantly and are already starting to see our efforts bear fruit and land us some great wins. Aggressive growth is the mantra for us.

A lot has been said about shattering the glass ceiling. Do you think the Indian A&M industry has truly enabled women professionals to break free of the shackles and this includes micro day-to-day challenges as well? 

With its deepening focus on merit, intellect, and intent, the media industry is filled with great examples of people breaking the glass ceiling. So many of my friends and mentors are now in leadership roles in media agencies and that makes me so proud. This needs to be emulated by other industries as well, especially the advertising industry. 

What is your opinion on the challenges faced by working women of today? And as an industry, how can we address it? 

It isn’t the industry as much as our country that needs to tackle this challenge. That said, things are changing slowly but surely, and I’m glad to see it. Since we live in a patriarchal society where men are encouraged to hone and develop their self-PR skills, women need to actively become more assertive and get better at self-promotion. I think that, as women, we also need to work on changing our collective view, which will help eliminate quite a few obstacles in our journey to growth. Ultimately, gender should play no role in any of this and success should be defined by meritocracy and meritocracy alone.

gender inclusivity media spends Superwomen Jury Advertising and Marketing Superwomen 2023 zero party data