Industry Snapshot: AMC’s Mark Abou Diwan

Mark Abou Diwan is Managing director, Advertising & Marketing Consultants at AMC

How is the agency model changing?
Over the last couple of years, the communication platforms have undergone great transformation with the rapid development of digital and social media. The changing consumer habits are accelerating the pace of change to an exponential level. Agencies now must be more agile and accountable than before. The culture of innovation, excellence, experience, engagement and accountability has become the driving force of the industry.

What challenges do you face that you didn’t five years ago?
Digital has a record of everything – from what’s being watched, searched and shared, to how time is being spent. Five years ago, we didn’t have that kind of accurate and personalised data. For us, the new scenario is ideal as it’s a win-win situation. We can now utilise budgets efficiently and productively, eliminating wastage and delivering better results. The results of our creative thinking, strategy and spending can be justified with greater precision. It’s a whole new era of transparency and efficiency for both agencies and clients.

What have clients started asking for in the past year?
Advertising has always been considered a persuasive art and science. Today, it’s a results-oriented and data-driven brand experience. With accurate performance data available, clients are more demanding. They are more knowledgeable about focused digital marketing with clear KPIs and seek a lot of information regarding targeting and trackability of the campaigns. ROI is critical and has become an intrinsic part of every campaign. Apart from the digital campaigns, we are increasingly engaged in on-location activations, direct marketing through different mediums, PR and events.

How are consumers changing, and what does that mean for your work?
Today’s customers are being constantly bombarded with aggressive marketing messages. It’s getting increasingly difficult to capture their attention, due to the clutter. Their purchase decisions are search-based and anchored on accurate information. Standalone promotions are no longer as effective as they used to be. Information is the key and we partner with our clients to deliver messages to the right target audience. It’s more about brand engagement and experiences rather than just hard-sell. So, as an agency, our challenge is to ensure effective engagements for better ROI.

What effect is technology having on your business?
The current e-commerce era is a positive time as far as our business is concerned, though we have seen a sharp decline in print media. As technology continues to grow, we are evolving, adapting and implementing. At the end of the day, we believe, it’s not just the technology that drives us, but the people who guide us to the next level of growth. We are investing heavily in a young, talented workforce in our digital and social media departments. We have seen a quantum leap in client budgets, which have gone up by 700 per cent in the last year alone. We are witnessing growing client confidence, as reaching the right audience with targeted and measurable inventory has ensured successful digital campaigns.