GroupM’s wake up call to marketers breaks boundaries to meet industry needs

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CEO of GroupM Malaysia, Chanchal Chakrabarty delivers his opening address at the inaugural SourceCode held at Nexus Bangsar South.

Last Thursday, over 300 client marketers gathered in Nexus Bangsar South for Malaysia’s first ever un-conference organised by GroupM, the world’s largest media advertising company. Aptly titled ‘SourceCode’, the inaugural event celebrated approaching the new year by creating a blueprint for success through dialogue and co-creation.

SourceCode featured interesting panels on Desire vs Demand, e-commerce, data and measurement including senior Malaysian clients and a wide-range of speakers from local and global brands such as Spotify, Grab, Mindshare, Astro, Pizza Hut, Rev Asia and more. The event inspired and equipped participants with the knowledge of resources available to thrive in a complex industry full of uncertainties.  

Emcee Tehmina Kaoosji kickstarts the day as eager participants challenge their assumptions by cracking the code to customer journeys.

MARKETING Magazine sat down with the CEO of GroupM Malaysia, Chanchal Chakrabarty, to better understand the thinking behind SourceCode and get some insights on the company’s direction moving into 2020. 

As the CEO of a company that is leading the market, its role in the industry is unique, quips Chanchal. 

“We have a responsibility to be thought leaders for our clients and to help steer them in the right direction especially now when business challenges, consumer journeys and the means to reach consumers are getting more complex,” Chanchal said. “This whole ecosystem is going through a volatile phase as it is growing and changing rapidly and because of that, it becomes even more important for us to guide, collaborate and co-create the blueprint which would act as a Source Code for winning.”  

Mindshare Malaysia MD Dheeraj Raina tackles the Desire vs Demand dilemma with Commercial Director of Galderma Malaysia Cindy Tiu, MD of Volvo Cars Malaysia Nalin Jain and VP of unifi Marketing and Comms Lai Shu Wei.

While brands are strategising their customer reach by exploring all available platforms that can execute their goals, the question of platform monopoly could not escape the conversation. 

When asked if the platform industry is monopolised, Chanchal said, “I don’t think it’s monopolised, but currently in Malaysia platforms such as Google and Facebook do take the lion’s share of client digital spends, but the reality is consumers aren’t just on those (platforms), they are on multiple.” 

Chanchal sees this as an opportunity for communication partners to play an agnostic role between clients and available platforms by guiding them through the changing landscape they can use to accomplish their goals. 

Participants of SourceCode take in the wide-range of information shared by speakers and panelists to assist marketers build their blueprint of success at the SourceCode held at Nexus Bangsar South

“The reality is consumers are everywhere and unless we create an ecosystem inclusive of all significant platforms where consumers are, we won’t be able to create a competitive and comprehensive landscape of digital platforms,” he added. 

Chanchal was named CEO of GroupM Malaysia a little over a year ago and he describes his journey so far as exciting. He says that assuming the position during an organisation wide leadership transition was challenging. 

“But I’ve always believed that if you are able to build a team from scratch, you’ll always be able to build a much stronger team by getting people who think alike and set the right common goals for everyone to focus on,” he shares. 

“The ad industry has been fixated on adex for six years and needs to elevate itself to a new focus”

Shifting the focus to industry needs, Chanchal said the Malaysian advertising industry has been stagnant for almost six years and emphasised the importance of moving away from being obsessed purely with advertising expenditure (adex). 

As the new decade approaches, he says GroupM will continue to identify need gaps in the industry and amongst clients in order to create products to meet those needs. 

“For example, we are launching the e-commerce practice which doesn’t typically eat into advertising spend but will help clients, who could be anywhere from incubation stage to acceleration stage of e-commerce, but don’t know how to,’ Chanchal adds. 

“Similarly, addressable TV was one of our panels and we’re launching a product to cater to that need which will be a first in the market; therefore tapping on the needs of the market as well as helping create a new revenue stream for us as a business.” 

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