The decision to adapt and evolve is something that every entrepreneur needs to make at some point in life. In replicating successful business models, Pakistani entrepreneurs who have thrived are the ones who innovate in accordance with the market realities and true consumer behavior, especially in lieu with technology usage.
The go-to-market approach must also be adjusted in line with the value proposition and how it effects monopolistic or cartel-like benefactors in the market. Such is the case with an advertising agency aiming to end marketing corruption.
At the moment, Pakistan ranks 117 on Transparency International’s Global Corruption Index. This ranking is reflected on the outdoor industry, where 90 per cent of vendors admit to having paid a kickback in the last three years. The situation persists because of lack of available research and locally relevant data. The entire region needs a solution that provides rapid data generation and procurement transparency.
This is why Najiyeh Akbar, former CMO of Samsung Pakistan and Hameed Kashan, former CMO of Unicef Pakistan, have co-founded 24Grey, a data driven media buying house exclusively for out-of-home (OOH) advertising. They recently launched Outnet, a campaign planning tool that leverages Big Data in order to optimise outdoor advertising planning and management. It’s a US$ 20 million industry in the region that still runs exclusively on power point.
In a nutshell, Outnet is a cloud-based SaaS platform for planning, procurement, evaluation, monitoring and audit of outdoor campaigns, a huge step-up from power point and assumptions. This video explains the system in depth. To create Outnet, 24Grey conducted the largest outdoor advertising-specific inventory census and traffic study, and almost got arrested for it.
They are focusing on aggregation, media planning and buying, tracking and monitoring, and audience measurement. I reached out to the most prolific advertisers in the country to gauge the product’s market validation:
Umair Saeed, COO at Blitz Advertising:“Outnet is the solution every ROI focused marketer needed for planning, executing, monitoring and evaluating OOH campaigns. It will be interesting to see the adoption curve for this product and what traditional OOH agencies decide to do with it; compete or collaborate?! As clichéd as it might sound, it is a game changer”
Umair Kazi, Managing Partner at Ishtehari:”The outdoor advertising industry is plagued with over-saturation, dubious quality control, and eroding consumer attention. This doesn’t fundamentally address any of those, though it might make it clearer for advertisers to realize the folly of their ways. As a creative agency, we welcome the platform and the ambition it embodies. Maybe this will herald a change and increase the impact of each hoarding, and encourage brands to take a chance with higher quality ideas on fewer sites than bombarding the entire city with the same TVC-adapted key visual.”
Danish Ayub, CEO of MWM Studioz: “While the idea itself is merits admiration, the founders can expect to be arrested on trumped up charges, for getting in the way of the unethical livelihoods of various brand & media managers. It is an unwise decision to pursue this line of business without the backing of a superior business group or authority figure. No doubt, some well known companies will join them and discard Lahore-based MOVE, but most will be apprehensive to let this be well known.”