Agencies, Wanna Get Acquired? Here's How! - Sanjay Mehta from Mirum, India

The Internet came to India in 1996. Sanjay became an Internet entrepreneur in 1997.

A serial entrepreneur, Sanjay is currently the Joint CEO of Mirum India, one of the largest Digital and Social Media agencies in India. He co-founded Social Wavelength, which was acquired by WPP Group in 2014, and then become a part of a global 2200+ member team digital agency brand called Mirum.

So, he is probably one of the best folks to talk about agency acquisition trends in India.

1. How has digital marketing evolved in India?

Digital marketing has evolved in many different ways, in India.

a. From experimentation to impact: what started as an experiment with small budgets has now reached a stage, where high impact is seen and can be strategised, and as such significant budgets are also invested into.
b. From likes and fans and followers, to more relevant business metrics: finally, the CFO asked. What’s in it for me? And the marketers listened. Or were forced to listen. And hence, it is now about meeting relevant business goals and metrics are also linked to the same.
c. A lot more sales and a little lesser branding: since organic reach is minimal, but audience sighting is only growing, and in fact, targeting is becoming amazing, therefore, increasingly, it has become a game of results, of lead generation, or direct sales and relatively lesser branding / marketing objectives.
d. From community to media: the lure of building a community and getting organic growth, is something that very few brands are able to do; for all others, it has become a game of “paisa phekh, tamasha dekh” or spend money on digital media, and get results!

2. What would be your recommendations for acquisition-ready agencies?

I am presuming, we are referring here, to independent agencies, who may be looking to get acquired!

The recommendations are:

– Ensure that your books are clean, all liabilities are clear,
– Focus on profitability, and not just top line growth; valuation will clearly be a play on profitability,
– Note that, the process takes time, and sometimes, it could fail at the last minute, after you have invested several months of effort. Hence don’t take the eyes off the ball, or keep focussing on business, even while you are talking to acquirers.

3. What are the current acquisition trends in India?

There are few independent agencies left. And there is still a good appetite amongst network majors, for good agencies. However, typically, networks will look for what they don’t have – niche plays, in that sense.

4. A great campaign that you would want to share with us.

– When a real estate client of ours spent around Rs. 2.5 crore on a print campaign, for a specific launch, and got 50 telephone calls (total!) and for the same campaign, they gave us around 15 lakhs, and we got them, close to 400 leads! That’s today’s reality!
– Amongst other campaigns, quite love Amazon’s campaigns.

5. 1 reason not to miss your session at Click Asia Summit 2016.

The format of the program is very interesting, and ensures that both, speakers and delegates get the best value. I would like to share my 8 years of experience in the digital media industry, besides the background since 1998, of being in the digital industry, and engage the audience with good insights and understanding, coming from this rich experience. I am sure the combined content from the speakers will be huge value for the participants.

Sanjay Mehta is a speaker at Click Asia Summit 2016, the Largest Digital Transformation and Marketing Event in Asia (April 21-22, Taj lands End, Mumbai)

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