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‘Industry growth key to talent acquisition, retention’

By Rajiv Raghunath - December 23, 2022

Manas Mohan, Chief Digital & Data Officer, Laqshya Media Group believes that OOH industry growth is fundamental to attracting the best minds to this industry, and developing and retaining them over the longer term. Manas has deep professional experience across the media business spectrum, having worked in different media streams. He is bullish that the time has come for OOH to wrest its own place in the Sun, which will also pave the way for some path-breaking career opportunities in this space. Edited excerpts of the interview with Rajiv Raghunath:

Manas Mohan, Chief Digital & Data Officer<br>Laqshya Media Group In your career journey, you have worked with media organisations in the print, digital and TV domains. How has that experience helped you as you took up a leadership position at Laqshya Media Group?

What enticed me to the OOH world was its desire to modernise. Mr Alok Jalan asked me to come and reshape the rudimentary OOH audience metrics system that had been designed by engineers, and I found that exciting. As an enthusiastic brand manager, I found OOH very impactful for my (TV) brand. Yet, when asked by the CFO to share any statistics about the medium, I could not offer him much apart from brand lift studies – which (as per CFOs) could have been the result of a plethora of factors. 

In contrast, all proposals from the TV industry would go with reams of research and numbers. Similarly, digital proposals would fundamentally be excel sheets. OOH gave a list of sites!
This had to be corrected.

You came into the OOH industry at a time when the business had started to change, with an increasing accent on digitalization, and the use of ad-tech. Is the industry geared to usher in big changes with the talent available, or do you see the need for aggressive talent acquisition from other industries?

The industry is trying to change gears. The gears are not very well oiled, but the intent is clearly there. There are some very bright people in OOH – who are in the process of de-learning the old ways and adapting new processes. That said, the industry already has new talent from databases and software to help it along. 

Are the OOH industry roles and compensation packages attractive enough to bring talent from technology companies? What is Laqshya Media Group’s experience in this regard?

The roles are interesting (Laqshya has a CDDO – Chief Data & Digital Officer, and a CTO to support him). And more agencies will soon understand the need to have this kind of team composition. But yes, the IT and analytics industries are spoilt for choice, and currently, the salaries are keeping up with ambitions. Having said that, we are starting to speak a different language and hope to create interesting conversations with our current and prospective clients. 

Are young people joining the Indian OOH industry seeing a great career ahead of them?

There is a very interesting and comprehensive study by Zenith that OOH will generate more new business than TV, print or radio (only second to digital) in the coming years. The larger the growth of the business, the steeper the growth for people. The current industry must capitalise on such trends and attract increasingly better talent. And we are doing so!

What measures are needed at an industry level for effective talent development and retention? Would you recommend any pan-industry initiatives to help build a strong, large, future-proofed talent pool?

All good industries have grown by investing in training, an evolution over pure rewards. This is one big new initiative in Laqshya Media – and we think that the uplift in the quality of services will make this a trend across the industry. VJ Media and e4m have been leading the way in third-party conventions for this industry, and we hope that they too focus more on workshops in addition to lectures.

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