Paulius Senuta: Lithuanian marketers are getting lazy

June 5, 2015

“Sadly, as the market matures, ambitions tend to fade away,” says Paulius Senuta, Chairman, Strategic Planning Director at Not Perfect | Y&R Minsk, Riga & Vilnius.

Not Perfect was the most awarded advertising agency in the Baltic region in 2014. We interviewed the founder of the agency to find out what are the trends in Lithuanian agency market in 2015.

We are now entering the second quarter of the year. How do you see things developing in the agency business?

I’m cautiously optimistic. We do have the Russian crisis, but it’s not affecting business that much, investments are still flowing in.

Local producers are approaching marketing in a more professional matter. The market has become increasingly fragmented during the past 5 years. We used to have 20 clients for creative agencies to work with. Bigger clients have since become smaller and vice versa. When it comes to income divide, agencies are now depending on a bigger number of clients. We have a wider portfolio of clients. It’s less risky.

Lithuanian agencies are desperately trying to find ways to export their services. Advertising is not something you can really export, because it’s very closely tied to the local culture. But you can export parts of it: packaging, design, etc. We have some very obvious export markets like Belarus, but we’ve also done projects for Dubai, which is far from streamline (compared to Belarus).

In terms of media, what kind of trends are you spotting here?

TV and internet are the main ingredients of the media mix. However, the first is very homogeneous and the second rather fragmented. TV is still going strong. Funnily, the work you do for internet is quite often exactly the same you do for TV.

With YouTube’s gradual transition into a structured media outlet, viral videos have disappeared. You still need banners, boosting, seeding, etc. to get your content going viral. YouTube has become very similar to TV. You’re paying for the ad production AND the spread. Interestingly, when that realization came – people became lazier. As a result, a great deal of engagement and fun is lost.

What’s your view on mobile? We’ve been hearing about the rise of mobile for years now.

There is a rise of mobile! Look at Facebook for instance. 50% of the activity is coming from mobile.

We are already doing mobile for our clients, but it is still in an experimental phase. It’s considered as an add-on, not a key campaign element. The same goes for digital. People consider the amount of contacts they can produce, but never the impact. You can’t compare a banner to a TVC, although it produces the contacts (but still lacks in impact). Web advertising is still looking for more impactful formats.

The mobile screen is too small. It’s a fact. What can you do with it?! Obviously, you can place an offer, but it’s much harder to impress anyone. In the end, who cares about that small blinking thing at the bottom of the screen? Mobile is only good for all promotional offers. Sooner or later, the offers will be location/consumption based. But that’s where it’s going to end.

What is the biggest marketing challenge for Lithuanian clients?

Sadly, as the market matures, ambitions tend to fade away. Clients are happy with their current position. Today, a lot of marketing has become optimization based. It used to be much more exciting.

On the other side, clients have started to think about pan-Baltic campaigns. They’ve been always talking about it and now it actually seems they are ready to take the plunge. Organizations have started to change their structures. SEB and Swedbank are good examples. Surely, there are more clients who are dreaming of a unified magical campaign for all three offices/markets.

However, we do still have to (and do!) fight for our ideas. In my experience, if a client agrees immediately – it’s going to be a mediocre campaign. The agencies need to stay arrogant and not give up the initial idea.

In Cannes Lions, the voting criteria is based on 3 elements: originality, production quality and risk. You can’t produce anything brilliant in a safe manner. Unfortunately, a lot of clients and agencies have got stuck in their comfort zones.

Interviewed by: Hando Sinisalu, Best Marketing International