10/09/2015 8:25 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

A Case For 'Create In India'
triloks via Getty Images

The ambitious "Make in India" program launched by the Government of India is largely skewed towards the manufacturing sector. While that is not entirely wrong, most discussions are missing an equally significant opportunity that remains untapped in the services sector, in the form of "Make for India" as well as "Make from India". The talent edge and time zone gap with the west provides India a unique advantage to emerge as the global hub for creative services. In other words, domestic as well as global buyers of marketing services can look at India as the one-stop creative shop.

Typically, the marketing and advertising sectors in India are not seen as big job creators. However, with digital evolution disrupting every industry, there is a huge opportunity for the marketing, advertising and creative sectors to emerge as significant revenue generators.

While on one hand, digital disruption is empowering consumers with immense choices, it is also providing marketers new avenues to connect and engage with their target audience in a more impactful manner. This also means that chief marketing officers (CMOs) need to look beyond their traditional consumer touchpoints, such as TV/print/radio etc. This in turn implies an upheaval in the world of the new age CMO. Technology is the new saviour for today's CMO to create compelling brand experiences for the consumer at the intersection of experience and technology.

"[W]ith digital evolution disrupting every industry, there is a huge opportunity for the marketing, advertising and creative sectors to emerge as significant revenue generators."

The stronger underpinning of technology will call for distributed work teams -- the cornerstone of the IT/ITes revolution for the past couple of decades. Distributed work teams will allow CMOs to start looking for the same construct with the creative services and that is where the real opportunity for India lies. Since the popular destination for technology distribution will be India, there is a great possibility for our country to emerge as the preferred destination on the creative side as well if the market is equipped with the right set of capabilities.

These capabilities can range from design/content to campaign production in a digital environment. A recent NASSCOM-SapientNitro report pegs the market for creative services to be 17% of the estimated USD 37 billion CMO opportunity for the Indian technology industry in the next five years. The report further states that creative services are estimated to create an additional 1,00,000 jobs in the market over this period. Clearly, an opportunity that is more supply side constrained than demand.

Thinking ahead of the curve, several early adopters like SapientNitro have been leveraging distributed creative services teams within the country for the past five years. It is interesting to note that these teams have witnessed a whopping growth rate of 50% year-on-year showing the extent of unmet demand. Today, it is evident that all the major Indian IT companies are getting on this bandwagon with partnerships, acquisitions and setting up creative studios. The idea is to provide a more integrated set up in India to bridge the gap between technology and creativity.

The combined effect of all these efforts will enable the industry to meet the high demands for creative talent without compromising on quality. While India has great potential when it comes to creative talent, there are very few specialised design schools in the country creating world-class professionals. The existing capacity of these schools may not be able to fill the skill gap to cater to both Indian and global requirements. Bridging the talent skill gap will require a concerted effort from the industry similar in manner to the IT boom that took place two decades ago. The industry needs to support the creative services movement from every aspect whether in terms of focused curriculum, structured internships, awareness as well as a sense of pride in creating in India for the world. With efforts starting as early as today, India will be in a position to emerge as a preferred creative hub for global marketing needs in the next five years.

As the global war for creative talent intensifies, the Indian advertising and marketing sector is all set to witness exciting times ahead as more work gets channelised to the country. Do you think we are ready or will we miss the bus?

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