In an interview for “Monitor“, the weekly economic profile magazine, the Vatra CEO answered a series of questions related to the dynamics of the advertisement market over the past year and what is expected in the year that just started.
According to Gerton Bejo, CEO of the VATRA advertisement agency operating in Tirana, Prishtina and Skopje, Albanian businesses should direct their attention to setting an annual marketing budget. He added that traditional media reaching a specific target audience is still the most reliable channel to relay messages to the audience, but it is noted that in the recent years interest in online and social media has increased.
The advertisement sector marked improvements in 2018, especially as regard television advertising, compared to 2017, when it did poorly. What are your views of the market dynamics?
It is true that television advertising takes the lion share of the marketing budget spent by businesses. Traditional media continues to be more reliable than newer media, which is less controlled.
Increasing or decreasing television and radio marketing budgets are also related to other factors and developments in this country, and this improvement should make us in the industry more optimistic.
What is expected of 2019?
Since setting an annual marketing budget is still not part of the Albanian business culture in general, I expect more attention to be paid to this aspect. Marketing and human resources budgets are the ones that are hurt first from lack of annual planning.These expenses are usually left to chance, but this should change in 2019. Awareness is increasing, but there is much to do still, and I expect Albanian companies to focus more in these two fields this coming year and in the future.
How is the behavior of advertisers changing?
Firstly, the change in behavior is related to the advertisement and messages distribution channels because of audience and technology changes and the times in which we live. As I noted above, traditional media catering to a specific target audience remain the most reliable channels to relay messages. However, both online and social media are increasingly becoming important communication channels for consumers, and with regard to specific strategies, products, and targets.
Secondly, it is very positive that a number of companies have finally clearly included in their strategies the necessity to contract specialized marketing agencies. Businesses that know the value of marketing have become aware that only multidisciplinary creative agencies can provide the adequate and efficient solutions their marketing needs. The agency proposes new concepts and implements them at the right time, not only to maintain, but also increase the added value of the brand.
Because of their culture, other businesses use internal staff to meet their marketing needs, believing that they cut costs this way, while in fact this solution does not always to be the best possible. Thus, because of idea exhaustion and repetition for the same products and services, the people working on marketing within the company may lose productivity with time. Even in marketing, the role of expertise, which means contracting agencies, is being increasingly appreciated and to me this is one of the best behavior changes among advertisers.
What does competition between agencies look like?
I have noticed lack of agreement among experts and agency leaders. The number of agencies in Albania has increased in recent years, but no common understanding has been found to protect the industry we all operate in. We are competitors working hard for personal and quality development, but we have been unable to work together as partners in the industry. One of the things I hope changes this year and in the future, is for all of us to become for forward looking to improve the rules of the game for the common interest. It is unfortunate that we do not have serious inclusive forums or more events where all market stakeholders participate. We need to translate our talent and creativity in something bigger.
Are new advertising agencies expected to enter the market?
We expect business developments and consequently more advertising companies, but this also depends on the macro- and micro-economic situation in the country and the region.
The number of agencies in Albania has increased in recent years, but no common understanding has been found to protect the industry we all operate in. We are competitors working hard for personal and quality development, but we have been unable to work together as partners in the industry.