Great analysts understand people behind numbers being analysed

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The post lunch session of the inaugural edition of the Pitch Analytics in Action conference held in Bangalore saw a 3-member panel with Gagandeep Arora, Country Leader-Industry Solutions, IBM SWG Group ISA, Prabhu Kannan, Director-Digital Commerce Capabilities, SapientNitro, and Bidyut Nath, Head-Customer Loyalty & Analytics, Titan Industries discuss ‘Leveraging analytics for better consumer connect’. Sunder Muthuraman, Managing Partner at Meritus Analytics moderated the session.

Gagandeep Arora, Country Leader-Industry Solutions, IBM SWG Group ISA

Gagandeep Arora, Country Leader-Industry Solutions, IBM SWG Group ISA

Arora addressed the audience first on ‘Transforming through Smarter Commerce’. He cited a survey that IBM conducted close to a year ago of 1,700 CMOs across 64 countries from 5 sectors and 19 industries. The findings were that 79% expect high complexity over the next 5 years and feel under-prepared to manage key changes as a result of data explosion, social media, increasing channel and device choices, and shifting demographies. This signalled three areas of improvement – deliver value to empowered customers, foster lasting connections, capture value and measure results. Customers now have access to unlimited information across social media and their expectations from companies with respect to service, pricing, and product delivery have undergone a paradigm shift making business more complex.

In this era, businesses need to – understand and anticipate customer behaviour and turn insight into action, adapt supply chain based on customer demand and orchestrate seamlessly among trade partners and suppliers, market, sell and fulfil the right product and service at the right price, right time and place, and service customers flawlessly and learn from their behaviour to predict and take action. Successful companies are staying competitive and building consumer connect by leveraging analytics and transforming their approach towards marketing. This is where IBM’s Smarter Commerce comes into play with analytics/technology helping to drive transformation towards this end. Smarter Commerce is a unique approach that increases the value companies generate for their customers, partners and shareholders in a rapidly changing digital world. It is designed to help companies better integrate and more effectively manage their value chain, including buy, market, sell, and service processes to put the customer at the centre of decisions and actions leading to greater customer loyalty, revenue/margin growth and agility. Quantitative and qualitative digital analytics is possible now and has to be integrated with the marketing and commerce portfolio. Brands should look at offering seamless customer experience across multiple interaction channels.

Prabhu Kannan, Director-Digital Commerce Capabilities, SapientNitro

Prabhu Kannan, Director-Digital Commerce Capabilities, SapientNitro

‘Performance Optimisation not Analytics’ was Prabhu Kannan’s take. CMOs want performance optimization to connect with consumers, the question being how to team analysis with creative solutions. Turning analytics into performance is a four step process – capture data through tagging, organise data into information through reporting, analyse information to generate actionable insights, and taking better decisions based on those insights to improve performance. Gains come from analysis and action. He elaborated on the difference between a fact (mere reporting) and insight (understanding through analysis – why?) with an example.

A study by the University of Leicester found that 52 out of 100 burglars wore Reebok Classics at the time of theft. This is a fact. The insight comes from delving into why they wore this particular shoe which came from the police, the experts who understood the context – These shoes are preferred as they are ‘lightest and quietest’. So, context and experience are crucial to consistently generating killer insights. Customers these days provide marketers with information about themselves and in turn, expect marketers to interact with them face-to-face across different mediums. Marketers should have the ability to engage the consumer. How do you nudge them to choose your brand over another? Analytics provides an experiential opportunity as it gives an understanding of how and when to engage the consumer and enables rich segmentation to deliver a personalized experience in real-time.

Analytics is scientific but adoption comes down to faith. If you don’t believe the numbers, you will never put any weight or reliance on them to make any decisions. Accurate and timely data is crucial. The difference between a good analyst and a great one is the kind of insight you manage to generate from the same facts. This insight comes from knowing the context – in-depth understanding of the client’s business, experience, and comparison with previous instances and situations. At the end of the day, analysis deals with people – their behaviours, motives, opportunity, means. Great analysts concentrate on understanding the people behind the numbers they are analysing.

Bidyut Nath, Head-Customer Loyalty & Analytics, Titan Industries

Bidyut Nath, Head-Customer Loyalty & Analytics, Titan Industries

Bidyut Nath shared Tanishq’s case of creating a continued connect with customers. The brand has around 134 stores in close to 100 cities with the aim to reach more than 500 cities. Tanishq has managed to create a very strong bond between the sales staff and customers. In 2007, they launched a loyalty program ‘Anuttara’ which will have 2.5 million members by March this year. The need for customer connect was felt due to 3 factors – 40% customers do not come back after enrolment, jewellery business based very highly on relationship/trust factor, and environmental factors such as the fluctuating gold rate, cheating in quality of gold, and dense competition. Instead of N=1, we believe N=1+ because they mulled over how every single name can be used to empower the retail officer to make that one sale in a remote state. So, instead of viewing our base of 2.5 million members as just vanilla plain, the brand put them into different brackets such as ’18,000 Gujaratis, 31,000 Tamilians, 25,000 members with daughters of marriageable age’ and so on. This allowed personal engagement of RSOs (retail sales officers) with customers. Activities to engage customers included a visit to the Titan factory. Post the factory visit, purchases of customers went up to Rs. 25.66 crores (10.47 studded).

Sunder Muthuraman, Managing Partner at Meritus Analytics

Sunder Muthuraman, Managing Partner at Meritus Analytics

The brand also held large customer meets in small towns to educate them about various aspects of jewellery and garner feedback. Such meets with senior management officials also made them feel special. All this enables transformation of customers into brand ambassadors. The brand also focused on creating social associations through regional/community celebrations and social causes, and celebrating personal moments such as birthday/anniversary celebrations at stores, giving out passes to concerts/movies, sending out new book releases of favourite authors, and customized CDs of members’ favourite singers/actors. None of the campaigns had any financial incentive.

However, the business impact on Tanishq was that repeat contribution went up by 19% and dormancy dropped by 10%. The average bill value today is Rs 1.25 lakh. Stores are differentiating and working on the ‘one customer at a time’ mantra. Thus, it is necessary to marry data to bring out programmes that engage customers. The deciding factor is how much value you can give customers even before they make their purchase.

Pitch Analytics in Action was powered by The Hindu Business Line. Dekhooh was Outdoor Partner for the event, CIOL.com was the Online Partner, Institute for Competitiveness was the Think Tank Partner, Marketelligent was the Knowledge Partner, and 24 Frames Digital was the Webcast Partner.

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