Returning to the ground after a gap of three years, the Delhi edition of the exchange4media Group Pitch CMO Summit 2022, saw marketing leadership from across the country and beyond share interesting insights on ‘Marketing In A Data-First World’. Among the stimulating discussions was one on ‘Building Omnichannel Personalisation Using Data’. The panellists delved into how brands could utilize available data to formulate and successfully leverage an omnichannel strategy to be accessible to consumers across all possible avenues and touchpoints.
On the panel were Amit Gujral, CMO, JK Tyre & Industries; Nikhil Gupta, Head of Marketing & Integrated Communications and Commercial Operations, South Asia, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting); Parth Joshi, CMO, BharatPe; Rahul Talwar, SVP & Chief Marketing Officer, Max Life Insurance; and Sidhharth Dabhade, Managing Director, India, China & SAARC, MiQ. Dr. Vibha Arora, Associate Dean, ICFAI Business School (IBS), Gurgaon was the Session Chair.
Speaking about the evolution of marketing over the last 50-odd years, Arora observed that the industry had moved from mass marketing to segment marketing to customer marketing and now to ‘relevant marketing’. “When we talk about relevant marketing, we mean immersive consumer experiences. In the context of retailing, we have moved from single channels to multiple channels to omnichannels.”
She also spoke about how the dynamics of marketing and purchasing had changed, with sellers and buyers doing both ‘web-rooming’ and ‘show-rooming’, the former being consumers selecting products online and then buying them from the physical store, and the latter being selecting the product at the store and then purchasing them online, all for the best deal.
Starting the discussion by addressing how technology and data had changed the business for JK Tyres, as a company offering both products and services, Gujral noted that in today’s world everyone was tech-obsessed. “Every interaction, every behaviour you have is impacted by tech, and this is purely because of the convenience of tech aids. Tech is present in everything, from lighting to tyres to insurance,” said Gujral, referring to apps that you could use to control the ambient lighting, intensity and other aspects of your bulbs or how all the hassles that used to earlier go into buying insurance had been largely replaced by the clicking of some buttons on your phone.
“Similarly, given that the world runs on tyres, today we have J&K Smart Tyres. They are connected, like everything else, to an app on your phone and keep you apprised of your tyre pressure and other necessary information,” said Gujral, adding that technology had also enabled to company to streamline its after-sales experience so as to always be able to satisfy a customer’s needs, cutting down on complaint resolution times as well as being able to reach customers in the most remote of destinations.
Speaking of lighting, Gupta also asserted the role that tech plays in today’s world, pointing out that for all marketers, 2020-2021 was a tipping point. “We saw more and more people moving more, if not most, of their money into digital marketing. And because sales were impacted, marketing budgets were impacted. Big TV campaigns and on-the-ground marketing were heavily pulled back and we had to rely on digital marketing to reach out to people in their homes,” said Gupta. This is where omnichannel and data-driven marketing really came into use as marketers realized it was the easiest way to reach consumers, he added.
At Signify (previously Phillips Lighting), our business is largely split 50-50 between B2B and B2C. Earlier our B2B clients used to be redirected to our franchisees on their sites, but when we started our omnichannel approach and laid out the customers’ entire journey for them, we saw that our response went up 56%, and so we realised we could do a lot with our digital budgets,” explains Gupta, adding that data analysis also proved useful in B2C clients, as they could identify and target people who had shown recent interest in Signify products, which was twice as impactful than targeting people who had been interested earlier.
Speaking about the role that data played in customer acquisition and retention, BharatPe’s Joshi said it was vital for brands to know their first principles: to know their consumers while also being able to solve their problems for them.
“What data allows you to do is ascribe the problem so you can ideate on that. And then, whichever way you approach it, whether online or offline, whether it’s a product, as long as you keep that first principle in mind, you’ll be able to solve the issues, and have a happy customer. Happy customers have a higher lifetime value and will be willing to spend more revenue on you, and that’s how you build a fantastic business.”
Delving into how, as a business, Max Life Insurance had gone from ‘talking to a client’ to ‘talking with a client’, Talwar noted that insurance was different from other products and services as there were huge human elements to it.
“On one end we have all the data in all the terms (data analytics, data lakes, etc) and on the other side is the traditional, the personal. And that’s because our category of product and service is not short-lived, the average span of a relationship we have with customers is anywhere between 10-40 years, depending on when you’ve picked up your insurance," said Tawlar. "So while data picks all that up, data exists alongside a humanizing component in this journey. And because of the length of the transaction journey in life insurance, we have to be able to keep engaged with customers and be able to retain them. And that is important so that in case any unforeseen circumstance happens, you can help their families.”
Speaking further on the difference between speaking to and speaking with, Talwar said, “The heart of the business lies in the word ‘customer’ and if you remove the ‘c’ and ‘r’, you’re left with ‘us to me’. The answer over there for a category called life insurance very clearly is that it’s the power of a segment of one. Customers don’t want to be put in a box, and while you may categorize them for official purposes and segmentation, you need to have a personal one-on-one relationship with them, because at some point in time, while dealing with the person or their family about your product, the person who originally purchased that product may not be there.”
Speaking about media optimization and how brands can deal with customer interactions and transactions across different channels, both digital and physical, Dabhade said, while noting that MiQ was a successful unicorn operating across 30 countries, that the company has one of the world’s largest data lakes as it collects data from over 200 data sources across the countries it is present in, and that is the power of technology.
“All businesses have data, in technical terms called first-party data. It’s very important for companies to use their own data as well as use technology to collect data from other sources. And it is critical to collect and use third-party data to answer questions like ‘who is my consumer, ‘where are they’, and ‘how do I best reach out to them’? This helps you to figure out which is the best context to reach out to them in so that your message resonates with them in a very nice way,” he said, adding it’s also important to remember it’s a two-way communication and brands need to be receptive to their customers’ needs and feedback.