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Use personalisation to drive sales: Shashi Sinha

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Use personalisation to drive sales: Shashi Sinha

Personalisation at a media agency can drive active sales, said Shashi Sinha, CEO designate of IPG Mediabrands India, while commenting on the theme for IMPACT’s eight anniversary issue ‘The age of personalisation’.

“I am a great believer of personalisation of media. At Lodestar, it is not only about media placement, but also about conversion,” said Sinha.

“For Tata Nano, we track leads of people who are going to buy a car in the near future. We then contact them through a calling programme and send the feeds to a dealer, who converts it into a sale. So it is almost like a CRM programme, but the media agency is doing it. We started off in Bangalore last year, and now it is running in seven big cities. Almost eight per cent of sales of Nano in those cities are coming through us on a monthly basis, which is a very admirable number. This is being monitored at the highest level in Tata Motors, but it is a Lodestar project. So, while people are talking of personalised media, I am talking of personalised sales. It is a very successful pilot project,” he further explained. 

Personalisation is a way of getting into different markets or defining a unique TG, and at the highest and most complicated level. There may be categories such as tea where the packet that goes to every individual state has a different blend, but the same brand name. Many brands have reached out to the pockets of strength by cracking the mix that works to the taste buds of that market...Tata is a pan-India brand but has slightly different blends in different markets.

For a marketer, there is media personalisation, communication personalisation and product personalisation. When Ariel bar was launched by P&G about 18 years ago, it had different ads in different markets. All of it was about the basic benefit of the bar, a great stain-remover. The situation and the context varied. In Tamil Nadu, Mani the driver with ‘puri’ stains on his shirt was very different from the typical West Bengal ‘babu’ getting blood stains on his shirt at a fish market. In Maharashtra, there was the child whose PT teacher wanted to see him in a great white uniform. Each was created with insights about housewives in that particular market.

“The most complex thing is product personalisation, difficult from the inventory and cost management standpoint,” observed Juhi Ramakrishnan, Director, mConsult of GroupM.

Kalyan Jewellers in the South now has an Amitabh Bachchan ad to carry it into the Hindi-speaking markets. In each market, the communication and product are customised. In Tamil Nadu, it is emotion-driven advertising, in Kerala it is more logic-based advertising and the product mix is completely different in each market.

The colas have customised communication to some extent, because they have realised that a North Indian movie star actually doesn’t have the same pull in the South. Even if it is Aamir Khan endorsing Coca-Cola, there is somebody else doing it in the South.

Another example is tailoring. Up to 1995-96, tailoring was very big; ready-made garments were not even 35 per cent to 40 per cent of the overall men’s wardrobe. Then came a wave of ready-mades. Now, tailoring is ‘bespoke’, it has come back in a big way for men with a discerning tag. Brands such as Reid & Taylor have come back. In women’s garments too, there is huge customisation in the mid-segment.

“In almost all stores, companies are focussing on service and that is adding up to personalisation,” says B Nagesh, Vice Chairman, Shoppers Stop.

Brands today are tailoring their efforts like never before. However, marketers must balance their efforts with concerns over consumer privacy as they are awash with more data than they once dreamed possible. Analytics has become a big part of a brand’s journey, as the aim is to cash in on individual behaviour patterns.

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