'If brands don't personalize, they don't have any reason to exist'

Key industry leaders from different sectors discussed the new age of personalized marketing at the e4m-eTechManch Digital Conference

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jun 28, 2021 9:19 AM

On day 2 of the e4m eTechmanch Digital Conference 2021, a panel chaired by Shekhar Banerjee - Chief Client Officer & Office Head ( West) Wavemaker with panellists Ravi Santhanam - CMO, HDFC Bank;  Anurita Chopra, Area Marketing Lead, Oral Health, GSK Consumer Healthcare;  Anuja Mishra -Vice President & Head of Marketing- Godrej  Consumer; Vivek Srivatsa, Head – Marketing, Passenger Vehicle Business Unit, Tata Motors; Alakshit Tripathi - Industry Head - Consumer Packaged Goods, InMobi and Karan Ravindra Jaitapkar- Head of Digital, ABP Network deliberated on the topic 'The new age of Personalised Marketing: Data, Analytics & Customer Insights.'

To set the context, Banerjee shared that a lot of action has been seen in digital marketing in the last 24 months across sectors and with clients like Mondelez, L'Oreal, ITC,  Netflix, Vodafone Idea, Firstcry, or Dream 11 to name a few. He pointed out some major shifts with respect to how marketers unorganized to communicate with this hyper-connected consumer.

“The last 12-16 months has disproportionately accelerated this journey and as a targetable digital audience basically queuing up, most marketing organizations have accelerated the digital transformation with respect to measurement,  tech stack, and consumer value estimation. While the use cases of personalized marketing, ranging from new product development to online fulfilment. One of the most valued use cases, most organizations are chasing today is with precision targeting and personalized communication,” Banerjee pointed out before kicking off the discussion.  

With respect to the banking and finance industry, Santhanam observed that BFSI has a slightly different perspective on personalization. “In my view, if you do not personalize, you don't have any reason to exist. The amount of first-party data that the sector have is phenomenally very high and it's very different from other sectors. In the banking sector, we have their income, expenditure, where they spend,  what they do, and it's also available on a longitudinal time scale. So the ability to put all these things together to get a better profile of understanding of the consumer is the bare minimum that you need to do.”

Agreeing with Santhanam’s opinion, Chopra who heads the marketing of Oral Health at GSK Consumer Healthcare said that they are careful about personal information. “We do cohort-based marketing. A lot of science and data go for cluster mapping. The other cohort, which is critical for us, is what we call the expert base. The consumer needs to believe in the brand to prescribe. It may not be as personal as in the space of banking and financial institutions, but it's certainly personalized in terms of understanding what that particular cohort-based.

Talking about the automobile sector,  Srivatsa shared that the segment has actually been built over the last many decades around standardization, so personalization is the opposite current to follow but an industry they are embracing it. “We are trying to integrate personalization in the products aspect where a customer is able to choose certain elements and we make the car specifically for them. If we don't embrace that personalization, we will never be able to survive.” 

Bringing down to communicating with customers, precision targeting versus broad targeting, there's a cost to doing precision targeting and personalization. “Do we need to be obsessed with personalization? Does it make ROI sense especially because marketers end up spending a lot more extra costs in tech in targeting media deployment? questioned Banerjee. 

Any spends whether that's mass television spend or personalized or precision targeting, Mishra believes that it's fundamentally a function of ROI both short term and long term. “Within FMCG as well we're looking to move up to tiers. There's almost a pyramid of offerings and opportunities and we are going to be tending towards precision marketing and of course, that will vary by categories.”

I think precision targeting itself will have a very different definition and metric for every industry.  FMCG still fairly far away but the more you move towards higher value, products, and categories, and conversions and that is really where your ROI starts to get justified.”

Speaking about the ROI, Tripathi of InMobi said that it depends on industry to industry. He said, “If I look at it as a tech player it's about the economies of scale and scope. So, with more precision, you will start lacking the scale, and as it starts lacking the scale the economies of scale are not going to work, but if you can replicate the same thing that opens up some window for the ROI.” 

He further added, “Top of the funnel is going to be awareness lifting, you might not have such a major change with personalization in the awareness of top of the mind recall of the brand, it is at the bottom of the funnel. Personalization makes a lot of sense when you are looking at the bottom of the funnel then you will look better ROI and do you have right tools to measure that ROI.”

Sharing the view, Jaitapkar said that publishers are the least in that bottom pile are having data, because they don't get any personal information. “We have mostly behavioural data so we can play around with that. So for the longest period of time, you know that people don't consider SEO as personalized marketing. It is mostly the marketing at the end of the day because you're going after the intent of the user on Google. It's keywords and you're going to make sure that these bunch of keyword cohorts you target, and that's a direct transfer to your website and hence conversion.”

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