Personalizing at scale is imperative today: Deepak Iyer

Iyer, President-India at Mondelez International, emphasized how companies should establish a digital council and reskill teams to stay ahead of the curve In his keynote session at e4m eTechManch

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jun 25, 2021 10:08 AM
deepak iyer

Building a Data and Digital Enterprise has never been more important than it is today, especially when the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation. Keeping its relevance of that in mind, Deepak Iyer – President –India  Mondelez International got talking about successfully scaling up a digital enterprise, in his keynote at e4m eTechManch Digital Conference.

Iyer firstly reasoned why it's essential to think of building a data and digital enterprise. “If you take a closer look at what's happening around us today, we realize that there are tectonic shifts happening in consumer behaviour. They are shopping more and more online. The retail landscape is changing with e-commerce and social commerce really taking centre stage. 

All these have serious implications on our business. Today, our businesses could have competitive advantages stemming from powerful brands, expansive distribution networks, the ability to manufacture complex products at scale, and housing the best talent. Here data and digital could emerge as a bigger competitive advantage and hence it becomes essential to build a business with tech data and digital data at the heart of it,” he explained.

Moreover, Iyer spoke of how several brands are struggling to ramp it up fast enough to keep pace with the rapid changes and building a digital culture. Sharing some insights from Mondelez, he advised that looking for inspiration from the outside is essential. “Think of learning from industries, companies, consultants who are exceptional at what they do and yet not 10-20 years ahead of you. In our case, visits to innovation centres, attending conferences organized by experts help us immensely,” he suggested. 

Iyer spoke of the rise of the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) and why several companies employing the structure have failed. “The fallacy here is that digital then becomes the onus of the CDO. The intrinsic assumption is that one is expecting the CDO to do the job of what the CEO and the leadership team can actually do better, which is inspiring the teams and their functions to adopt digital ways. A maverick CEO can surely do that next but others will fall back on the leadership team to do this. What worked for us, at Mondelez is working on it with a bunch of digital ambassadors, I call them digital evangelists- with a CEO on our leadership team,” he explained.

He expounded on the importance of hyper-personalizing ads at scale by giving the example of Not just the Cadbury ad campaign done by the brand, last Diwali. The brand designed a truly unique real-time data experience in a Cadbury ad where it advertised not just for itself but also for thousands of small businesses across India. 

“To be able to personalize at scale is imperative today. After COVID wave one, we realized that small retailers desperately needed some business. So marketing teams and agencies thought of serving a personalized ad to consumers,” he shared. The displayed small stores in the ad changed based on the location in which the ad was being viewed. Therefore, a person viewing the ad in Pune would be guided to small stores in Pune, in their vicinity. Similarly, a person in Mumbai or Delhi would see the names of the small stores in his vicinity.  

In short, Cadbury custom-designed hundreds of versions of the same ad, with the relevant geo-targeting based on pin codes. And developed an algorithm that served an ad customized to the viewer based on their geo-location. In order to execute this multi-platform activation campaign, Cadbury reached out to 1800+ local retailers across 260+ pin codes in Mumbai, Delhi, Lucknow, Indore & Pune.  

Lastly, Iyer emphasized how companies can have a digital council in place and should start reskilling their teams in order to stay ahead of the curve. “Our teams at Mondelez started going on learning courses for inspiration together, with each of us taking one clear objective on data digital goals. To win, you need to scale your teams with proper training programs. Also, keep launching MVPs minimum viable products. Some will work, some will fail but keep at it,” he opined.

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