TechManch 2019: Effectiveness of personalisation: Reality or myth?

Ajay Dang, Vishal Subharwal and M Yeshwanth Nag along with Noor Warsia debate

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jun 28, 2019 7:59 AM

In the digital age, personalisation has become one of the biggest trends. Targeting existing customers and future prospective customers through individual tastes and preference is the name of the game. With large amount of data available at their disposal, are brands being able to establish a truly personal brand-consumer relationship or is it crossing the line to becoming an overbearing one?

Moderated by Noor Warsia, Group Editor, Marketing and Advertising, BW Business World, a panel comprising Ajay Dang, Joint Executive President & Head Marketing- Ultratech; Vishal Subharwal, Executive VP & Head of E Commerce & Digital Marketing, HDFC Life; and M Yeshwanth Nag, Founder, The ThickShake Factory; discussed whether the effectiveness of personalisation was a reality or a myth.

Dang began the session on a word of caution, “I think we've got to be a little more restrained and really more cautious about how do we use and where do we use the tool. Nothing bad with digital as a tool. I think the thing is that we all want to step back and remember as marketers that brands and products that we market solve conflicts for people. And in that service, is personalising doing the job or not doing the job is the normal refrain that you need to ask. At times. I think we get overenthusiastic.”

To stress his point on how marketers need to understand how far personalisation works and when it fails, Dang added, “At times, we need to know where to draw the line, and what's coming down. So don't be creepy, because we're largely talking to people. And I think this connection at times is not always there, personalization and relevance is not always there. We've got to step back and remember that we're chasing relevance.”

Taking the debate further, Subharwal was of the view that personalisation was a reality today but it could not been seen in isolation of the human angle.

“In my view, the answer is pretty much simple: personalization is a reality today. But I'm not so sure how to become really, really good at it. But when you look at personalisation, I think we should not look at it in a purest technology sense, there are certain human angles to it.”

Subharwal went on to explain how the insurance industry had benefited from personalisation and summed up his views by saying, “Each industry is different. But I agree that personalisation is here to stay. There's a gap between what is promised. By the time you execute, you have to go through a few roadblocks, and if you can learn from practitioners who have gone through this journey before, it will be a great thing.”

Speaking on personalisation from his experience in the F&B Industry, Nag said, “In the food service industry, it's not about personalising the product every single time but more about personalising the brand for your consumer. So that is very important and relevant. Because if the brand is not personalised to the consumer, it will cease to have relevance.”

Ending his speech on a positive outlook towards personalisation, Nag explained how his company had benefitted from data, on the back of food delivery apps, by helping them understand where they could open new branches.

The session wrapped up on a pertinent note of privacy vis-a vis personalisation. The panellists agreed that personalisation had to be value based and the customer should be able to see the benefits from it.

Moderator Noor Warsia aptly summarised the views of the expert panel by explaining how personalisation was a reality. “Personalisation at scale was still work in progress. It has its benefits, it will generate revenue, give you brand loyalty. However, it cannot be creepy, irrelevant, wastage of marketing budgets and cannot be data before insights. It has to be good personalisation hence individualised experience of your consumer gets better.


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