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Pitch CMO Summit 2018: Challenges of understanding the connected consumer

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Pitch CMO Summit 2018: Challenges of understanding the connected consumer

The connected consumer is new creature. Brand managers these days are trying to find a fine balance between engaging and embracing these consumers who can turn on and damage brands with a single social media post.

At the 10th Pitch CMO Summit, marketers discussed the challenges of interfacing with the connected consumer. A panel comprising Amit Tiwari, VP Marketing, HavellsSiddharth Banerjee, EVP, Marketing, Vodafone; and Bhaskar Choudhuri, Director Marketing, Lenovo; and moderated by Vikram Tanna, VP, Head of Advertising Sales and Business Head Of Regional Clusters, Discovery Communications India, discussed consumer experiences and managing consumer conversations on social media.

In his opening remarks, Tiwari noted that understanding the digitally empowered consumer is very different from understanding the traditional consumer. “Earlier, we used to feel very proud if we had a digital marketing team of five people. But that has changed; today one needs to have digital factories. We need people with mico-specialisations to capture micro moments of the consumer’s journey,” he said.

When asked about his mantra for consumer engagement, Banerjee listed his major learning in three Ps. The first P being Paranoia: While a brand might be doing well and the metrics are looking good, we need to ask do we have a zoom-out perspective on what could be potentially disrupting our brand not 5, 10 or 20 years down the line but potentially even in 12 months. Being constantly paranoid as a business leader leads to inquiry and continuous learning.

The second P, Banerjee said, is ‘Peace’. While digital may have changed the rules of engagement, some solace can be sought in the fact that “basic common sense still applies,” he said. He noted that despite it being the digital era, one needs to understand the disproportionate amount of time that one needs to spend with the consumer and on mining and uncovering insights. 

The third P, he said, is 'Partnerships'. “Partnerships or unsual partnerships are extremely critical to building an ecosystem which can serve to be both a competitive advantage as well as a great source of learning.” He said that most of the best ideas are happening elsewhere. “At Vodafone, we have tried to harness those ideas through a structured intervention called Contech - the confluence of content and technology.”

Speaking about the brand strategies for a digital viewer vs a TV viewer, Choudhuri noted that while in the FMCG category, digital is a nice thing to do, in the tech space like Lenovo, digital is a must have. He said that digital and especially e-commerce has altered the consumer decision journey significantly; the brand choices for the consumer expand in the middle of the journey and the funnel has turned into a barrel. He cautioned that media affinity should not lead marketers to divvying up spends as per affinity. 

“What we are discovering is that while a disproportionate amount of time is spent on digital, TV remains far more effective. That’s bane of our times, because we mistake measurement for effectiveness.”

Watch the entire discussion here:

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