e4m MarTech League: 'Brands need to anticipate what customers could ask for'

Industry experts share how brands need to keep the customer at the centre 24X7

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jun 20, 2020 10:23 AM
e4m Martech Fridays

The e4m MarTech League series is a virtual forum that connects forward-thinking marketers with technology, tools, and techniques that are key factors to stay ahead in the ever-changing world of digital marketing. 

The topic that the panellists deliberated on this Friday, June 19 was ‘Communicating with Today’s Always On Consumer.’ The panellists for the virtual session were Roshni Das, Marketing Director, Intel India; Virginia Sharma, Vice President, Brand Solutions, JioSaavn; Nikhil Rastogi, Marketing Director, Dyson; and Sonia Notani, CMO, IndiaFirst Life Insurance. The Session Chair for this webinar was Ahmed Aftab Naqvi, CEO, Co-Founder, Gozoop Online Pvt Ltd. 

Starting off the virtual session, Notani remarked, “I am a digital immigrant but most people are digital natives. We saw an enormous adoption of the technology, it has gone into tier 1 and tier 2 to as well. We need to create a balance between digital natives and immigrants.” 

Talking the rise of digital consumption, Das weighed in: “Due to the fact that many of us are at home, there has been a social and e-commerce upswing. This has allowed many of us to access product marketing on these platforms.” 

Rastogi commented on strategies to connect with the always-on consumer: “New areas are emerging. We recently launched virtual demos for remote locations. It is nothing but giving a virtual demo. The way our lifestyles are and our work-life balance is really mixed up. We now have a lot of requests coming up in the night wanting to take a video demo. There is essentially no notion of a prime time now. People want things on demand. Everybody’s schedule is different and people would like to keep it flexible. Therefore, brands and services have to really be present for their customers on a 24x7  basis which is the new concept of an always-on customer.” 

He added that ‘always-on’ is not always advertising. It is a certain view that a brand or a company needs to take about being useful or providing utility to its customers. “If you are an e-commerce company, then you need to be always on in providing the status of the order delivery, the status of a return that you have picked up, or the status of a financial refund,” he said.

He pointed out that when brands put customers first and try to be of utility, they start to move away only from content, messaging in real context to being in service when customers need it. 

“Brands need to be there all the time anticipating what customers could potentially ask for. So there is a lot of room for data as well in terms of building predictive models and anticipating demand and needs,” he reiterated. 

Sharma shared that Jio Saavn’s strategy has changed in a COVID era. The brand created a playlist of topical 20-second songs for consumers that serve as a “companion” for handwashing or drive the message of stay-at-home. 

“Another thing editorial that has come up with is an all-day streaming playlist of 6 hours with 100 songs where you just leave it on and it’s running all day. That is new as an offering. I feel that brands that have invested in branding for the last few years are the ones benefiting now,” she added. 

Notani spoke how IndiaFirst Life Insurance’s communications were always about certainties. “We actually launched initiatives for digital immigrants. People who have now just come online and need to get comfortable. We also did online marketing and sales for people who were natives who interacted online. One thing that happened during this phase is we saw a massive increase in the percentage of people who are actually wanting to protect themselves and their loved ones. This time our term insurance was 40% of our portfolio and all of this was online directly or through digital channels. That showed us where people are coming from right now. We actually managed to put up digitized processing and engagement online for the typical digital immigrants”, she remarked.

Sharing about what Intel has done differently to interact with the always-on consumer, Das spoke about PC Pathshala, an online university in partnership with the Times Group, for parents, educators, students. 

“Millennials are digital natives; getting them to learn online is less of a challenge. There are parents and teachers who are new educators and now living rooms have become the new classrooms. Parents and educators needed some help to navigate in this uncertainty. The unique part about PC Pathshala is that we have a lot of ESPs, OAMs, and retailers creating a lot of specter of bundles for the audience that is going to come in.” 

Notani then remarked about brands making an effort to be a part of the consumer journey: “We all have a very small attention span and the brand needs to engage more creatively. We partnered with IRCTC and run an interesting captcha question. It worked wonders for digital natives. All our videos have to be really quick and for the first 5 to 30 seconds we need to be at our best.” 

Attention spans of consumers is a crucial factor and often a roadblock for brand communications. Sharma explained how JioSaavn circumvents this issue:

 “You have to always do companion banners and integrations as the customers go through the apps. So what JioSaavn does is we make 15 seconds of audio and for 15 minutes they will actually see the same brand while they are in the app.” 

When it comes to garnering ROI, Das said that brands can no longer look at it in the traditional form anymore. “Today, it is not coming in as an immediate outcome,” she said. “It has to be about data used to sequence the right messaging right now or contextual. We need to look at ROI differently across the marketing stack.” 

Rastogi stated, “ROI is both long term and short term. People are on survival mode and are really going short term in terms of asking hard questions about the investments that they are putting especially on the area of marketing.” 

Notani advised: “Try and be a part of the customers’ journey rather than asking the customer to be a part of yours. If you manage to do that you have anyway won the customer.”

On a parting note, Sharma concluded by sharing her mantra: “Marketing needs to be a service, not an interruption. Right now what we want to do is provide the service of comfort and also lure people in. You have to figure out what is that service that you can deliver at this particular time. People will not forget what you do good, bad, or nothing.   This is a career-defining and also sort of life cycle defining thing for brands and what they do right now.”

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