BW Summit: Industry heads debate on the need for personalisation in marketing

The debate was moderated by Vikram Sakhuja of Madison Media; participants included Satish NS, Haier Appliances; Laxman Tari, Legrand India; Akash Deep Batra, DBS Bank & Krishnarao S Buddha, Parle

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Aug 30, 2019 9:08 AM

The 15th edition of the BW Businessworld Marketing Whitebook Summit 2019, held in Mumbai on Thursday, witnessed a debate among marketers on how personalisation at scale has been making a difference to brands and marketers.

The discussion highlighted the pros and cons of personalisation with every speaker sharing their own views.

The participants in favour of the motion were Satish NS, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Haier Appliances India and Laxman Tari, Head Marketing Communication and Brand Management, Legrand India. Whereas, Akash Deep Batra, Head - Marketing, Consumer Banking, DBS Bank India and Krishnarao S Buddha, Senior Category Head - Marketing, Parle Group, were speaking against the motion.

The debate was moderated by Vikram Sakhuja, Group CEO, Madison Media & OOH.

Satish NS began the debate stating: “78% of people would prefer to buy a product from a retailer, whether online or offline. 64% of the respondents in a survey said they chose the product on the basis of a past purchase and 63% of the people don’t like getting regular emails. Privatisation from both sides is a need - the question is how do we collect the data. How many times do we bother and invade his or her privacy. If we are able to control this, then messaging plays a key role. The power lies in recommendations.”

Sakhuja had a question for the group that in the next one year what proportion of marketing spend would cater to personalisation. Satish replied saying, “Currently, we use 5% of our marketing spends for the digital medium and probably by the next year we will shift it to 20%.”

Questioning this point of view was Akash Deep Batra who said: “Personalisation should not be confused with digital marketing in general or considered to be digital as a channel gives personalisation. Amazon, Google, Facebook and other platforms give amazing amount of personalisation based on consumer behaviour. The important point here is that it’s a fairly controlled environment, where you’ve all the information about your customers. Personalisation is real, but definitely it’s not here yet and will take a lot of time for the industry to adopt this and make it useful.”

Speaking in favour of personalisation, Laxman Tari, said: “I believe personalisation is a natural growth and for marketers it has already arrived and we have to tackle it. We evolved as a B2B business, but now we are a consumer-centric organization. Even now we are shifting to B2M, which is marketing for individual consumers, understanding your consumers better and strategising communication for them. Brands are building personalisation through their products, which is opening more business. So, personalisation is already here, we as consumers are moving from TV to OTT platforms, looking for personal content as per the requirements.”

On his part, Krishnarao S Buddha said, “As a marketer I’m excited about personalisation, but as a part of the FMCG segment it’s not really happening. It would be a dream if I could address crores of my consumers with personalised products. I believe there’s a lot of time to make it a reality and even though it is coming, it’s in very small categories like e-commerce, travel portals and insurance. Also, there are lot of limitations in personalisation like data privacy and GDPR and this becomes bad personalisation many a times. Brands are focusing on digital media since the time data has become cheap. Despite this most of the marketing spends have been restricted to the good old traditional mediums.”

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