‘Data and analytical insights are key factors that help brands create marketing moments’
At the recent e4m-Salesforce ‘Moments Made By Marketing' webinar, industry experts discussed how technology is helping brands offer personalised experiences to customers
"We are seeing the world being an altogether different place from what it was since the pandemic has set in. We have witnessed massive shifts in the way we have been living our lives. We have seen that technology has leapfrogged by several years in the last few months, and has actually been at the forefront of driving many of these shifts. This escalation in the adoption of technology has redefined marketing. It has redefined what brands need to do to strengthen themselves and it has had deep and significant implications on how brands need to interact with its customers, and deepen customer engagement", said Ronita Mitra, Founder & Chief Strategist, Brand Eagle Consulting.
To explore the topic, a webinar was held on July 20 as part of exchange4media group's ongoing series called ‘Moments Made By Marketing', sponsored by Salesforce. A panel of experts discussed 'Marketing of Financial Services in a Digital First World'.
The webinar was about how brands today interconnect with consumers through hyper personalized messaging and thereby create a moment made by marketing that elevates the consumer experience in the digital-first world. The financial services sector is built on transparency and hinges on data and technology. However, the deluge of data available to a marketer can impede marketing efforts. Hence, brands seek technology that offers real-time engagement, consumer insights and hyper personalization, which can offer seamless customer engagement across the service lifecycle.
Eminent speakers on this panel were Aalok Bhan, Chief Marketing Officer, Max Life Insurance; Subhasis Ghosh, Joint President & Head Institutional Business, Marketing & Alliances, Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance; Lakshman Velayutham, Chief Marketing Officer, Ujjivan Small Finance Bank; Vishwajit Parashar, Chief Marketing Officer, Bajaj Capital; Aniruddha Joshi, Director Marketing Cloud, Salesforce; and the session was chaired by Ronita Mitra, Founder & Chief Strategist, Brand Eagle Consulting.
The experts dwelled on various aspects of marketing of financial services including the best possible ways for creating a personalised, 360-degree omni-channel communication for customers in the moments that matter, leveraging data to engage with and provide a superior experience to the digital-first customer and more.
According to Alok Bhan, “Data is not something recent. It’s been there with us for almost 10-12 years. However, this time around, the data is identified as the ‘new normal’. Data is the new oil, the way I understand it to be. And therefore, for marketers like us, if we are still sitting on the creative landscape without understanding the data, and becoming some sort of data scientists ourselves, then we are losing out on the moments that consumers are looking for. Along with data, its analytics are very important too. At Maxlife, we've been on this journey for about 10 years. In 2011, we set up a small function called ‘the AI works team.’ We embedded artificial intelligence professionals in our core functions, so they could understand the business and contextualize the need for data. Increasingly, we've been using the marketing analytics, the Google 360 stacks, to create personas for all of our customers, because that's what you need to do. At the end of the day, the objective is to make our business more efficient. We have been able to reduce our cost of acquisition on the online side, at least by 30-40% by using data and by using marketing analytical tools.”
According to Vishwajeet Parashar, “90% of the data was created in the last two years, and 80% of data is still unstructured. I think today, we are in an insight economy, where whatever data you have, you need to have some insights. Otherwise, there's no use of data.”
“In an organization like us, which is five decades old, there is a lot of data which is lying in silos. So how do we use that? How do we get insights out of that? Which media will work, which media will not work with this person? All these kinds of analytics are happening in an organization so that we can evolve from a brick-and-mortar model to a totally digital-first organization where even if somebody enters digitally, we should know, the behaviour, intentions, and the emotions,” he said.
“I completely agree with the fact that data is the core in the business today. So if you don't understand the sensitivity of the client's investment behaviours, and the sensitivities of the markets, you will not be able to offer advice. Therefore, you have to have similar or a ‘wow’ experience. ‘Wow’ experiences are now a given. So you have to deliver something to differentiate… and (show) how you are more relevant in the client’s life, rather than just throwing mailers or bombarding information, which is not relevant,” Parashar added.
According to Aniruddha Joshi, “It is really important that you have the data, as AI builds on top of it. Without data, AI is nothing. When you look at AI, you can't just say ‘What is the automation that I'm going to achieve with the AI? It will always be in these discrete components for marketers. It is supposed to assist the marketer. So what we at Salesforce are doing is that, we are using AI with these discrete components in our tools, so that it assists marketers to take better decisions, or to give better personalization or to give right contextual communication at the right time. These are the things that we are doing.”
“If I have to divide AI into three areas, I would say that one of the areas is marketing where AI is assisting. The second one is related to design or design campaign. It is more like an advisor. It gives a personalized communication to the audience as it is trying to help the marketer in designing better campaigns. The third type of AI is more like a decision system. It is where AI has a list of attributes about all my customers. These are the types of AIs that are available within the Salesforce ecosystem. And these will improve in the future. And for that, data is important. So the marketer doesn't have to be a data scientist, he just has to use the right AI tools to deliver the right contextual messaging,” he said.
According to Lakshman Velayutham, “With the onset of the pandemic, we reached out to all our customers. We were very clear from day one that when we are offering banking services, it goes along with financial literacy plus anything that the customer needs to know. So with the onset of COVID, we reached out to all our customers, we spoke to them about COVID, we had an EMI moratorium, we spoke to them, we educated them. At the same time, we offered them alternate channels, for example, we tied up with local retailers to enable them to go into the shop and pay online. We introduced them to internet and banking services. All our communication is in vernacular. Anything that we do is in 12 languages.”
“So we developed videos on production services and the basics of banking. We realized that you need to give a good reason to the customers and reach out to them. And when you introduce alternate options, customers do tend to pick up these channels and do their payments, especially when it comes to EMI payments. We have also realized that a little bit of guidance, and the willingness to listen and understand their issues and provide relevant solutions, really helped us.”
Subhasis Ghosh said, “At a life insurance company, we come and approach you and ask you that ‘let's take care of your financial planning for the next 20 years.’ Now, in the case of a pandemic, when there are job losses and incomes of people have gone down. At such a time, if I come and ask you, ‘can you commit to a new policy for 20 years,’ you will require a lot more understanding. And I'll also require a lot more understanding of you and your needs and your disposable income so that I can give you genuine advice which is right for you as a customer. Therefore, that requires trust. The advice needs to be based on trust, you have to be trusting me with the details. And trust is a bit difficult to build up in a long term. If it's a journey, then it is fine. Over a period of time you build it up and people move from physical to virtual, it's fine. But when suddenly there's a break. You can't develop trust overnight. So we did a lot of webinars where we talked about certain products of ours. The tricky part was how do you close the deal thereafter? And how do you then ensure that the advice that you get is the right advice. And that’s where people struggled. But it'll be a gradual journey. And we'll see the speed eventually.”
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