Decoding the Crazy and Almighty Customers
Spoilt for choice, gaining the customer's loyalty and predicting their next need is the marketer’s challenge, say experts
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In the ever evolving marketplace, the consumer is all powerful and the all-seeing eye whose demands and needs are unique as they are diverse. Marketers have just one brief: know your crazy customer, give her what she wants. At the launch of the 13th edition of the BW Businessworld Marketing Whitebook, marketers put their heads together to decode the customer of today and how to stay ahead of them.
Spoilt for choice, gaining the customer's loyalty and predicting their next need is the marketer’s challenge, experts said. Speaking about the importance of truly knowing your customer, Abhijit Shah, Head of Marketing, Digital and Customer Experience, ICICI Prudential AMC, said that knowing the customer is generally associated only with KYC forms and documents but what is needed is knowing customers end to end. “We spend a lot of time trying to get to know our customer and their preferences. We focus not only on the end consumer but also on knowing what works for the distribution manager, mutual fund manager etc. and then building a strategy accordingly.”
Consumers have always been the king in the FMCG segment but understanding them is a layered process where analysis of the customer is one part and knowing them at a granular level is another. “The best marketers are those who understand customers as individuals first,” felt Prashant Peres, Director, Marketing, Mondelez, India. That will help brands to fit products to suit the needs of the consumer, he said. Marco Valsecchi, CFO, Adecco Group India, said that keeping up with the needs of the consumer is the challenge. “They want everything done yesterday.”
Neena Dasgupta, Founder CEO, Zirca Digital Solutions, said that because of the explosion in terms of knowledge and product, the biggest question on the minds of marketers is: has my customer evolved and changed overnight. “What one needs to know is if marketers are able to capture the shifting patterns of the customers and where their loyalty lies.”
Responding to a question about how to understand the toughest segment of customers - millennials, Peres said that calling them millennials makes them a distant idea that marketers don't understand. “We just call them consumers. We need to rewind the clock and think of ourselves in those situations to understand them,” he said. Shah feels that the millennials are a key segment that is aware, in control of what it wants, and better connected to peers than ever.
All the panelists agreed that data is helping to keep up with the changes in a customer's mind better. Peres noted that organizationally Mondelez is not yet fully equipped to move quickly enough with the kind of data that is flowing in. “The good news is that you keep getting better as you push the boundaries and see the results as well very quickly.”
Speaking about making brands meaningful and staying relevant in the competitive landscape, Valsecchi pointed out that authenticity, transparency and social responsibility are key factors in building the brand. Dasgupta said that brands need to solve unique problems and keep evolving even after solving that problem. Peres felt that brand positioning is key to staying meaningful and remembered.
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