MarTech Mumbai: Customer journey should be shaped not just influenced: Panel

At exchange4media MarTech Mumbai 2019, industry experts discussed shaping the connected customer experience, adopting an omnichannel approach, and balancing personalisation with data privacy

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Nov 27, 2019 7:17 AM  | 5 min read
MarTech Panel 2

New forms of connectivity such as mobile or wearable devices allow firms to have frequent, low-friction, customized interactions with their customers. Companies now can anticipate customer needs as they arise, or even before. These technologies make many existing business models more successful, but their real value lies in the fact that they enable new ones. Such new, connected business models can be win-win: customers get a dramatically improved experience, while companies boost operational efficiency.

At exchange4media MarTech Mumbai 2019, an enlightening panel discussion chaired by Apoorv Durga, Research Director & Analyst of Real Story Group, discussed shaping connected customer experience, the challenges faced while adopting an omnichannel approach, the MarTech solutions that companies are making use of while addressing these challenges and how to balance personalised customer experiences in the face of an increasing push for stronger data privacy regulations.

The panel comprised Hitesh Malhotra, Chief Marketing Officer of; Harish Narayanan, Chief Marketing Officer of Myntra Jabong; Sumanta Ray, Group CMO of Narayana Hospitals and Prabhakar Tiwari, Chief Marketing Officer of Angel Broking.

The panel Chair began the session by pointing out that being connected has dimensions; one is on the side of channels, and the other is the devices, and that managing the customer journeys across these channels and devices is challenging. He asked the panel about their omnichannel goals and what are the challenges when adopting an omnichannel.

Sumanta Ray, Group CMO of Narayana Hospitals explained, “Healthcare is an ethical business and Google does not allow e-marketing. Patient data confidentiality is very important. A lot depends on the kind of content a user, or patient or caregiver goes through on their journey before finally accessing healthcare. It's very important to have multi touchpoints on the omnichannel”.

Prabhakar Tiwari, Chief Marketing Officer of Angel Broking spoke about not just influencing the customer journey but also shaping it. He said, “For a long time before Google, marketing was about understanding the customer journey. But today in the BFSI sector, the larger question is about how do we shape the customer journey in such a way that the entire experience is very intuitive and they are able to complete the journey in a single flow. I'll accept that we are in the very first stages of AI and Machine Learning customized usage, but we are seeing excellent results. So the entire focus now is about shaping the customer journey”.

Touching on Myntra Jabong's plans for an omnichannel and the challenges faced while adopting it, Harish Narayanan, said, “The omnichannel is just one part of having a connected consumer and it is about delivering the entire customer experience across channels. The omnichannel is very important to Myntra because of the way we want to enable the customer to experience fashion and lifestyle in the best way possible can happen across channels, not just online. So for us, bringing offline stores online, and bringing the catalogues online makes freshness possible; it increases our selection, so this all will happen when we partner with more offline shops. So we can unlock offline customers and bring them online and vice versa, we can unlock new customers for offline shops. So in that way omnichannel is big for us."

Hitesh Malhotra, CMO of said, “India is a $1.3 trillion retail economy, retail is just the tip of the iceberg right now. The reality of it is that most of the trade is still happening in physical stores in India. Beauty as a category needs a touch and feel element, so that is why we have to have stores, and omnichannel as well. But building omnichannel is not easy. When we talk about Machine Learning and AI, it is also not easy. There are a lot of implications to it. So for a standalone corporation which is basically into retail and not data, it is very challenging right now”.

Tiwari then spoke about the MarTech components used in the BFSI sector. He said, “The digital maturity in BFSI is very high because we have been doing digital marketing for a very long time. When we talk about a connected experience, it's not only about acquiring a customer but also about increasing the value for the customer."

Adding to this, Ray pointed out, “It actually depends on what you want to do with the data than which technology to use. So probably companies will have to invest in technology if they want rich usage of data, and at the rapid pace at which AI and Machine Learning are coming, companies may have to join the bandwagon if they haven't already."

As the discussion turned to the balance of personalisation in a time of increased push for regulations and data privacy, Durga asked how companies deal with these challenges.

Malhotra opined, “I firmly believe that we should take consent from users for their data, but where we are right now in the journey of personalisation, it has not even crossed the basic level. The Indian customer understands the value of their privacy, and if they are giving you their privacy, and you are still not catering to them in the way they want, then they will switch brands."

Narayanan added, “I think it's about intent versus output. Customers are always happy to share their data if it is going to make their purchase experience better. It is in our hands to make sure we don't misuse that data."

Finally, Tiwari explained, “Our focus is to ensure a first-party relationship with the customer. We have to ensure that we are using the customer's data to enhance the value for the customer, so the customer would not mind sharing data, since we will use it to personalise their experiences."

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