Pitch CMO Summit: The future is not going to be only personalization: Balaji Prakash

Prakash, Senior Vice President and Head of Sales & Marketing, EID Parrys, spoke about product-oriented personalization, individual-oriented pricing and much more

by exchange4media Staff
Published - Oct 5, 2019 8:32 AM Updated: Oct 5, 2019 9:56 AM
Balaji Prakash

Personalization is increasingly becoming the buzzword in the marketing circle across industries, and brands are embracing the concept over traditional mass marketing. It is being see as the one ingredient that determines whether a brand makes a sale or loses the customer. So, have we reached a stage where personalization is the only future of marketing?

This intriguing question was answered by Balaji Prakash, Senior Vice President and Head of Sales & Marketing, EID Parrys, as he took to the stage at the Pitch CMO Summit Chennai held on Friday.
Speaking on the topic ‘Is personalization the only future of marketing?’, Prakash started the session by highlighting that in the present scenario, personalized marketing or digital marketing is all about shifting the brand ad from TV to the digital medium. “But I don’t think that is digital marketing. There is more to it than shifting your ad from mainline media to narrow scope media. Also there is a lot of confusion about the word ‘personalization’,” he said.

“Whatever is being said about personalization or digitalization is largely from a content and medium perspective, and not from a product perspective. There is a lot of product-oriented personalization that is yet to happen,” Prakash elaborated.

Taking the conversation ahead to the scope of personalization, Prakash said, “The points of personalization that we keep hearing about from people is that it is largely to do with communication. Nobody has given me a product that is personalized to me. They have just sent me communication that is personalized to me, which is the first step in what personalization can become.”

“The second thing is the timing of the content. What happens when someone receives a message where the medium is good, the content is good, but the timing is completely wrong?”

Another point is frequency. How frequently do you want to receive this communication?

“According to me, the ultimate scope of personalization should be in customised products,” he stressed.

Pricing is another area where, Prakash feels, personalization can come in a big way. “Pricing can become a very powerful tool from a personalization perspective for any marketer to decide what he wants to do. So we can move from market-oriented to individual-oriented pricing,” he added.

Talking about the problem for personalization, Prakash said, “One of the biggest gaps that we will face in this area is data collection. One of the biggest challenges that the brands are going to face is the degree of data collection that is needed and how to make data collection extremely non-invasive in nature.”

“Another thing is that the consumer is evolving digitally at a much faster pace than the brands can ever evolve. So the more late one gets into digitization and personalization, the more difficult it will be for the brands to live up to what the consumer is expecting.”

“The other question that every marketer should ask themselves is ‘are we trying to just personalize or are we trying to create a valid business opportunity?’”

Finally coming to the “natural opposing forces to personalization”, Prakash said, “The first one is every brand’s tendency to move towards standardization which gives you cost economics and profitability. The second is less complex system, and the third one is where the consumers are given to say that you are trespassing our privacy.”

Summing up his address, Prakash said, “First, every brand marketer needs to decide whether the business needs personalization. The second is that you need to take your decision keeping the ecosystem in mind because without an ecosystem, whatever personalization you are attempting to do will fall flat. The third one is, always balance your strategy between traditional marketing and personalization. It’s never this or that.”

“The future is not going to be only personalization and zero traditional. So you need to balance your strategy keeping in mind how far you want to walk. You need to start making your walk today. You can’t stay away from personalization and digital marketing,” he said while signing off.

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