Pitch CMO Summit: Time to curate personalised services, say industry experts

Marketing experts share insights on how they use data & technology in providing personalised experience to consumers, and the challenges they face

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Mar 8, 2019 8:28 AM

At the Pitch CMO panel discussion on the changing market ecosystem, Kashyap Vadapalli, Chief Marketing Officer, Pepperfry.com was the moderator of the panel discussion - ‘Consumers prefer ‘Me’ over ‘Us’. 

In his opening remarks Vadapali said: “Today marketers look at different segments and different platforms. There is a personal learning journey that organisations are on, in terms of personalisation. They want to know what they are going after in terms of segmentation.” 

Individualisation has become a mandate for companies to market their product or service. “There are two large movements that are forcing us to behave in a certain way. Firstly, technology has many aspects. Whether it is to track consumers or collect their data. Some are not really following the consumer but trying to catch up with technology. Secondly, the consumer is evolving. Their mindsets are changing, people are living their lives on digital platforms. There is a big digital footprint to keep track of consumers. Today there is fragmentation of information based on what the consumer wants and therefore the individual is at the forefront,” Kashyap said.

A diverse panel from publishing, financing, restaurants and consumer durables industries gave the audience at the event a different perspective on the context of personalisation.

Customisation of a product and making it relevant 
Sathya Sriram, AVP, Marketing and Strategy, The Hindu Group, said: “The Hindu is in the profession of journalism that means providing credible journalism to the genuine reader. Everything that we put out and market is for that genuine reader. Our vision is to be the preferred choice of a genuine reader. Digital makes this easier and that's where we have invested. We have a PDF version of the paper and it's on a paywall. We are experimenting with the thehindu.com and the paywall and how to market in the digital form.” 

“There is a difference between individualisation and personalization. Just having a salutation followed by a person's is not personalisation. A lot of brands feel that they have personalised their emails and information. However, that is not the way it is done. There is a lot of discussion about big data and how data is the oil. But sometimes unstructured data is converted into structured data and used for marketing. The vision for my organisation is to start conversing and engaging with my consumers. I want to know what the customer wants and then deliver the same, for me that is personalisation,” said Parag Murudkar, Group Executive Vice President at Yes BANK.

Arvind R P, Director - Marketing & Communications, Hardcastle Restaurants (McDonald's - West & South India) said, “At Mcdonald's, we have personalisation through engagement. Our mission is to deliver a personalised consumer experience at our stores. In 10 per cent of our stores, we have dived into the future where customers get to order their food through a technological screen and personalise their food. The consumer gets to browse our whole menu and it is a profitable tactic for both the consumer and us as the marketer, as we know what products are doing well.”

“Our mission is to mend personalised value propositions and also the customer life cycle value as well. Instead of focusing on LED and then moving on to the newer segments, we are focusing on newer segments that are attracting the young consumers like personal care and mobile accessories and then tracing it back to LED,” said Amit Sethiya, Head of Marketing, Syska Group.

Understanding the consumer
Explaining how to approach consumers, Sethiya further said, “We have started a programme where we go and approach the consumers and help them to plan their entire life requirement. We customise their lighting based on their lifestyle. The core proposition of this initiative is heat saving but we have graduated to multi-functionality wherein the product is smaller and smatter with these IOD enabled lights. Now we are giving the consumer the option to choose these energy saving lights. These lights can be app-controlled and we can figure out who is consuming the product. However, when it comes to the voice-controller part, I know that my partners will not give me enough data which will complete our personalisation.”

On the challenges, Arvind said: “We stopped collecting customer information because we realised customers come into the store with a different context. We have seen that people react to personalisation very differently and if that is the condition for ordering, that could become a barrier. A few years back people were happy to share their mobile numbers, today many think twice before doing so and this trajectory will only change. When it is an online delivery, the customer has a clear need to share their information. We are playing this in a dual lens and seeing how things will unfold.”

“30 per cent of our consumer's data is uncontactable. With the GDPR coming into place in India, we do not know how much of the data will be useable. If the regulations are strict, then the data collected will not be put on any database. We need a set of data scientists with advanced technology for data mining. It should be a long time vision and the investment should not be for a short period. Brands have taken a step back because of the cost of investment in hiring these teams,” Murudkar concluded.

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