Differentiation in the era of Technology is short lived says Sandeep Mohapatra, CIO, Axis Securities

Sangram Aglave, Contributing Editor, Businessworld caught up with Sandeep to understand how enterprises can leverage Contextual marketing to win customers for life.

Marketing context is nothing but sending the right message to the right people at the right time using the right channel. What is the significance of real time data in Contextual marketing?

Contextual marketing is a fashionable way of saying that your marketing is targeted. When your marketing has context, it has value.  When there’s value, it’s natural to your audience’s buying journey.   Google stats say the story

  • There has been more than 60% growth in mobile “for me” searches
  • "51% of smartphone users have purchased from a company or brand other than the one they intended to because the information provided was useful."
  • "73% of consumers say that regularly getting useful information from an advertiser is the most important attribute when selecting a brand"
  • "69% of online consumers agree that the quality, timing, or relevance of a company’s message influences their perception of a brand."
  • "61% of smartphone users say they’re more likely to buy from companies whose mobile sites or apps customize information to their location."
  • "67% of users will switch to another site if it takes too many steps to purchase or get desired information."

Why does personalization matter and how it affects customer expectations?

People like different music, watch different genre of movies, prefer different languages, have different styles and philosophies of investing etc. Therefore, personalization is no longer a good to have but a must have features. The first wave of technology reduced the TAT of transaction processing time and now that is a table stake. Any player that does not have it creates customer dissatisfaction. The next wave of technology is all about personalization and customer convenience. Customers of today are exposed to global players that use advanced machine learning to personalize customers experience be it Amazon, Netflix, Uber etc. Therefore, the default customer expectation is to see relevant stuff that pertains to them rather than throwing a menu at them.

Are customers more discerning than ever given that they have multiple choices? How can brands differentiate themselves and what role does personalization play in such a marketing strategy?

Differentiation in the era of technology is rather short-lived and so is customer loyalty. Therefore, it becomes imperative that brands keep innovating to live up to the customers expectation. However, for organizations to adopt personalization, it needs to know what it customers do through historical data (like transaction history, product preference), demographic data (like age, sex, location etc.), app analytics (like what section of the app or portal the client uses), real-time information (like market news or live orders) and customer interactions (call centre or Chatbot NLP interactions). Such data when fed to the recommender engine can provide more relevant info to the users through dashboards, notifications, emails that are real-time and extremely personal to the user.

What should the brands do to convert their shoppers to lifetime customers?

Lifetime customers are becoming a utopian idea in today’s disruptive world when customer brand loyalties are low. Unless a brand remains relevant to the customer especially in terms of convenience of use, lower costs, availability and super great service standards. While it’s possible but it needs organizations to innovate.

How to get the following consumer/customer context’s right while enabling a connected and sentient experience?

  1. Price
  2. Customer feedback
  3. Promotion/upgrade marketing
  4. Assortment (merchandising the proverbial shelf)
  5. Communication channels

Price  In stock markets, some buy small caps while some buy large caps. Some customers buy stocks with lower price bands and some don’t.  Not only with stocks, but there are traders that are brokerage sensitive as well. Getting the past behavior and marrying it with the recent behavior displayed can throw some interesting insights.

Customer feedback – This is probably the most important aspect to creating sentient experiences. Good experiences encourage customers to refer friends or shop more while bad experiences must be caught at the outset with quicker resolution TATs. Traditional 48hrs TATs don’t work anymore.

Promotion/upgrade marketing – Across industry by and large pareto ratio holds where 20% customers give 80% revenues. Finding out those customers and providing them additional promotions or upgrades in the form of services would definitely help in customer retention. 

Assortment– In financial services have largely moved online. Therefore, the presentation of goods / services is moving fast from retail shelves to mobile handsets. If hyper-personalised content is displayed right at the dashboard or home page it helps the customer take faster actions and leads to more business. What you see is what sells most (Jo dikhata hai who bikta hai) holds true and technology today enables us to show different stuff to different people that are personal to them as opposed to physical retail stores. 

Communication channels – Simply put, one should be where the customer is. Data easily tells us the preferred mode of communication with the customer with open rates, click through rates etc. Communicating to the customer in a channel most used by the customer is the simple mantra to reach out effectively.

What are the benefits of bringing content, context and commerce onto a single platform?

Personalized experiences will only come through once the content, context and commerce are in one platform. Most of the organisations are either contemplating or are in the journey of making this happen. As things get connected and more data is available, machine Learning would keep getting better at making relevant recommendations. 


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