Mind your Marketing

Experience is a key driver

| Updated on September 12, 2019

Deepali Naair, Director, Marketing, IBM India & South Asia

This week, we feature Deepali Naair, Director, Marketing, IBM India & South Asia. She is responsible for driving marketing and brand initiatives, strategy and customer relationship management and execution for IBM India and South Asia.

What is the most significant enabler for brands to provide differentiated customer experiences?

Brands are commodities without differentiated experiences. Let us take the example of service brands. In the past, the differentiator came from factors such as faster service, store décor and sometimes even staff-courteousness. Today, technology has made it possible for the service to be faster and customised. Technology has also enabled the staff to be more courteous and personalise the experience for customers.

Hence it is true to assume that technological advances will make it possible for a further differentiated experience. For instance, look at the differentiation that blockchain has brought in through food safety in such a short period of time in the organised Food Retail industry in the US.

‘Customer is king’ – Is this a cliché or is it still relevant for brands?

Brands have always had to be, and will need to be, ‘customer-centric’ to stay competitive. Additionally, the speed for change and the agility will also make a difference. Adoption of technology to offer a differentiated customer experience will be critical too. IBM’s Global C-suite Study in 2018, with 12,854 respondents across 6 C-suite roles, from 112 countries, indicated that two-thirds of the respondents expect organisations to emphasise customer experience over products. This focus on differentiation through customer experience may lead to change in the business model itself. When that happens, brands will need to go back to the basics and think through their core identity.

What do you need to win in the marketplace - better technology or better ideas?

Marketers have been dealing with this question from time immemorial in different forms. When I was younger, the debate was media innovation versus big idea. Today, it is better technology versus better idea. This is an endless debate and both are equally important.

Deepali says
  • My top three marketing mantras

Mobile native, video native and voice native

  • Three words I believe define a hot brand

Profitability, reach, loyalty

  • A powerful ad campaign I liked

The campaigns leading to the launch of Avengers End Game and the homage paid by unrelated brands

What are the three secrets to successful branding?

Can your branding say yes to being mobile native, video native and voice native?

Can a one-size-fits-all approach work in a differentiated market such as India?

The one-size-fits-all approach has already changed in the service industry, which offers the highest degree of customisation today. Consumer goods may have a one-size-fits-all approach due to

manufacturing investments. However, that space will see accelerated change due to the move to Internet of Things and also 3D printing.

Millennials’ way of life – how is this changing the way marketing operates?

All B2C enterprises recognise the importance of these new emerging age cohorts. Millennials and GenZ have different psychographics compared to previous generations and seek greater experience. Hence marketing has the additional mandate to create and augment enhanced customer experience.

Digital, including social media platforms, is best suited to connect to this generation of Millenials and GenZ. We must remember that GenZ are mobile and video native groups, and hence technology design is a critical element of CX for connecting with them. Experience is a key driver, therefore the content published by brands has to boost the experience. More and more brands will become publishers or seek help from publishers to produce brand-content.

What are the specific technologies that have driven these changes?

The changes in the reach and communication strategies have been brought about by the growth in the digital ecosystem with social media and gaming. These digital ecosystems have spread rapidly on the back of core technological progression in the space of AI and Cloud.

This article is part of a brand initiative by The Hindu BusinessLine to profile marketing professionals from across India.

Published on September 12, 2019

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