Mind your Marketing

GenZ has a deep, universal understanding of technology and its potential to transform how we work and live.

| Updated on January 02, 2020

Ritu Gupta, Marketing Director, Dell India

This week, we are in conversation with Ritu Gupta, Marketing Director, Dell India. With over 20 years of experience across various marketing functions such as consumer insights, brand management, product management, new product development and innovation across FMCG, retail banking and consumer durables, she specialises in new product development, brand and product management, advertising, market research, CRM, and leading big marketing teams. 


Have millennials and GenZ transformed the way businesses approach marketing?

Millennials and GenZ are shaping the future of marketing. India has the world’s largest population of young people and they constitute a crucial consumer group for most brands, directly influencing the way brands approach marketing these days. 


When marketing to millennials and GenZ, traditional approaches alone will not be as effective. Digital tools and platform must be leveraged by including them in the marketing mix. The narrative has also changed. Marketers need to speak the language of millennials and GenZ, rather than just convey what the brand wants to say. The story is also no longer a monologue, but a two-way communication. Brands need to understand what the audience wants to hear, how it is relevant to them, and integrate that into their marketing initiatives. 


Marketing to this young audience must also be on their terms, through platforms and channels that they most prefer, such as social media and video content. Millennials and GenZ are always on the go, and they love consuming different kinds of content. Hence, it becomes imperative for brands to understand these preferences and tailor their marketing strategy accordingly.  


What are the best ways to connect with and sell to these groups?

It is essential to understand that these generational segments view brands as a form of self-expression. Brands can no longer sell to them; millennials and GenZ have to buy into the brand. The best way to connect with them is to be present on the same platforms where they are and speak about what brings value to them. A key differentiator among brands is how they create value for this audience. 


A few generations earlier, there were not as many brands as there are today, so it was easier for brands to sell to their audience. Today, millennials and GenZ are spoilt for choice, surrounded by a huge number of brands and categories. Consequently their attention span is very short, and they are distracted. The best way for brands to navigate this clutter is to connect with their value system, speak their language, demonstrate how the brand adds value to their lives, and be present on the same channels as they are.


According to global research commissioned by Dell Technologies, GenZ has a deep, universal understanding of technology and its potential to transform the way we work and live. Having grown up as digital natives, most of GenZ have confidence in their technical prowess. In APJ (the Asia Pacific and Japan), 70 per cent rate their technology literacy as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. Hence brands have to increase their digital presence and engagement to reach this audience effectively.


 What are the specific technologies that have driven these changes?

Increased mobile penetration, affordable internet data, and the amplified consumption and use of social media, have driven the evolution of how marketers engage with millennial and GenZ audiences.



Ritu says…

a)  We want to focus on cross-customer acquisition as well as adopting an omnichannel presence for better customer engagement and experience.

b)  I will give you four: Artificial intelligence, marketing technology (martech), omnichannel and disruption.

c)  Disruptive, innovative and fun

d)  #KeralaIsOpen by Samsonite which urges travellers to come together to revive tourism in Kerala after floods had ravaged the State.



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

Winning in the marketplace needs a combination of both better ideas and better technology. While a better idea can help differentiate a brand in the market, superior technology can undoubtedly give the brand an edge over the competition. However, in isolation, neither are enough since they will only give the brand a first-mover advantage, as both ideas and technology can be replicated. Therefore, it is vital to have a great idea thriving on superior technology.


What makes customer experiences the differentiator of the future?    

A customer’s relationship with the brand is a huge differentiator. Earlier, this used to be driven predominantly by marketing and advertising, and it was easy to foster these relationships. Now, there are far wider choices among brands as compared to those available to earlier generations.


Today, brands are also more confident in their offerings. They rely on customer experiences, to the extent that if a customer wants to explore a competitor’s offerings, brands that are confident of their strengths know that the customer will soon be back in their fold. What brings these customers back is their experience with the brand, which competitors may find hard to replicate. 


How do you bridge the gap between expectation and experience? 

Consistent engagement with customers to derive insights and implementing them wherever relevant is key to bridging this gap. Social media is today a big part of consumers’ lives and an enabler for consumer brands. 


Social listening is an important part of understanding the customer experience. World over, and including India, at Dell, we have one of the largest social listening teams and have made significant investments in that area. Since everything that we do at Dell is kept with the customers in mind, we are continually listening to what they say on multiple social platforms and taking feedback. Using social listening, we can understand our customer’s needs and expectations. With these insights, we can deliver enhanced product or service experiences.


What does it take for brands to stay competitive in today's dynamic economy and market?

At Dell, we believe in having the right product in the right place with the right differentiator, whether it is the experience or technology. To stay competitive, brands must have a loyal customer base because this can give them an edge against their biggest competitors.


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

Unlike in other countries, for a country as diverse as India, ‘a one-size-fits-all approach’ doesn’t always apply. Brands need to identify their target audience and curate branding initiatives and campaigns that resonate with them. In the end, it is all about differentiating one’s brand, and adding value to consumers’ lives while retaining the brand’s core values. 


Why and how should brands think local? 

India is an ethnically diverse country. Every State is unique, and so is each city within it. As such, it is important to think local. At Dell, we tailor our communications and marketing outreach during regional festivals to suit the State and the festival. For example, during Ugadi in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, and Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra, we roll out promos and offers specific to these markets.


How do you approach markets in the south when it comes to branding and consumer engagement?

When it comes to tech and adoption, while we cannot categorise it in terms of South India versus North India, we do see great potential in these markets, and our marketing activities are curated to suit local trends. For instance, we believe that small businesses are flourishing in the South, and Dell opened its first-ever small business solution centre in Bengaluru. It is interesting to note that this is also Dell’s first-ever small business solution centre in the world.


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


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Published on January 02, 2020
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