Gone are the days when customers were defined on the basis of mere demographics or numbers. Brands are now placing customers at the very heart of their mission, with the intent of building a stronger and deeper relationship, and data is turning out to be a brand’s most important toolk it, says Shashi Seth, Senior Vice-President, Oracle Marketing Cloud, Oracle.

Brands that use data can cultivate long-lasting customer connections and transcend traditional consumer demographics, says Seth, to address the individual needs of their audience. “For example, in the insurance sector, one has to be aware of all the life stages of the customer,” says Seth. Is this a person who just graduated from college? Is this his/her first job? Are the people living in an apartment? Are they about to move from one city to another? Are they going to buy a house? Are they just engaged and about to get married or do they plan to have their first child?

Potential challenges

For an insurance company, Seth says each of these are potential opportunities and challenges.

“If a consumer has already made up his mind to buy life insurance and, say, X company is not there in front of him, he will probably go somewhere else, say, to Y. And once that decision is made, the customer’s relation is with Y company, not with X any more,” he adds.

To help curtail such a situation, the official says data can be utilised to offer the personalised experience that customers demand. However, to do this in an authentic way, a brand needs to look at several data points and deliver known and unknown insights, both from the ‘AdTech’ and ‘MarTech’ systems.

Seth insists corporates and business leaders are using data to understand and analyse the challenges that they face. He adds, even at Oracle, one of the important strategic changes made in the marketing automation world was to focus on data and intelligence.

Knowing the customers

Speaking to BusinessLine on the sidelines of an event in Mumbai about Oracle's decision to pivot, Seth says, “We are a 40-year-old company founded on data. Even today, we are a database company and host a lot of data for our customers, either in the database or in the apps.”

The company embarked on a journey — CX Unity — to enable organisations to provide personalised and contextual experiences across all customer interactions. “It basically gives companies the capability to know and understand all the details about their customers — every interaction, every product that was sold and every problem that was recorded,” says Seth.

Oracle then pivoted several of its products to provide help with that data, “so that marketers can do their jobs a lot easier, spending less time running their marketing campaigns on personalisations, recommendations or discounting strategies.”