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Indian marketers to prioritise innovation in post-Covid world

Amrita Nair-Ghaswalla Mumbai | Updated on May 29, 2020

Customer data sets the stage for empathetic marketing, says Salesforce research

The standards of customer engagement are shifting in a post-Covid world, with Indian marketers prioritising innovation in a radically altered landscape, new research has revealed. Engaging with customers in real time and improving marketing ROI have emerged top priorities for marketers.

With technology driving customer expectations to new heights, the research showed that Indian marketers have emerged as not just messengers, but also engagers who foster meaningful customer relationships well beyond the first purchase.

The research by Salesforce, a customer relationship management (CRM) company, found that though marketers in India, along with the rest of the world, are facing a crisis, business will recover, confidence will increase, and a newfound appreciation for innovation will take root.

Marketers globally also expect the next 10 years to bring a transformational impact for new technologies and societal developments. From a technological standpoint, marketers expect 5G wireless networks to have the greatest impact on their work over the next 10 years, showed the study.

Digital age and data

Digital life has permeated the global population battling the pandemic, For marketers in India, the research showed, augmented reality and voice technology, in addition to an expanded online population, is set to bring transformational impacts by 2030.

For its 6th edition report, Salesforce collected data from nearly 7,000 marketing leaders across the world spanning six continents, including 300 respondents from India.

“The Covid-19 crisis is forcing marketers in India to rethink every aspect of their business, from strategic priorities and challenges, to the technological and team skills they will need, as they navigate getting back to work, and then continue to transform customer experience,” said Sunil Jose, SVP, Salesforce India.

Customer data has also set the stage for empathetic marketing. With customers navigating a series of ‘new normals’, personalised, empathetic engagement has become more important.

The global study showed 78 per cent of marketers describe their customer engagement as data-driven. Marketers are expected to turn to an increasing number of data sources moving forward, with transactional data, declared interests and preferences, and known digital identities termed as particularly popular among these.

Since delivering marketing messages and offers that resonate with an individual’s unique needs and expectations requires deep insights, marketers are changing how they source and manage customer data and ramping up the use of technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) to help them make the most of it.

Data management

Many marketers cite data unification and activation among their top five challenges. The research revealed discontent may be tied to a fragmented data management technology landscape.

Marketers across the world are turning to even more complex combinations of data management technologies in order to build a cohesive understanding of their customers, showed the study.

In India, marketers are expected to go from 20 data sources in 2019 to 25 projected data sources in 2021 and report a 118 per cent increase in AI adoption since 2018, according to the research.

Marketing transformation has also taken on a new urgency. While the expectations and behaviours of consumers, businesses and the society at large are shifting with unprecedented speed and magnitude, marketers are at the forefront having been increasingly tasked to take a leadership role, states the report.

The study showed 87 per cent marketers in India are leading customer experience initiatives across their companies, which involves a combination of both technological and organisational innovation. While innovating is the top priority for marketing leaders, insufficient organisational structure and processes is their top challenge, according to research.

Published on May 29, 2020

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