Marketing turning cross-functional as customers seek personalised service

AAccording to the fifth Salesforce State of Marketing report released on Thursday, 59 per cent Indian marketers are engaging with their customers across one or more marketing channel in real time.

With unprecedented choice and access to information, today’s customers demand an overall experience that matches their standards for product quality. High-performing marketers set themselves apart by not only delivering the right message on the right channel at the right time, but by leading customer experience initiatives across their broader organizations.

For example, Godrej Group’s Consumer Product group, has been listening to its customers, analysing conversations, and responding in a whole new way in order to fit in their 120-year-old legacy into the digital world. A team tracks what customers are saying and the content they are consuming, the data collected is not restricted to the group’s own brands or product categories. This would not have been possible in the past when television was the only audio-visual customer engagement platform for brands.

“We now know if customers are talking about us on Facebook, Twitter, or blog sites and what they are saying,” said Pankaj Parihar, vice president and head of digital marketing, Godrej Group’s Consumer Product Group. This enables brands to respond instantly to customer concerns, something that nearly everyone across all age and gender demographics has come to expect today. “We can quickly escalate issues to the right department and respond within 24 hours or less. In the past, we had no easy way to track these conversations and it could take us a few days to respond,” he said.

Take the quick service restaurant chain KFC that runs 350+ restaurants across India. It has been a challenge to keep customers engaged and happy, especially with new delivery apps in the region investing heavily in expanding their footprint.

“The restaurant industry in India is hyper-competitive, and as our customers experiment with different outlets and new apps, we need to ensure we are able to understand individual customer needs and preferences to provide them offerings that are highly relevant,” said Moksh Chopra, CMO, KFC India. In the past, we would send out the same communication to everyone in our database whereas now communications are contextualised based on consumption and spending habits.

While digital is an inescapable and valuable part of the marketing journey today, companies must have a single view of their customer across the different channels of engagement. For example, if a customer has an open complaint with the customer service team, you don’t want to send marketing e-mails or messages about the same service. At the fourteenth IAMAI marketing conclave many marketers argued that there isn’t enough integration on the database level for businesses to maintain such hygiene yet and for companies that aren’t born digital, this journey takes a minimum of two to three years.

“It’s very easy for a company to have a digital presence through social media and online ad presence but it is much more difficult to actually integrate data and customer experience from different touch points which few customers have,” says Rajiv Dhingra, CEO and founder, WATConsult, a digital agency.

India insights

— Marketing leads customer experience initiatives across businesses, say 46% of marketers

— There is growing integration between marketing and advertising fucntions say 93% of marketers

— Personalisation is a big winner according to 94% of marketers 

— While marketers are using multiple sources of data, 54% of marketers report having a completely unified view of customer data sources

— Marketers are engaging more closely across multiple channels with customers in real time say 59% of marketers
Terms of engagement 

As consumers get more exacting and data permeates every aspect of the business, marketing demands a new playbook

— Marketing is getting more cross-functional. Nearly half (45%) of marketing  leaders say their organisation is leading customer experience initiatives across the business, up from 24% in 2017

— Not every engagement has been smooth though, creating omnichannel experiences is still a big challenge because only 47% of marketers said there was a free and open flow of customer data between marketing and commerce teams

— Marketers need to engage more closely with decision making at the point of purchase as customers demand personalisation, 69% of business buyers expect ‘Amazon-like’ buying experiences — such as personalised recommendations

— Not enough coordination between marketing and customer service teams; even though 55% of marketing teams collaborate with service teams to manage and respond to inquiries and issues over social media, only about one-third of marketing teams suppress marketing messages to potentially unhappy customers with open service issues

— Marketers are turning to myriad types and sources of data but using disconnected data paints an incomplete picture. The median number of data sources used by marketers is forecast to jump from 12 in 2018 to 15 in 2019

— Use of second-party data — that which is shared between consenting parties like brands and publishers to extend audiences and refine targeting — has seen a 19% growth rate since 2017

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