What’s On

Of big data, marketing and ‘Jugaad’

US Universities are now following a heavily quant approach to marketing. This is in tune with the fact that Big Data is a big trend in US. Of late, we have seen a lot of discussion on data and big data. But where are we on this front? And where are we headed?

First things first, driven by the rapid changing environment due to multiple factors, emerging economies like India, tend to be far more reactive than planned. And, classically data driven approach needs integrating internal and external and online and offline data, and evolve a way of working encompassing sales, mass marketing, loyalty and digital with strong analytics guided by agreed ROI metrics. This needs an ecosystem few can claim to have.

So, I see data based approach to marketing going through three phases. Firstly some initiatives, which show demonstrable results, will be undertaken. Many will be digital led, as the mindset for and of digital is pretty much ROI based. Loyalty will closely follow digital. Again, by its very nature loyalty is about targeting high value, high lifetime value or inactive customers. This stage will be about profiling, segmentation, acquisition analysis, conversion, social media decrypting and remarketing. Some instant results here will charge the senior management to commit to data led marketing. A lot of companies will reach this level across categories in the next year or two.

Phase two will be about sales. This is where the challenge begins. Myriad of factors affecting sales, traditional sales tactics like dumping, over invoicing, fictitious customers and integrating multiple sources of data make this phase challenging. Digital products/services companies are better off here. Retail too has the mindset of few, definitive, agreed and tracked ROI parameters. So these sectors will almost surely graduate to this phase. Telecom companies, and some leading financial services companies too have the requisite culture and commitment required to reach phase two. Analytics in this phase will be of a higher order and include response modeling, revenue optimisation, cross sell/upsell and lifetime value optimisation.

Third phase will be a highly evolved one. It today looks esoteric and theoretical in nature. Needless to add, a select few will reach this phase. Here everything comes together as a central piece of marketing – with visibility across various functions of the organisation. A big piece of this phase is campaign ROI analysis. Mass marketing and BTL come into play. So, optimisation of spends across channels and messages is the next level for analytics. Consumer research, socio-economic data and multiple data sources will come into play. Econometric modeling, churn, win-back, service/loyalty analysis and such sophisticated analysis will be the hallmark of this phase.

On reading this piece of mine, a senior colleague remarked, “Ye sab kabhi ho sakta hai kya?” (Does this kind of thing really ever happen?). Well, this is the second coming of statistics and analytics. Last time around it came as Operations Research and did not really take off. This time around, with digital and retail already in the groove, it has a better chance of coming into play. But, can you ever write off the ‘Indian Jugaad’?

The write up is part of the DMA Annual Report ‘What’s Trending 2015‘.
To book your own hard copy of the Annual, write to marketing@digitalmarket.asia

Shripad Kulkarni

Shripad Kulkarni is the Chief Executive Officer of Percept Media in India.
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