Infosys experts share their views on how digital is significantly impacting enterprises and consumers by redefining experiences, simplifying processes and pushing collaborative innovation to new levels

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Locating Marketing Moorings in the Digital World

 

 

 

 

 

It's quite interesting how enterprise orientations have changed from efficient manufacturing to global competitiveness to finally being more simplistic, and 'customer centric' i.e. intensely Customer oriented.

This evolution, if we look at, is neither radical nor abrupt. The world moved on from the concept of 'Manufacturers' & 'Consumers' in the pre and post-world war era of 'isolated focus on manufacturing efficiently, with cheaper resources, closer to 'raw material sources' and 'consuming them in another part of world or profiting from them in a completely different part of the world' to a world which became even more resourceful and adaptive- where everyone could manufacture and sell anywhere and the differentiations in profit making or market expansion was to come from:

  • Quality (this is when the Japanese found quality of national importance)

  • Intelligent localized market targeting strategies (Globalization being theme)

  • To the now- intensively aggressive customer centricity (digital enabled targeting and product positioning)

    How fast, how close one is to understanding its customer or finding new ones, and how quick they are to react on the customer data determines not just the immediate bottom lines but long term business strategy and enterprise viability.

    The focus was on 'providing' for 'pre-conceived needs or demands' - the world neither had the assurance of global trade rules' to foster healthy market practices nor the wherewithal of knowing global needs, global consumers, their preferences, paying capacity or the means to find and factor what decision parameters customers, in a diverse and expansive markets, are applying for deciding on manufacturers fate.

    A simple look at a scenario, for instance, how a beverage or a FMCG companies did marketing in pre- second world war, post second world war and post the internet evolution era would give interesting insights into:

  • How this space evolved- Today what shapes this activity and a rationale forecast of how this is likely to bring new, unheard dimensions into marketing and create a paradigm shift, already we see this happening in many areas, in how enterprises are going to use insights (data), agility (ability to not reactively but proactively adapt to what customer may want in real-time) and tailored experiences - to differentiate themselves. It will be na├»ve to suggest that product features, product qualities etc. will seize to evolve and only customer experience will differentiate in isolation- but it will be the customer experience and centricity of customer which will lead changes in various product and enterprise strategies - at a much faster speed

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  • This marketing and customer experience orientation is almost certain to be the single biggest factor determining enterprise success, success of almost all of enterprise function and to a great extent determine enterprise viability and its sustenance altogether

    So a beverage company which in early 20th century found a need to have accessible packaged drink for people and runs "awareness" campaigns changes to - finding local flavors, local branding and extrapolates positioning in line with regional, local nuances in the 1960's and 70's to a more holistic customer-led product creation, customer oriented product delivery and branding infused with specified segment targeting (youth, executives, kids, sports, health conscious etc.) and building ability in its product positioning and marketing strategies to enable that.

    In the coming days, Marketing - which if we quote the Guru- Philip Kotler defining this as- "the science and art of exploring, creating, and delivering value to satisfy the needs of a target market at a profit" is going to be something like this- "the techniques by which you lead customers' thoughts, needs & desires to your offerings, use customer behavior & insights to extend customer aspirations and creating new markets and having a unique positioning to fulfill those"

    And the techniques and the pace of marketing evolution is going to be extremely fast-tracked by technologies like big data, GPS, augmented reality, real-time decisioning ability, to real-time enterprise process orchestration for experience creation across factors covering pricing, product delivery, product core features, post sales experience management and leverage for further customer targeting. This space is going to see innumerable shocking, disruptive shifts - complicating what seems like a simple sale to customer- bringing a huge set of dimensions on which to differentiate an enterprise - in a nutshell:

  • The ability to proactively listen, absolutely precisely engage and enabling an individualized interaction with customer defines what enterprises will do for its product strategy, their manufacturing process, pricing strategies, quality nuances, its brand positioning strategies and not the other way round

  • Today enterprises are listening to client aspirations and juxtaposing their branding to those- before customers move onto something which suits their personas better

    In addition to the differentiation and customer experience & aspiration led, there are certain environmental, global changes as below, that are bringing completely new dimension to marketing today:

  • Democratization of supply, and demand: Today the supply chain, distribution or fulfilment cycle is part of marketing strategy. These are no more fixed, and affect not just organization strategy but influence customer choices and buying behavior. A J-I-T offer for a premium mobile device for someone in the U.S can be very different from someone in India, because of fulfilment cost and availability factors. Similarly, a dealer in India can transpose it's marketing strategy at real-time if an relevant accessory for that device is available or can be procured from a nearby market

  • Virtual and augmented reality: This is another powerful change; the extent of the impact is still not fully assimilated. Customers will no more go by the asynchronous isolated content but will experience, know much finer nuances of their purchase than what was ever possible. Augmented realities would force marketers to think ahead of future needs and ensure they meet expectations that far ahead

  • Customer led promotions, user generated content mapping: Customer is no more a passive entity in marketing cycle, they are part of marketing chain. They form a potent channel of marketing and leveraging customer delight & satisfaction for accentuating brand value is going to be a force multiplier with completely non-linear ROIs possibility

  • Extreme data sciences creating unique, live- opportunities via Patterns, trends & projections: with close to four billion people and more than those many number of digital touchpoints, content & data is indeed the King and the ability to make sense of that data using BI, AI or machine learning is likely to create unforeseeable dimension & possibilities, presenting marketers with new segments, markets and personas with intelligence at their disposal which will help devise products suiting customer aspiration & experience (a big change from experience & marketing coming after the product strategy)

     

    The world has changed in terms of fulfilling customer needs, giving better experience (what they called marketing), the rate of change has been exponentially increasing with passage of time. Marketing today is trying to keep pace with this change and this is a journey than destination- robotics, machine learning, greater democratization of buyer-supplier relationship is going to keep pushing at these changes with greater force than ever and it will be an interesting attempt to keep track of where this heads to.

     

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