Marketing Tech - A CIO Perspective

Satish Panchapakesan, Senior Vice President & CIO, Arvind Fashions | Monday, 14 February 2022, 14:08 IST

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Marketing technology has accelerated return on investments made by companies on Brand marketing, enhancing wallet size with the customer beyond a few set of transactions. Consider examples of recent years startup's be it Instacart or names like Swiggy or Byju's in India these companies have built a lasting brand in a matter of few years. The lead times between brand awareness (through Brand Marketing) and conversions (Performance Marketing) have crunched by months, if not for a few years in many cases.

Marketing Technology investments has been the beachhead for this accelerated growth for not just Digital Native, but also for those who have transformed their businesses. Digital disruptions have seeded new market spaces and its enabling business models and have created market shares in those models that did not exist in the first place. These companies quintessentially think, plan and act on the customer relationship as a fly wheel journey. Have considered data at its fulcrum metaphorically speaking data is the Oil which accelerates this fly wheel (read, Sales) without friction (read, Experience). And each `customer turn' is increasing sales throughout. This is well and truly the new paradigm.

Let's look at how Technology and Data gets this fly wheel rip roaring through its turns - It Attract, Engage, Convert, Retain, and Grow. The elements that drip feed `oil' to the `fulcrum' of the fly wheel, so that friction is reduced and energy (resources/spends) converted to outcomes. I see this comprised of two large components. Data Processes should deliver agile ingestion of data in Simplified, Secure and Scalable way having a data strategy that addresses Ownership, Orchestration and general Governance framework which is realistic and in line with the organization culture that are critical to success and requires extensive stakeholder change management. Marketing big data is probably the most unstructured with an exponential growth in the volume, velocity, and variety of data being piped in and out of organizations.

"Connected Marketing Data ecosystems are going to redefine the digital data footprint of the customer significantly"

As per a research report by IDC 44 percent of all data available to enterprises goes uncaptured, and out of the data that is captured, 43 percent remains unused, so in effect less than a third of the total marketing data is put to decision making today. Tool frameworks to support processes across the spectrum of providers have evolved supporting Big Data with enabling Big Ops/Data Ops processes. Any Big Ops process should focus on the missing 67 percent, or ‘dark data', as highlighted above, and shine light on that.

In a nutshell, enable Big Ops processes with software mediated tools is critical to harness your investments on the data platforms. That brings us to the next topic on customer data platforms.

Brands are now owning their Customer Data Platforms (or first party data) rather than going for syndicated research data newer streams of data that can be fetched with localization, personalization coupled with Machine Learning predictions give an unprecedented opportunity to sharpen context sensitive, locale sensitive, time sensitive marketing problem statements, solve for them and make a positive sales correlation. Connected Marketing Data ecosystems are going to redefine the digital data footprint of the customer significantly. With 5G and combination of social, augmented capabilities, communication between devices, and more, a big game changer is in the offing to the way we attract and engage customers.


While we get carried away with the technical upsurges, important to keep the PII (Privileged Identity Information) in your design of the solution, especially when we are looking a trace, ethnicity, gender and such aspects. Not being diligent about this has created nuisance for many brands. This is also critical to build trust on the brand and probably going to be one of the biggest challenges in the coming years to stay guarded.

When it comes to ‘Conversion', most big brands have taken advantage of excessive Digital consumptions over the last 18 months of stay at home work culture and invested heavily on paid searches, Social Ad plat forms and many more, but the results as per published reports is quite underwhelming Paid Searches only get a marginal increment in conversions (1 percent) over organic searches. Besides, the over arching trend is that most customers are going directly to consumer platforms (Amazon, Flipkart and many others) to research about the product. This type of inbound marketing insights needs to be integrated and curated into your Customer Data Platform for maximizing returns on Ad spends (ROAS). While we do this, let's not forget the basics of web experience  SEO (Indexability, Metawords and many others), Page load times (requests, speedsize), Mobility (Tap targets, fonts and many others) and last but not the least Security.

Switching to retention and growth, the stakes get higher here and much closer to that moment of truth. Today, the Brand promoter detractor ratio is in multiples of 10's or even 100's as opposed to one detractor erodes 1 or &lt 1 promoter world of the past. This is primarily because of low cost of switching and every marketing technology element has to harness this data into their data platforms in the most measurable way. Using NLP for social listening data besides hard down trade/never returning customer data should very much be a PMM or `predictive metric that matters'. Ability to groom the customers' asks in quickest time possible with smallest amount of data to get the best fit in a frictionless manner is an absolute non-negotiable in any platform/products.

To summarise, access to Digital Tools has been a great leveler for marketers to succeed irrespective of their size and provides competitive advantage to those who best adapt. Creating Process frameworks in tune with your organization culture, consumer centric platforms and then choosing scalable products would be critical to create the winning recipe for valued lifetime growth with your customers.

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