Music, marketing and mathematics can combine beautifully to create a million possibilities

As I reflect back over the year, this is one conversation that has left some deep impressions on me. The challenges that are there in rewiring our skills, learning from different streams and applying them in our day-to-day working is becoming more and more critical.

Marketing today is on the threshold of change. In the past, marketing as we knew it was largely dominated by 30-second TV spots and other mass media such as print, outdoor, radio and so on. The number-crunching only came into play while deciding which medium to back in the advertising campaign and for what price to buy the media.

But, look around today and there are the likes of Google, Facebook, Twitter and others who apply complex algorithms such as Page Rank, Adsense, marketing mix modelling, content marketing and so on along with technology (analytics, digital marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) to make marketing a lot more data-driven. Similarly, in music the magic of maths plays a huge role.

As a musician, Padma Vibhushan Umayalpuram K Sivaraman has an accomplished career of nearly 71 years – he debuted at the age of 10 and has been seen and played with the best musicians across the years. His son has been one of the earliest adopters of marketing analytics in India. cat.a.lyst brings you a conversation between the legendary mridangam vidwan and his son S Swaminathan, Co-Founder & CEO of Hansa Cequity, a major customer marketing & analytics firm, on the cross-learnings from music, maths and marketing.

 

Here's the full link to the conversation

 


Information monopolies and customer empowerment in the digital economy

Recently, I got a news alert on a topic that I was interested. When I clicked on it, I got this message below:

Restrict

I was extremely perturbed as I was not expecting a pop-up message like this, as I really wanted to control the choice of ads from my side, to decide whether I wanted to see any ad or not. I really didn't care, I found an alternative source for the same information and got to read it.

What I having been observing is that businesses still follow 20th century marketing models which I strongly believe does not work in the new emerging digital ecosystem.  Also, marketing of yesteryears was about "pushing" messages but marketing of the future is about managing and engaging empowered customers who decide to "pull" and then engage with the message or not.

Information monopolies & interruption marketers really don't work that way. They believe now with digital, they have captive customers looking into their home screens and they can apply the same old world marketing principles. Those principles don't work any more. The TV remote/Set-top boxes changed the way customers started viewing television programs & skipping marketing messages. In the digital world, the quick switch to a new page or clicking a skip button makes marketing messages a blind spot even more. 

The Consumer Decision Journey is changing

In an interesting article, Jack Loechner, Editor of Centre of Media research, writes "Marketing has always sought those moments, or touch points, when consumers are open to influence....Marketers have learned to “push” marketing toward consumers at each stage of the funnel process to influence their behavior. But the qualitative and quantitative research in the automobile, skin care, insurance, consumer electronics, and mobile-telecom industries shows that something quite different now occurs..."  Information Monopolies  & marketers need to learn and adapt to this new paradigm.

Publishers need to look at themselves thro' a new lens

More recently, a leading Privacy advocate Alexander Hanff  led a revolt against publishers which caught the attention of European regulators. And he outlines possible ways in which publishers, of course with the support of marketers, how they need to change their approach.

Information monopolies should work closely with marketers and build a transparent dialog platform to engage with these new informed, empowered customers in the digital economy. They need to move away from "message  & influence" mindset to a "inform & dialog" mindset. It requires not a "Talk down" approach but a "Listen-up" approach.


Unilever buys Dollar Shave Club - Is this the emerging era of direct mass marketing?

Last week, Unilever announced it had acquired Dollar Shave Club.  Tech Crunch carried an interesting article on the $1 billion acquisition and the challenges reputed & established FMCG brands face with the onslaught of innovative and emerging brands. 

FMCG companies have been living in an era of mass marketing for over 100 years now. They have working on the premise that if they  create a great brand and have an efficient supply chain, then the sale is done. Hence, over the last few decades, they have been working on building an efficient supply chain and ensuring the stocks are placed ahead of competition and replenished efficiently. As far as the customers were concerned, if they had a top-of-mind recall about the brands and if there was availability when they landed in a retailer's store, the sale was completed. However, digital disruption and democratization of technology is transforming the  FMCG industry. Leaders like Unilever, P&G, Nestle, L'Oreal and the like have been reeling under this disruption.

The thinking of FMCG companies has to move from managing the supply chain to building a robust demand chain. The FMCG companies' supply chain approach  is about 3P strategy- " Place, Push & Purchase". However, the demand chain approach requires a drastically different mindset which is a 3F strategy " Find, Fill & Fullfill". The customer behavior here is about "Discover & Buy" rather than "Reach & Buy". Also, it is no more about replenishing retailers'' stock but it is about replenishing customers' stock. This for FMCG companies turns their marketing thinking on its head. However, the customers are lapping it up, as they are able to get value & convenience like never before. This also throws-up new big data opportunities about customer purchase behaviour for FMCG companies as new direct-to-customer digital channels are emerging to engage with customers and they now need to understand the insights that arise out of these huge data sources.

The era of direct mass marketing is around the corner for FMCG companies and they need to serve these customers in new ways in the future.