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.


How companies need to respond to rewired customers' brain.

I was reading this very interesting article by Peter Sena on how some of the new age companies like Uber and the like are rewiring customers' brains.

I think the perspective he was bringing-in was that  every company across the world needs to put customer experience at the centre of what they do. Also, the fact that the way customers purchase different categories are undergoing a fundamental shift but in a incredible manner never seen before.

What the new technologies and platforms are doing is that customers are now fusing "impulse" & "convenience"  in the digital world. Imagine many decades ago, fragmented markets were brought under one location thro' convenience stores, hypermarkets etc. Customers had to walk-in to these convenience stores to buy and impulse at the store played a huge role in brands getting into the shopping bag. How brands were placed in shopping aisles, shopping display, shopper promotions played an important role. Location played a huge role in that era.

I believe this is however undergoing a different shift in the digital world.

  • 'Search' is being replaced by customers 'Seeking' information. In the offline world, customers would "arrive", "search", "compare" and "buy". In the digital world, customers will increasingly "seek" and "buy".
  • 'Content, Context & Customer Intelligence' is replacing the 'Location' lever in the digital world for brands & companies. Imagine you were reading an article on health & fitness online, the next thing you do is to find where you can buy your "Fitbit" band. Or some information that you are looking for your dry skin, some regular tips and then you want to know how you can buy a brand NOW.
  • Supply chains need to undergo a fundamental transformation. It is no more important for companies to optimize their own supply chain but they need to learn how they can help optimize their distribution channel's supply chain. Imagine you are an auto brand, then you will have to reimagine you current dealerships as digital dealerships and products can be made available in a central hub for delivery!
  • The customer side demand also will need to be optimized by companies and this is something they have never been used to. They cannot simply sell and forget. The need to offer services that they have never done before. They need to look at investments customers have made in their products and add value to them. Emerging markets like India will drive these innovations with frugal engineering and adoption on Mobile. Take for example trucksumo a commercial vehicle service of TATA Ace in India - where they connect unused capacity of customers to latent demand for goods movement!  Or the Amazon Dash button - where you can order Tide when it runs out!

So, I think companies need to reimagine, restructure, reengineer their thinking & plans to the demands of the rewired customers' brains! It is not just the companies and their processes but the people who drive these businesses whose minds & brains need to be rewired too!

Companies will therefore need to focus on people, process and technology to deliver new kinds of customer experiences.