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


Return-on-Analytics in companies - No more just data-starved but more behaviour-starved!

I read a fairly provocative article by MIT's  Michael Schrage on Why your Analytics are failing you in the HBR Blog.

I totally agree with Scharage's perspective in the article. Today, there is a hyper-sensitivity & hyper-activity in enterprises about analytics and putting it to use quickly for competitive advantage. Jargons like Big data, predictive models, propensity scores and customer life time value are used loosely. My prognosis is that, this is leading to a kind of an "Analytics Bubble" just like the " Internet Bubble" of the early 2000s.

What's is critical in companies is the need to spend time on how to align structure, behaviour, incentives and right measurements to ensure analytics is made to count for business impact. What I find most difficult in companies is aligning behaviour and management of systems & processes to make this happen. No amount of more sophisticated tools and more data can help here.

What is needed is "mindfulness" amongst employees on the importance of making it happen. A lot time needs to be spent on conversation amongst departments, collaboration between teams, recognising individuals within teams who are early adopters of the analytics value on the ground, simplifying the execution blue print to make customer value and experience count every day amongst marketing, sales, customer service and operation teams.

Also, what CXOs need to understand is that behaviour from people is the most diffiuclt to change and transform. That's where patience & resolve is needed. There is a need to allocate budgets and time for the same.

We need to remember analytics begins with a few diagonstics and provides some prescriptions. The larger business impact will happen, only if the prescriptions is followed by the patients regularly - day-in and day-out.

The need to get the organization culture right is as important as the resources, tools and techniques!



Will 2014 see a wide adoption of real-time marketing?

I have been observing, talking and writing about the incredible convergence & power of data, analytics and contextual marketing for marketers for sometime now. Will 2014 see the beginning of this trend & wider adoption?

I believe so and I am starting to see some green shoots around this marketing eco-system. With the convergence of emerging technologies with big data and analytics,I see an increasing trend in usage of intelligence-driven, embedded marketing applications, which will bring these capabilities together for marketers to engage with their customers. Clearly, some of these areas are breaking-out of the Gartner Hypecycle.

Also, with consumer's adoption digital mediums, availability of data in companies, wider usage & time spent with these mediums, increased access thro' devices like mobiles and tabs, some of these areas will need newer marketing design interventions and a complete rethink. The new age customers just do not have the patience to see marketing messages, when they open You Tube  or search on Google  while they watch or search for their favourite shows or content. They need to feel respected, surprised and treated differently. They will value content/information when presented with intelligence, relevance and in the right context. Hence, more returns on marketing investments for marketers.

This needs a transformation of how touchpoints are used & never-before use of data, interactions and intelligence in powering these conversations and relationships. Altimeter Group has come out with an excellent research report on how marketers could plan for real-time marketing. A great read and provides a lovely road map on how to get it going in organizations: