Thursday, August 2, 2012

Marketing Continuum 2012


As I sat on the first row, ready to explore the revolutions which were driving the marketing industry today, I expected some logical and complex strategies from the marketing bigwigs. But here I am, completely bewildered, to learn that marketing is all about touching the customer’s heart. It is all about loving your customer. Oh my god. The first presentation came from the telecom major Vodafone. Ms Anuradha Agarwal took us through the journey of transformation of Hutch to Vodafone. The rationale behind the decision to continue with the pug, helped making the change quick but subtle. As a marketer one develops an intuition with time and structures the brand. It is sometimes a big risk. What if the Zoozoo concept did not connect? Marketing is much more than Kotler’s 4Ps or 6Ps. One needs to get it right but winning the customer’s heart is most important.

The decisions need to come from the heart. Likeable is the new logical. The customer likes us for what we are. These statements came right from the bag of an experienced industry marketer. The focus was on heart. The simple rules of revolutionary marketing according to her are to put the customer in the centre, treat the customer as an individual, the importance of change, human insights unlock potential, educate engage and entertain, give respect, give the customer someone to love, being local , not taking yourself too seriously and empowering the customer. Concisely, every rule focussed on loving the customer and bonding with him.

Anuradha Agarwal, VP, Vodafone
Vodafone focuses on the consumer space which makes us wonder how it would be when one is in a b2b (business to business) scenario. Mr Raghvendra Shenoy of Johnson and Johnson (J&J) was there to explain the same. He took care of the department of medical devices which interacted with hospitals and doctors. J&J is known for 2 things – quality and care. The marketing strategy revolved around 4As- Access, Adopt, Aware, Afford and 5Ps Provider, Physician, Patient, Policy maker, Payers. J&J has initiated various innovative activities in rural healthcare. Although their interaction is limited to doctors, the division’s passion for doctors, patients and commitment towards quality and social responsibility bend the rules of business. It established a diabetes checking counter in thousands of rural health care centres free of charge. It educated not only the doctor but also the patient through boards written in local language. This takes marketing beyond the usual definition of knowing what customer needs. It is about caring for a customer and facilitating modern technology to rural people. It not only cared for people but many of their initiatives revolved around the doctor. J&J developed an apron of international standards priced at 30% of the similar available products. The philosophy behind how it cared for doctors who were constantly exposed to dangers is touching. J&J has not only adhered to its mission and vision but also created an example of marketing through caring.

Post J&J’s B2B marketing, the engineer in us was delighted to read on the screen “Digital Marketing”. The audience immediately connected to Mr Shailendra from Lenovo India. He was here to blow the myths of digital marketing. There is a lot of hoopla in the marketing industry about digital media revolutionizing the way a product is marketed. People also feel that digital media is going to replace the medium of T.V. and other social media. Mr Shailendra explained how the digital media has become prominent but without T.V., it is incomplete. He busted various myths like the perception that digital media is free. It is not free for the brands. Digital marketing is not a targeted medium as intrusion into private space is limited. Money cannot buy digital success. It can definitely affect the outcome, but it does not guarantee engagement. The digital medium is not easy to succeed in. It is a complex ecosystem of search, display, ecommerce and brand engagement. The medium is not democratic but meritocratic in nature. Digital medium can be controlled and manipulated. It is open and transparent. Digital Science is not a science but an art of connecting with people. Your success still depends on the customer’s heart.

After blowing the myths of digital marketing, we set ourselves for a journey in the world of luxury. Ms Manmeet Vohra took us through the journey of evolution of Brand TAG HEUER. Tag Heuer as a brand comes under the luxury conglomerate LVMH. The start was challenging with infrastructure problems, government rules, and a lack of assortment. The passion of perfection has resulted today in 92 point of sales in 27 cities with each studio equivalent to its peers in London or Paris. The brand got associated with Shah Rukh Khan. TAG HEUER was always SRK’s favourite brand and his association has been most fruitful. Tag Heuer used polo matches, golf tournaments and other innovative events for executives to connect with the brand. As we see today, Tag Heuer has the highest marketing spend in the luxury segment and one of the highest market shares in the luxury watch market.
Pawan Sarda, CMO, Future Group
As we completed the journey of TAG HEUER, a more consumer centric, especially catering to the middle class awaited us. Mr Pawan Sarda of the Future Group, who looks after the marketing of Big Bazaar took us through the journey of modern organized retail and a revolution known as BIG BAZAAR. The vision of the group was to provide the facility of modern retail to the middle class of India. It also wanted to connect to the heart of the customer by going local. ‘Being traditional the Indian way’ was the motto of Big Bazaar.  Right from 2001 to the present, the marketing for big bazaar has evolved from educating the customer, thriving to provide the best quality product in the cheapest way to initiating activities to connect to the customer locally. The latest initiatives are having special malls which sell products needed by a particular community of that area.  As the country diversifies and migration increases in cities, it is the new India that is evolving and with this evolution, the new avatar of Big Bazaar also involves catering to this New India.

The Big journey of Big Bazaar was followed by journey of ACG PAM. As a capsule producing major, it faced the issue of market segmentation. Every time the marketers found the problem, the company went back to the drawing board, created a revolutionary product and came back with a bang. Its holistic marketing approach where it includes the customer in various processes displays how close the bond between customer and manufacturer has become today. Its stringent quality measures and the importance of creating seamless communication between the marketing and research team was stressed by him.

The lessons of holistic marketing opened a new chapter of customer involvement. Mr Rohit Parulekar of Schindler group, a major in urban mobility, producing escalators and lifts, explained how leadership is attained through customer service. It introduced Schindler Loyalty Factor (SLF) to determine how much the customer was satisfied with its service. Dynamic surveys helped the company to remain connected with its customers. It helped in mapping the existing process, finding gaps and ways to bridge these gaps as quickly as possible. This constant feedback system has helped Schindler in carving a place for itself in the world urban mobility market. It is a highly respected player with various clients forming long associations with the company.
Each journey above belongs to a different industry, a diverse environment. Yet every marketing initiative revolved around forming a bond with customer. If the customer is not satisfied, one has to strive to get his confidence back and evolve as a continuously improving brand. One cannot be taught this. As rightly put by Ms Agarwal, it comes with experience.           

--
Kavan Shah
Class of 2014 
SJMSOM, IIT Bombay

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