Building the technology bridge between brands & consumers

In this digital era, where technology has been making a critical difference in building relationship, marketers need to adapt and create avenues to bridge the gap between the brand and the consumer. 

The power-packed opening panel discussion on Day 1 of ad:tech Delhi 2018 was moderated by Shouneel Charles, CEO Digital, Times Network. The speakers included, Maneesha Khanna, Associate Director, Head - Media and Digital Marketing, PepsiCo; Sairee Chahal, Founder and CEO, Sheroes; Sunder Madakshira, Head of Marketing, Adobe; Vishal Subharwal, SVP, E-Commerce and Digital Marketing, Analytics and Business Insights, HDFC Life. 

Shouneel Charles commenced the discussions by putting the question to the panellists regarding how their respective company’s technology was helping reduce the gap between brand and consumers. 

To this, Maneesha Khanna replied, “Our basic agenda is to use technology to expand our brand that consumers can explore it. Two years back, we started this phenomenon of technology which was never used in traditional media. We use technology to understand what consumers want from the brands. The latest digital-only campaign with our brand ambassador PV Sindhu has increased our revenues by 20 per cent. When you are relevant, the consumers want you. Last but not the least, this is an amazing opportunity that marketers can’t miss.” 

Sunder Madakshira also spoke about how e-commerce platforms are using technology in a personalised form. Be it Flipkart, Lenskart and many more, they are creating this personalised format to connect with the audiences. 

On the other hand, Vishal Subharwal felt that players in the BFSI sector need to understand the reality of technology. He noted, “The Government is scaling up the technology with Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and now mobility. We should also do digital campaigns to target audiences who are present digitally. One more thing that I want to share is that while people today say that data is cheap, in reality it is not.” 

On a different note Sairee Chahal pointed out that the Internet is still not fully open for women. At the same time, she also felt that technology helps to increase the scale. “The biggest thing out there is we have to create support, peer support or mentor support, which we can call mentorship. We should offer one-on-one counselling support and to leverage technology with empathy. When technology meets empathy, the world will be a stronger, better place, especially for women,” Chahal affirmed. 

While stressing on the need for marketers to adapt to technology in this digital era, Maneesha Khanna said, “Digital extends the opportunity to be more personalised and avoids wastage. Why would we still limit to one on one medium like television?” 

Speaking further, she added that it is imperative to create closer-to-consumer content to foster relationships, especially in the digital space. “If you cannot give what consumers want, you are definitely not on the same platform,” she said. 

Sunder Madakshira was also all for marketers using technology in order to leverage the relationship between brands and consumers. At the same time, he said that when marketers are evaluating any technology to connect with the consumers, they have make sure that it fits into that. “The digital world is divided and has two sets of audiences. Firstly, we have people with no expectations, and secondly, we have audiences out there with extremely high expectations,” he noted. 

According to Vishal Subharwal, “We have to look at the context of the particular sector. Marketers have to learn even more about the technology with new insights.” 

Citing the example of Sheroes, Sairee Chahal mentioned that the organisation started with 80 members. “We don’t have typical marketeers, our product, technology, community teams and users are our true marketeers and sales people, but now all the people interacting with the masses are engineers by profession.” At the same time her grouse was that now, with seamless backing up of technology, her organisation is getting more and more irrelevant questions like what should we wear today? Should I leave my husband today? 

While summing up the discussions, Khanna called for marketers to keep working, measuring, learning, and applying because “it’s better than doing nothing”. 

According to Chahal, engineers need to work with marketers and leverage the technology. 

Madakshira’s advice was to “get clarity in what you do”, Subharwal insisted that “we have to use a blend of technology”.


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