Trending Now: 2020 will be a year of hyper-personalisation - Sameer Tobaccowala

Sameer Tobaccowala, CEO, Shobiz Experiential Communications (part of Havas Group), foresees quantum leaps in the manner in which the industry will mine, harvest and use data to shape the contours of the on ground user experience. 

What were the few big changes that you think were of importance in 2019 for our industry?
One of the most powerful events of 2019 was the General Data Protection Regulation. Although passed into law a few years earlier, its effects were now felt on the Indian market. GDPR has impacted, in a manifold manner, how we communicate, recruit and retain audiences. In a relatively short time, it has imposed order on what was a chaotic Wild West. 

Another experiential trend that I’d like to call out in 2019 was inclusion – from equal opportunities at work to specially-abled folks taking their shot at extreme sport, to open conversations about mental health and wellbeing. Smarter brands were able to build an organic connect with this cause, however some brands lacked a well-crafted approach and audiences rejected the force-fit between the cause and the brand. 

What are the big changes that you are expecting in 2020?
The year 2020 will see several changes. First and foremost, it will be the era of hyper-personalisation. From communication to every touchpoint of the experience, personalisation is the defining factor which will make or break any further conversation. 

Secondly, I believe 2020 will see quantum leaps in the manner in which we mine, harvest and use data to shape the contours of the on ground user experience. 

How has consumer behaviour changed with the introduction of tech-based marketing?
The pace at which technology is evolving means that virtually every time a brand opens a conversation with a customer, it can do so through a different tech tool. AR, VR, Mixed Reality are redefining the customer experience. So, customers today are likely to open the door purely due to the novelty value associated with the tech medium. But once the door is open, it is up to the stimulus package to take the message home. So, in a sense tech toys have made the job a little easier, but you still get only one chance to get it right. 

Are we expected to see some big shifts around data regulation in India?
It’s about time that India had its own data regulation thought process. And the impact of this will be felt in 2020. This could lead to clients and agencies going back to the drawing board and assembling a campaign which will truly elicit an opt-in. I believe it will also hugely increase the value of a brand’s existing opted-in customer base. 

How do you anticipate the AdEx growth across platforms in 2020?
If my hopes for stability, both globally and here in India, are well founded, if economic policy, trade policy and taxation align and if collectively we – as an industry – work to retain and reward the trust of our clients, I am sure 2020 will see positive growth over the previous years.


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