Pankaj Kapoor a growth marketing evangelist & an expert in consumer engagements is the Chief Marketing Officer for Reliance Securities. With over 17 years of experience in brand communication primarily covering all gambits of BFSl as a sector. Pankaj has also spent decent amount of time crafting niche strategies in media & entertainment during his tenure with Reliance Broadcast Network (92.7 Big FM & TV channels). A strategist to his core, Pankaj has redefined brand engagements & related strategies during his time with Reliance Group.
Over the past few months, we as a nation realised that technology will help us get things done from wherever we are. We need not be physically present at a particular place in order to complete the task associated with that place. To give an example, say you need a haircut, and you’re feeling too lazy to walk down to the salon. No problem. That app on your phone will bring the salon home.
This inevitable e-commerce boom has a few segments worried. With a projected 970 million Internet users by 2025, it would be naïve to think otherwise. According to marketing agency GroupM, the digital ad spend has already taken over print, with a 35% share, and is challenging the TV segment which holds 45% market share.
There is an interesting perception that ten years down the line, over 60% of offline stores will shut globally. Indeed, digitalisation of all businesses is the time to embrace the new beginning, and look at it as an opportunity to create business models that everyone can access, and which benefit all segments of the society.
When businesses undergo changes, it is obvious that the process of marketing, or selling, the products also undergo a change. Let me mention shopping malls here. People don’t visit malls only to shop, or eat, or watch a movie. People go to malls for the entire experience they provide: luxurious settings, ample space for all, top food and beverages brands under one roof, super comfortable movie halls.
At local level and at hyper local level, successful businesses have adapted from providing just costumer service to customer experience which includes top class service. Today, you are not just selling a product; you are telling the customer that acquiring this product will enhance his/her user experience.
Adapt, Absorb, and Role of Growth Marketing
Last year as well as this year, the business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) brands used their own methods and experiences to adapt and upgrade to the new normal. The B2B businesses focused on a more cost-effective and efficient performance marketing model that saw India lead the way in the sales force selling products and services from remote locations, as opposed to the traditional practice of in-person pitch. Focus shifted again on traditional marketing tools such as omni-channel sales and inside sales for both segments.
Now, having managed to gain consumer’s attention, the trend will move from digital marketing to growth marketing.
What is the difference between digital marketing and growth marketing?
The biggest difference is in the methodology. Digital marketing is a set of marketing tactics that are applied digitally. Everything, from search engine optimisation, to email marketing to PPC and digital advertising is considered digital marketing. Growth marketing is a marketing methodology that places a high value on goal-setting, data analysis, testing and experimentation. Growth marketing often uses a number of digital marketing techniques, but its primary goal is to deliver measurable growth for companies.
At its core, growth marketing relies on innovative experiments with data and analytics to not just attract consumers, but also ensure they are retained and nurtured in a cost-effective manner. Growth marketers have been increasingly using multivariate testing methods to optimise consumer reach of their websites by testing the effectiveness of different designs and variables.
This is bound to be a continuous and rigorous task as consumer behaviour will continue to evolve. The key to this overall framework, though, is user experience. Today’s consumer like ease in accessing and reviewing products and services. Consumer wants a seamless experience – be it through a mobile app or a website — that provides for a smooth buying experience. More so when much of shopping is moving online, marketers need to device their growth strategy keeping in mind the need to remove clutter. In this context, content will become increasingly relevant and important to ensure customer loyalty.
Forrester’s report on 2021 India Customer Experience Index does not speak encouragingly of the pace of shift to consumer experience. The study, released in September, says that of the 29 brands analysed, only four had meaningfully improved CX (consumer experience) scores.
This leaves lot of headroom for companies to up their customer experience game, as this segment of digitally reaching out to consumers will play a massive role in marketing from now on.
Customer service and support – which is nothing but the need for increasing satisfaction by addressing questions and troubleshooting – will be replaced by an enhanced need to know and assist the consumer through the discovery of a product or service to maintaining a relationship even after sales. Perception of a brand and a continued relationship will form the crux of digital marketing from now on.
The factors mentioned above will play a key role in customer retention, which will be the ultimate business strategy as marketing evolves in the digital world. Once the question of how to attract consumers is addressed, consumer retention strategies become more pertinent to business growth.
Besides the marketing metrics that gauge aspects such as lead conversion rates, traffic, and customer stickiness, third-party technology tools will get further developed to assist brands scale greater success. While the AI-based chat bot will continue to trend, personalisation, video marketing, augmented reality and immersive technologies will become the order of the day.
The next phase of growth for brands will, therefore, hinge on a holistic approach to the use of digital channels as much as optimising offline sources to remain relevant in the ever competitive and forever changing game of consumer acquisition and retention. The past couple of years have accelerated focus on this area and brands will need to channelise their investments accordingly.