Digital disruption driving marketing outlook in India: Dinesh Menon, CMO, SBI

Dinesh Menon, Chief Marketing Officer, State Bank of India
Dinesh Menon, Chief Marketing Officer, State Bank of India

In the era of digitisation, customers are buying products only looking at the discounts and offers and brand loyalty is a big concern. Various search engine based reports suggests that it is significant to stick with the social media platforms and online research says Dinesh Menon, Chief Marketing Officer, State Bank of India.

While addressing a session titled, “Role of Marketing Officers in Today’s Digital Era” at the Elets BFSI Gamechanger Summit, Goa, he explained several vital trends and practices pertaining to the marketing outlook in the driven by digitisation in the country.

Excerpts of his presentation:

What has digital done?

It has actually redefined marketing to engage with them because of the attention span or the patience or the loyalty factors veined off given that it is an era of discounts for example in the e-commerce space. E-commerce has taken out the aspect of loyalties from the brands.

People are only buying into discounts and offers and not really sticking to the brands. So in the digital era marketing has got redefined to engaging with the target group to induce brand consideration leading to trails off course stickiness advocacy and influence. People are actually shaping the destiny of brands online because when somebody goes and tweets a bad experience on their twitter handle it rattles the brand that is offering the service. All of us had experiences and we go and tweet and we see how the brand responds as compared to the olden days when you actually had to struggle to make a brand listen to you.

Disruption and Digital Marketing

Let’s talk about the key disruption caused by digital marketing. First, of course, is Google as it has defined the way we search for information and it also helps us in making out target sharper because of Google search and display ads. Off course, SEO and SEMs helped us in sharpening our abilities as a marketer in establishing our findability when customers look for brands and services.

Data has impacted several things across the entire spectrum. Data is helping us not just in structuring it better it is helping us in personalised communication using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and it is helping us in actually measure and capture the online journey, sharpen better, profiling.

A customer is willingly giving out a lot of information when they interact with brands and also leaving digital footprints they crawl through various social platforms. The best part of Blockchain is that as it takes off into the future customers are most beneficiaries of this. They are going to be copyright owners and co-right permission givers when they shared data with brands. So the age of permission marketing would be in control.

Customers will be safe when they share data because without their consent brands would not be able to use their data. For example, today Facebook is going to a stage where they are allowing customers and subscribers to engage with brands by giving them the right to no use their information and that is one area which is going to redefine marketing. And the day is not far when people like you and I can actually start making money because I am going to share data.

Significance of Social Media

Social media has, of course, shifted the control from brands to customers for about a few years ago brands were on the driver seat. Today customers are on the driving seat because of social media. All of this is making marketing more measurable off course helpful in getting better ROI and it is all adding to enhance brand love if you follow this process. It has impacted all aspects of marketing whether it is the product, customised designs, social media itself, marketing communications, digital marketing, measurement, analytics and insights.

If you look at a product in the before digital era it was largely manufacturing Research and Development and consumer research. Back then you could develop products using these two elements.

In the digital aspect consumers actually, engage with brands early on. You can see customers actually depend on what customers are going to bring. People actually comment using their phones what they are expecting next from the product.

How to help brands in getting reviews from the people before launching a product?

Online research is influencing brand choices. Google research revealed that 30 percent of the people change their car brand choices post their car research online. I am told that in cosmetics industry up to 40 percent of their decision making is going to change because of the influence of social media research.  This is the power of research and social media where people are commenting on their experiences on brands and are swaying the decision of other people.

If you look at customer experience design in the pre-digital era, you only had traditional models. You had branch banking in the banking sector. You only had Brick and Mortar mode to follow.

Today, you had changed all that. All the apparel industries have gone through a revolution. The Brick and Mortar people are facing a lot of challenge because of brands like Amazon and Flipkart. The experience and cost have become a huge benefit for marketers and brands. You have eliminated the entire middlemen and the execution channel has redefined.

Value is key to a customer today and therefore there is less brand loyalty. If you look at marketing communication itself, a lot of brands always had one-way communication and the customers never got to know of a brand launch till the brand actually went and told them about it.

Today, there is prior engagement, expecting people to know about the brand and discussing it even before it starts launching their products.

Quora, for example, is a platform where people engage a lot, they discussion about brands and experiences. There is instant feedback through digital and it is largely content driven it is no more advertisement driven. We all know that as marketers. If you look at social media, it never existed before digitisation and now it helps in brands in prior engagement with people.

In this era of digitisation, it is important for brands to analyse to make optimum utilisation of available data and what new data is required for driving the brand value in future.

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