Interview with K. Ramakrishnan, President-Marketing at Cafe Coffee Day

 PW: As a marketer what would you say are your current priorities?

KR: As a marketer, my current priorities would include Customer Data Management and Analytics as well as Social Media & Digital Communication at the forefront. Other priorities on my plate includes constant attention to investing in new product development and enabling a rapid expansion in India to reach a number of 2000 cafes by end of 2014

PW: At Cafe Coffee Day, how has technology played a role in customer acquisition or retention?

KR: Here are some examples of our complete technology backed marketing approach:

  1. Social Media: Brand presence on popular social media platforms serve as a perfect channel for customer interaction, promotions, announcements etc.
  2. CRM: Our gift card program, ‘Cafe Moments’ is a complete technology based solution. It becomes ready to use after an easy one time SMS activation. All interactions like balance check, transaction notifications, reload can be done via SMS or online.
  3. Bean Banter: A digital tent card, this small device is capable of running 15 campaigns at once. It drives interaction by displaying messages based on user response.
  4. Digital Kiosks: We are working to build touch screen interactive kiosks for in-cafe engagement. The device will provide a personalized experience with internet access, menu ordering option, games and a fully integrated loyalty program.
  5. Centralized Radio: Centrally controlled radio that is customizable to tastes of customers of every region, language and age etc.

 PW: How has technology played a role in new product development, market expansion or other areas?

KR: In terms of Product Development, we reach out to our customers online via surveys, polls, researches for new product development and feedback. One of our products called ‘Warm choco indulgence’ was created based on an extensive customer research done on Facebook. It now contributes to 30% of our dessert sales. Where Internal Communication is concerned, we regularly broadcast to all our cafes for training and internal employee communication. One such internal celebration was done on reaching the 1000th cafe milestone where all the cafes were linked to a central cross-communication channel at the same time.

On reaching the million Facebook fans mark, we celebrated with our customers at all the cafes on the same day at the same time. The event photos were tweetcasted live by us and our customers.

In relation to Market Expansion, we receive close to 80,000 downloads a day where Bluetooth provides an interactive link between our customers and the brand.

 PW: Do you have a separate budget for the IT component of marketing? And how aligned are the marketing and IT functions in the organization?

KR: Honestly, we do not have anything known as a marketing budget. We earn from other brands that use our cafes a medium to communicate to youngsters and use that money to communicate with our consumers. Therefore there is no separate IT component in this budget. However, the IT function is very clearly aligned with the goals of the marketing organization built towards seamless service delivery, engagement building and analytics.




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