From Internet of Things to the Internet of Me, what according to you is the big thing that will define IT marketing in 2016?
The biggest defining IT moment will be our ability to distil the rapid change happening in technology in a clear way that customers can understand, accept and start seeing value in. This would include vendors adopting new business models, new technologies/solutions and disruptions in market, etc. Closely coupled with this, will be how they can leverage some of the changes in supporting transformational movement to their own businesses. 236 million mobile internet in users in India (and growing) or half a billion internet subscribers by 2017 are generating valuable digital data. The digital universe in India – the sum total of the bits and bytes that constitute our digital existence – is poised to touch 44 trillion gigabytes in just five years.
If we take a step back and look at each individual’s contribution to this, we are able to see millions of little pieces of data that make up our digital identity: from the time we wake up and click on the most interesting news article of the day, to the number of steps monitored by the fitness trackers on our wrists, to the purchases we make online and the topics we share our views on to our social networks. We are starting to see sensors being embedded in physical objects ranging from medical devices, wearables, highways, cars, industrial machines to mobile phones and these are then linked to very high speed and powerful networks. The volumes of data generated will lead to a huge repository of data. In 2016, each of these pieces of data about individuals will come together to create a rich digital identity for ourselves, and the ‘Information Economy’ will become one with real currency. This will definitely impact IT marketing in a big way in 2016.
Two ways in which the digital lives of people, things and organization is impacting the way companies are marketing to them?
With time we have seen a greater impact of the digital lives of people, things and organizations on the way companies are marketing to them. It includes how companies have adopted hyper targeting by building more intelligence and a detailed profile about the customer. Through this exercise of building a detailed profile, they have become better at delivering better focused product/solution/service messaging that resonates with a great sense of timing and personalized manner.
The importance of Social platforms and hence digital communities have gained more prominence in the way marketing is concerned. Hence it has become important that the companies leverage the ability to engage with the ecosystem (e.g., influencers, users) – seeding the right conversations, pushing forward a conversation and actively hearing what is being said as feedback to make business/product changes. This would essentially mean modelling the campaigns according to real time acceptance levels. This has with time revolutionized how companies interact with customers.
I am excited about the options that new payment banks and deeper connectivity can provide. The current wallet adoption and usage are limited to the urban Indian. An intersection of deeper connectivity with larger populace and payment banks has the potential to reduce the cash transaction for consumers across the spectrum. This is similar to what online payments have achieved by helping consumers reduce the usage of paper cheques. Payment banks together with deeper connectivity at an affordable price have a similar potential to deliver micro cash transactions and therefore reduce currency and cash transaction. This will definitely impact how companies market to the new digizen.
How has sales function transformed in the changing times w.r.t. to changing consumers and organizations?
Again, changing consumers and hence organizations have reformed the sales function too. Sales need to move away from delivering generic messaging about products/solutions to the customer; instead they need to understand the customer and deliver the message in the context of the customer.
As they peel through the customer conversation/requirement layers, the ability for sales to grow the deal, ask probing questions and find ways to have technology address more of the customer business problems has become more robust.
Vendors are now coming in with new business models that have a lot of self service options for customers – hence sales needs to up the value add conversations through solution sales.
As we enter 2016, one thing is crystal clear to most IT and business executives: Platform 3 technologies (big data analytics, mobile, social, IoT, cognitive, etc.) or major Digital Transformation business initiatives are possible in scaled-up implementations ONLY WITH the cloud as the foundation. We will see a rapid shift of cloud services from an “emerging” IT architecture to the preferred foundation for enterprise IT and digitally transformed businesses. The cloud services model is no longer something enterprises need to develop “competency” in; they need to master the cloud. The Cloud implementations will have Converged Infra at their core. Given the economies of scale, Flash will be visible in every form of data storage.
How do you see the role of IT marketer changing in the coming year and what has been the transition that you are already witnessing?
One of the key pillars for the IT marketer, particularly in 2016 would be a strong focus on identifying & targeting the right segments/clusters and personas including the message being delivered to the audience.
A strong focus on measurement and returns from campaigns/marketing activities would be important. It is going to be important to leverage the measurement insights to pivot and make marketing tactic adjustments (turn the dial down on activities not working and scale those that are working!) along with a continuous interlock with other functions to plan right activities/see the outcome value from those activities.
Srihari Palangala is Director, Marketing at EMC India
He is also a speaker at Great Indian IT Marketing Summit & Awards 2016.
Srihari is the Marketing Director for EMC India. An engineer by profession, he has a passion for technology and has spent around 15 years working with technology products in various roles including business development, consulting and marketing across the US, India and Asia Pacific.
Prior to EMC, he was engaged with organizations like VMLogix, Adobe India and Microsoft India. In his previous stints, he has been instrumental in driving business transformation and geographical expansion. As a marketing leader, he has a proven track record of accelerating customer acquisition through innovative marketing programs and strategies.
He holds a Masters in Computer Science (Arizona State University) and an MBA from the Indian School of Business. Outside of regular work, as a marketing expert, he actively engages with the ecosystem – offering workshops and online sessions through NASSCOM, IPMA and angel networks to various audiences.
Srihari prefers to spend his free time with family, reading philosophy/spirituality literature and is also an occasional blogger. Know more about Srihari and his views on the technology space through his LinkedIn profile, connect with him on – //in.linkedin.com/in/sriharipalangala