Paul Writer launches The Rise Of The Modern Marketer,   
Video interview series of CXO’s highlighting best practices and trends in the use of technology for marketing.

Sanjay Tripathy

Sr EVP – Head Marketing, Product, Digital & E-commerce

HDFC Life 

Use customer analytics to drive better marketing plan for your organization

Well today customer analytics is very important to drive the marketing plans. So customer analytics we look at in two ways, analytics for the prospects and for the existing customer. Prospects means for the people who want to buy your product. Who are the kind of people who are actually enquiring and searching for the product? What is important in an insurance buying journeys like a person buys a product once in five or six years. So if you look at your life span, you might have bought only five or six products. So by whatever marketing campaign or anything else that we may do, it just creates awareness. It then goes from awareness to consideration to purchase. It takes a long time for a person to decide and buy a product. So analytics plays a very important role about how to handhold a person who has some bits of information. Today, he moves between online and offline. He can actually go offline, then online and then back offline again. You can start with online, do some basic research and then he can go offline to a bank or any other distributor to buy the product. So how can you map the entire journey and understand what the customer is doing? How to use analytics to give the right perspective? The other aspect is like our website which is an example of web analytics where we’ve got an online buying platform. We are the market leader in online insurance sales. If you look at 100 people coming to the site, only 2 or 3 finally buy the product. There are 97 people who drop out at different stages. Web analytics helps to understand why people are dropping out, how to get back those people or provide the right kind of information so that whenever they want to buy the product, they will look to us.

“Persistence is a key parameter in insurance because a lot of people buy our product but they don’t really stay persistent. We try to understand customer behaviour and try to provide the right kind of information in different stages. As well as remind them at the premium payment times so that they stay persistent. We do a lot of analysis and persistency to ensure that we keep people in our fold. ”

Role of technology from customer & organization point of view

From a customer perspective, reassurance is a very important tool. Persistence is a key parameter in insurance because a lot of people buy our product but they don’t really stay persistent. This is an industry wide problem. How to make our customer more persistent so that we try to understand customer behaviour and try to provide the right kind of information in different stages. As well as remind them at the premium payment times so that they stay persistent. We do a lot of analysis and persistency  to ensure that we keep people in our fold. At the same point of time we need to remind them why it is important to stay invested in insurance. The third part of insurance analytics is how to propensity of cross sell. You’ll buy the product and then after three or four years. So how do you understand your product portfolio and try to really recommend the right kind of products to you? Recommendation can also happen in the prospects stage. Also, in the recommendation stage because you’ve got more data about the customers so the recommendation engine really works better. How to understand what it is the propensity to buy the next product? And what is the right time for the guy to purchase? Today with social data available, if you can link your customer data with the social data try to look at what are the kind of changes in his life stages. Also, how we can propose the right product for the customer. We are also investing a lot to understand social data. The recent thing is that we’re looking at big data to understand third party data to have more information of the customer. Third party data like credit bureau data to understand the other things that the customer is doing so that lets say, the customer has taken a big loan. So he may not have probable money to invest now but if that loan is towards a home loan, he might need protection because he has taken a huge loan. If something happens to him, his dream house may not stay with them. So how can you build it in your insight and give the right positioning communication. So that the customer is much more keen to buy the product.

Incorporate voice of customer into a real-time response

Every year or every two years we collect more data than we have in the past years. That is the kind of enormous amount of data that is getting created. Whenever you’re going onto digital, we’re leaving a footprint, visiting a site or app we’re leaving a footprint. So enormous amounts of data is currently available. What is more important to for the marketer to understand is what kind of data is relevant and how often you need to cut the data to draw a meaningful conversation. So sometimes less is more is another theory which we need to look at when you’re looking for a marketing campaign. To understand what I as a marketer feel that most of the time rather than the past data, it is about the real time data that makes a huge difference. How can you make use of the real time data and understand the real time issues of customers which is a much bigger point in your marketing analytics or customer journey. It is important to not look at huge amounts of past data, it is to look at the real time data that you collect about the customer. How you can make meaningful insight about the real time data and try to do a meaningful campaign so that it’s much more relevant and it’ll give you better response for your marketing money.

Manage customer feedback on social channels

We are actively listening to all the chatter happening on social media, be it on Twitter or Facebook or any of the other sites where the customer is talking about our brand or if there are any complaints about it. We have a filtering tool which sends addresses the right people. It has an escalation metrics built in. So what happens is that whenever there’s a complaint on say, Twitter about our product or process or experience. We ensure that it goes to the right person and he responds; not just saying that we’ll get back to you quickly but how we resolve the problem quickly is so that the person becomes a happy customer and Tweets about it. So that’s our internal objective, i.e, how to respond to the customer data. The tool really helps. And more importantly, it’s about providing multiple channels, listening and responding the right thing is the critical part when you’re talking about real time response.

Is omni-channel a buzz word?

Well, omni-channel marketing is a buzz word as everyone is using it. But it’s very difficult to utilise it. What it means is that every channel or every touch point the customer connects he has to get the same message or communication. So what is important for us is to really invest in the tools so that we understand the kind of message which he has seen.

We understand that if there’s multiple touchpoints, he is touching somewhere. He has got this message. If he is not encouraged by the message or he has not responded to make him we’ll send him a different message or we may not send a message at all. It is important to create a database of customers who are actually coming and visiting. And understanding the same customer is what we call personalised that applies to that customer. So that wherever he goes or even if he has a lookalike, we know that this is the set of customer responses to a particular has sent to them. So we send the next set of messages. We’re investing in that technology so that we can identify our customers and we can provide that kind of experience.

If you talk about a real omni-channel experience, we have to look at all the offline channels in the fold. That will take some more time because what we’re creating a customer profile and we want the person who is interacting with any customer to go back to the data. We’re trying to create, what we call, a 360 degree customer tool. Whatever the information available about the customer is stored in that tool. Be it his complaints, purchases or surrenders. So that whenever you are talking to the customer when someone visits the offline channel, everything is recorded. Thus, you know what has happened to the customer before, whether he has seen three promotional messages or he has surrendered three before so that you can start from there.

Rise of Chief Technologist Officer

Marketing has not been disrupted for a very long period of time. And the disruptions have probably happened the late 70s or early 80s, when the television came in. The T.V has really moved the Marketing and Advertising industry from a print base to the T.V base. That’s the first level of disruption. And probably for 20 or 30 years nothing much has happened because the first digital wave is more like a tick mark kind of activity so I’ve got a website, page or I’m doing a display campaign. It’s probably the same set for the print campaign but you take it for the display campaign. But what has happened in the last couple of years is the disruption is much larger and the customers have changed. They are using different media, communicating differently, sourcing information differently, talking to brands differently and are getting influenced differently. So looking at all these things, I think the marketing job has changed. I believe marketing is something which looks at society, you have to look at how your customers are moving and how you’re responding back to the customers. The roles are evolving. When the roles are evolving, we think that this is different. I don’t think this is different. Whether it is CMO or CMT it will remain the same. You still have to understand the customer, brand and key messages. But your messaging platforms and interactions might be different. You have to provide more one on one interactions. Previously, there was a mass bombing sort of thing. Back then, I understood the customer insight, I spent three months preparing a campaign. Then I went on air, T.V and print, i.e, 360 degree campaign and bombarded people with messages. I had got the insight right but today it is not the same. I might have got the insight right but I have to create an opportunity for two way communication. I have to listen to the customer and respond. Probably their response will be much faster. Today, you have to understand what the customer is currently thinking and how as a brand you can leverage that so you can respond to the customer in that way. Today the customer is not just going by your marketing message to buy. He’ll look at the influencer.

The marketer has to constantly learn how the customers are changing/evolving, using media, communicating and how you want to engage with them. As long as you are doing that whether you are a marketer, CMO or CMT you’ll have a job. If you can’t move along with the customer, you’ll be outdated and someone who is a so called CMT will take your place.




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