As part of Lemnisk’s Customer Data Platform (CDP) Virtual Summit for the South East Asia region, we had an interesting and highly insightful fireside chat with veteran marketer, Prashant Agarwal. The topic of this session was transformative leadership in the context of marketing technology or martech for enterprises.
Prashanth heads digital marketing for AIA Group, a pre-eminent life insurance major and one of the largest companies in Asia. A marketer, innovator, and connector, his industry-agnostic career gives him multi-domain knowledge and inter-industry operability. His varied experience includes building corporate innovation labs creating startup accelerators building brands and launching products. He has worked extensively in B2B and B2C environments across all channels.
Prashant started his career as Unilever’s youngest manager globally and has since worked within banking, insurance, and tech across India, the USA, Singapore, and Hong Kong. He regularly serves on juries for awards and speaks at international forums on topics ranging from disruption to analytics. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the discussion:
Transformative Leadership in the Context of Martech
The customer is the real boss and they decide everything now. Once upon a time, people were actively guided to the choices they made. Marketers showed them content, held their hand, and walked them to a set of choices, and then hopefully they made the choice they wanted. That is no longer there. Consumers today are loaded with information. The items that will cut through all the clutter for them are the ones that are going to connect and for that we need personalization.
80 percent of customers say they’re more likely to buy from brands that personally provide personalized experiences in a business such as insurance. 90 percent of consumers in insurance end up buying life and health insurance plans offline. However, 90 percent of them equally say that they will research it online before they would talk to somebody to buy it offline.
Consumers in insurance typically touch an average of five touchpoints before they make a purchase for life and health insurance. Out of them, four are digital. This means that the convergence of martech and management leadership has to happen. Mass customization and personalization have to be at scale and predicting what the customer will want is now the bare minimum. If marketers can’t get that right, they are not even in the game.
COVID has forced companies to transform digitally at speeds that they didn’t know was possible. Even the elderly in China who have traditionally never bought online were forced to do online shopping. This was because that was the only way they could get groceries in certain provinces for a period of time. As the customer evolved, companies needed to evolve at the same time.
The message that marketers deliver to consumers needs to be creative. It has to be delivered in a very effective manner and it has to be very relevant to their needs and the time that they consume that message. Given all these parameters, tech is the only way to deliver this in a scalable manner. This is where the coders come in, to design those tech enablers. But they also have the opportunity to be very creative in their own right so that the marketing itself becomes creative in the way it was delivered on the channel and the platforms. This style and substance have converged. Gartner indicates that, by 2022, 25 of the marketing departments will actually have dedicated behavioral scientists and ethnographers as part of their full-time staff.
Marketing functions have to become very data-driven and marketers now have to be technologically savvy. Martech solutions that are going to automate and enable will act as the glue that connects the creative marketer and the coding nerd together.
Marketing leaders may be leading broader agendas or smaller agendas but they have to embrace and celebrate the concept of learning. Martech is going to become a very standard part of marketing and everyone is going to be very focused on what their marketing stack looks like and how they plug those gaps
By Bijoy K.B | Marketing Manager at Lemnisk