The Total Customer Tech-Support summit took place on the 20th and 21st of Nov 2013, at the Westin Garden City, Mumbai. Quikr India was present both as a delegation and as a speaker with our VP, Digital Marketing Mr Gagan Singla, as the spokesperson. He was accompanied by quite a few of the top professionals of today’s media and marketing world to congregate and create a marketplace for ideas and services that were aimed at helping companies get an edge at marketing and technology. Some of the key points discussed in the summit were:
- Make customer the centre of one’s business and IT strategy, processes and culture
- Creating customer experiences that drive commerce in a digitally connected world
- Distill customer data into actionable business strategies
- Develop effective digital and social marketing strategies that deliver business results
- Measuring mobile ROI and channeling the results towards a sustainable mobile strategy
As delegates, we were present for the second round of the summit and witnessed quite a few ideas especially in the fields of mobile communication and analytics in general.
Topics ranging from user engagement on the mobile platforms, juggling between mobile apps and mobile sites to creating a meaningful and tangible difference in the consumer’s daily life through startups, were abuzz in the event, all concentrating on how the on-the-go mobile channel of communication is essentially the vestibule to tomorrow’s generation of a complete data driven marketplace.
In a panel discussion, Mr Dushyant Arora, Director- User Experience, MakeMyTrip.com, mentioned how Make My Trip has been strategizing means to let people choose how to get from one place to place, in case they are stuck somewhere in the process. This has been quite a conundrum as, quoting him, ‘there are close to a billion ways to connect a set of places’. If made a possibility, this certainly shall set Make My Trip apart from the rest of its competitors, in going the extra mile to create a worthwhile product for its consumers.
Opinions hovered rampantly on the best possible ways to connect to users on the go. Is the mobile app a more user friendly way to reach the consumer or is it the mobile site that users are more likely to log on to? Panelists were not afraid to take a stand there as they gave their viewpoint on how and why they would choose either of the two choices.
While this was topic of discussion one gentleman from the audience raised a question of profound importance. “ …we do look forward to all these technological advancements in the Indian market, but can you tell us where do you find the set of people who can make the technology possible? Who trains them, when there are no tailored schools to teach that stuff?” Ms Nidhi Bhasin, Head – Digital Initiatives, TVS Motor Company answered the query with a lot of grit, saying “do not go ahead and hire a b-school grad……..hire a guy who is passionate in the digital field and has a vision that pervades the walls of the board room, to see what works and what doesn’t in actuality”. She gave an example of one of her recent recruits who happened to be a Youtube celebrity himself, making the point that managerial ineptitude can be dealt with and improved upon with time, passion on the other hand, can’t be groomed or bought.
Moving on to the next phase a distinguished panel of professionals was brought forward to discuss Analytics, the inevitability of its dominance in marketing, and the ways every one of them had been able to tap into analytics to hack the growth of their organization. The panel discussion was presided over by Mr Akash Sahai, MD, Aimia India. Mr Sahai introduced the topic of discussion by using examples that displayed how Analytics was an upgradable process and basic analytics might very often lead to wrong deductions. Mr Gagan Singla, VP, Quikr India, a member of the panel, talked at length on the topic of Data Visualization and in general the process of consuming data. Unstructured data, as he pointed out, forms a bulk of the input and we are often unable to interpret them, majorly because we don’t equip ourselves with tools good enough to handle that kind of data. Mr Singla pointed out how visualization helps us to see the not-so-obvious facts hidden behind such data, by taking the example of a business case in the Pharma industry that he had dealt with during his Consulting years. The case remained unsolved for a long time despite relentless efforts from a bunch of professionals, and in the end gave a simple solution through a mere Network Graph. The idea, as he mentioned, was being able to ‘talk to the visualization’, which sparked a digression towards popular futuristic science fiction movies.
Other members of the panel were Mr. Kaushik Ghate, Vice President – Analytical Marketing, HDFC Bank, Mr. Gururaj Rao, Head-BI and Analytics, Myntra, Ms. Aarti Bharadwaj, Sr. Director, Analytics – Center of Excellence, Starcom MediaVest Group, Mr. Vinay Gupta, Head – Business Analytics & Business Excellence, Wind World (India) Ltd. While Mr Vinay stressed on the value of pressing on Analytics to get the least possible error in experimentally taken decisions, Mr Rao and Ms Aarti chose to stand against the view exclaiming that it was effectively not possible, and they should always provide room for a little error. Discussions eventually gravitated towards the common topics of Big Data analytics, bucketing users via attribution, the stratification of Anaytics according to need and the yet relatively unexplored field of Data Visualization.
The event concluded with a basic round off by the moderator Mr Sahai on the need of Analytics, how things, although have looked bleak lately in India, still seem promising especially after listening to the speakers that afternoon. An interesting point was raised by Mr Shrey Jain from Quikr towards the end of the event,” What will you do if your analytics give a completely counter intuitive result, one that questions your conventional business judgment ? Do you still go ahead with it?” The reply was unanimous – “Analytics is a tool to support judgement, not a judgement in itself”.