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BW Businessworld

CMOs now see value in building brands

For acquisition, conversion, retention and growth, chief marketing officers (CMOs) want to know how technology can make these things easier to practice and we are working hard on that vision to make it a reality.

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Contemporary marketing is getting redefined by the use of technology. From acquiring customers to giving them an unforgettable experience, technology has become a game changer and an enabler for ensuring better business practices. Will Griffith, regional vice-president of sales at Oracle Marketing Cloud APAC, tells BW BusinessWorld about Oracle’s path breaking marketing solutions that are helping brands establish a lasting connect with their customers

How is Oracle helping companies leverage technology for better customer experience?  

There has been a lot of talk about digital disruption leading to better customer experience. A lot of work that we are doing with CMOs is contributing towards marketing and driving the transformation. When you first become a customer of a brand, you are likely to engage with marketing. Maybe you saw an advert — offline or online. If it’s an e-commerce proposition, may be the user went to the website or heard about the cool app and downloaded it. In all these cases, marketing immediately takes the front seat, defining what the experience will be like.

For many customers, the first visit might be interesting, but they may not be ready to commit. Good marketers are then back talking to them in an appropriate and timely way and telling them to come back and have a second look. So marketing in such situations forms the second stage of experience too. Marketing is there again when customers want some more experience of the brand. So it’s really important that those marketers are given the right technology to be as relevant to such engagements as possible.

Can you tell us about some new technologies that marketers need to adopt for effective customer acquisition?

When it comes to acquisition of new customers, a popular and effective way is the digital channel. Whether it is SEO or display advertising, spending to acquire customers is becoming a well-established and effective way to grow the size of your customer base. However, it is expensive and you really want to pay only once and get the highest conversion rate. Some of our advertising technologies offer the most powerful way for marketers to target the right audience with their messaging. We can also help with conversion because a lot of times you get huge traffic to your website or your mobile app, but the customers don’t convert. We have got some leading technology for testing and optimising such cases. We have even got technology that when you visit a website for the first time it knows you already because we have the largest third-party market data. For example, if somebody comes to buy a fashion brand, our technology will recognise them by their profile or their footprint of data across the broader Internet. By providing a personalised experience, we increase the chances of conversion and retaining customers.

Tell us about some best practices while adopting technology-enabled marketing?

The science behind how you continue the conversation experience is getting smarter by the day. We recently launched our machine learning technology, which we are calling ‘Adaptive Intelligence Applications’ (AIA). For acquisition, conversion, retention and growth, chief marketing officers (CMOs) want to know how technology can make these things easier to practice and we are working hard on that vision to make it a reality.

Moreover, different markets have different demands. Australia is the most mature market and one of our most successful clients in that country is an airline company called Jetstar, which has won many awards for its effective marketing practices. The challenge is that the share of economies that are still trying to do sophisticated marketing is relatively small and I will put India in that category.

We can provide a lot of services to our customers and at the end of the day I see a lot of brands do marketing, some do it well, while some don’t. I think more often than not, sophisticated marketers tend to be those who have tried to understand their customers. We can help them by providing training and guidance and help them translate their strategies into actionable outcomes.

What are the highlights of Oracle’s Adaptive Intelligence Applications (AIA)?    

Our latest offering AIA is like a mobile phone app. Usually, a lot of AI offerings in the marketplace give you a tool kit and not a play and plug solution. Now, you just need to plug it in and connect with Oracle Cloud Solutions, whether in marketing, ERP (enterprise resource planning), sales or service. It is surely going to be a disruptive technology.

What are the biggest challenges for the contemporary CMO?

The biggest challenge I see is avoiding the trap of thinking that marketing is about giving discount offers to people. There is a lot of simplistic marketing practiced in India as it’s a price-sensitive economy, and that marketing at times is just about making an offer or making a limited price discount. Though that is an important tactic to use in marketing, I think most of the CMOs are now seeing the value in building a brand. If you have a strong brand, you don’t need to make a discount offer, but at the same time it is not easier in the Indian context as a lot of brands practice the discount strategy to attract customers.

For CMOs, I would say, if you don’t adhere to best practices, there are more dangers than benefits of using technology. To make technology an enabler, we have to follow the rules of effective engagement with our customers and put safety measures into practice as far as customer data is concerned. Digital marketing has become an established practice and it is important for marketers to understand the science and nuances behind it to make it more effective.