Anshu Bagai currently heads Marketing at Tupperware where he is responsible for designing and implementing strategic initiatives to drive growth in India. This includes developing India specific Products, Market Research, Brand Management, Incentive & Loyalty programs, Events and Institutional alliances.
Here are his views on the importance of technology for the modern marketer in a Q&A with Paul Writer. Read all about it…
PW: How important is technology for the success of the modern marketer?
AB: We are currently going through a phase of rapid change in India. Internet penetration is expected to reach 300 million in 3-5 yrs. Social Media is allowing connections between people in a way that has never happened in human history before. Trends are spreading faster, there is plethora of information available on the touch of a button and there are no boundaries left between countries.
This has made it possible for brands to reach out to consumers directly with targeted messages. Thus we are moving from an era of mass media monologue to a dialogue with consumers. The new age consumer too will demand and expect the modern marketer to reach out to his specific individual needs.
Further for most industries in India e-commerce is currently a small part of their business. However with increasing internet penetration and standardization across various product categories, e-commerce will soon become a game changer.
These changes have opened up opportunities for marketers to create interactive brand experiences for consumers. However it will require a lot of adjustment from them to marry Marketing with Technology. So I would say we can no longer think of Marketing in isolation from Technology.
PW: What are your current marketing priorities & how does that translate to technology?
AB: Being a direct selling company we rely entirely on community selling by independent lady dealers. It is essential for us to build interactive communities that share a healthy dialogue. Thus social media was a logical extension of our business model. Our Facebook page has reached a fan base of about 3 lakhs in about 10 months, which is the highest in our industry.
India’s demographics are getting younger. Thus it is imperative for every brand to develop a younger personality in order to connect with the consumers of tomorrow. So revamping the website and even making apps for smart phones is high on our priorities.
PW: In your organization how has technology played a role in customer acquisition or retention?
AB: In our business we have two sets of target audience- one is the end consumer who buys and uses our product and the second is the independent lady dealers who sell the product. These dealers are attached to our Distributors and customized software helps us acquire, track and retain them. We regularly develop incentive programs to motivate the dealers to do better in their business. Technology helps us maintain the data of active and inactive dealers and helps us come up with more relevant promotions for them. It also helps us gauge the impact of our existing promotions. With a vast network across India, such data is priceless for us to keep our sales growing and only through technology can we monitor it on a weekly basis.
For the end consumers, we run on a lean non-stocking model for the Distributors. So our entire model is dependent on technology. When the end consumer orders a product the order needs to be entered in the system by the Distributor and tracked till it is fulfilled. In this chain of operations, we have to ensure customer delight by timely and accurate delivery. Technology ensures that this model works successful.
So such a vast community of consumers and dealers can only be kept together through effective use of technology that facilitates smooth communications.
PW: How has technology played a role in new product development, market expansion or other areas?
AB: We rely heavily on market research to generate insights into the need-gaps in the market and our consumers’ preferences. Before the launch of any product or category it is extensive use of technology in MR that helps us forecast sales and make important decisions.
Globally Tupperware has over 4,000 products and the kitty only keeps increasing. We have an extensive global data-base that gives us easy access to all necessary information about all of our global SKUs that helps us determine which of them would be suitable for India.
PW: Would you say the level of collaboration between the CMO and CIO in your organization was:
AB: As I mentioned earlier, we are a company that runs on a lean non-stocking weekly business model so technology, marketing and operations work very closely for effective performance. In fact within the Marketing function we have a sub-function titled ‘Marketing Systems’ that has a dotted line reporting to the CIO. This how closely our CIO and CMO work
About Anshu Bagai - A career spanning 19 years has given Anshu opportunity to work across industries with hands-on Marketing and Sales experience.
He was responsible for making Sodexho vouchers a widely recognized brand and building the Sodexho retail network to a record 8,000. Prior to Sodexho, Anshu was part of the start-up team at De Beers and was responsible for innovative Marketing and Sales programs which positioned the brand at the top-of-league in the highly competitive jewellery market. As a Brand Manager at De Beers, he launched Nakshatra which was the first brand in the jewellery industry. Anshu is a Graduate in Electronics and Communications from Delhi College of Engineering, Delhi University and a MBA in Marketing from NMIMS, Mumbai