Social media is changing the way businesses interact with--and create marketing assets for--customers, says Simeran Bhasin, Marketing Head, Fastrack & New Brands at Titan Industries. It's time others got on board too.
CIO: What new trend do you see in marketing that you wish more CXOs were aware of?
Simeran Bhasin: One big trend is that digital media is becoming an increasingly important part of our lives, especially if you work in the youth segment. And that means that we need to change the way we do business, whether it is the way we select and work with agencies, the way we structure our teams internally, and the kind of functions and departments we have internally.
How much has changed? What's really changed?
Digital media represents a huge change from say five years ago. Before, there was only indirect contact with the customer for the most part. You met them mostly through research, and when you did meet them directly it was through focus groups and things like that. When social media broke out in India, we immediately got onto it. Prior to that, when Fastrack was launched, the only way to get an initial feel was to go into the market ourselves to do research.
What this means is that the customer's voice has become much stronger than before, and it's able to reach us directly, without any filters. So you get absolutely honest feedback from consumers, who on their part are much more confident and aggressive, and not afraid to give their opinion. This puts pressure on companies who now have to monitor how responsive--and how connected--they are to their customers.
Social media has become a means for us to engage and have a two-way conversation with the consumer. That wasn't possible earlier. I think access to the brand has become much larger with social media. Consumers didn't have access to us and we didn't have access to the consumer's voice unless you did traditional research. We now don't believe in traditional research at all. We just believe in keeping in direct touch with our consumer. So all our insights, everything that we want to know actually comes from observing what's happening on our social media pages, Facebook in particular.
That's why I think the entire digital space has been extremely important for Fastrack; it has been a big part of our journey in the last seven years.
When your customers contact you directly through social media, how do you respond?
We respond to them on our Facebook page or we respond to them in the form of a message, or we take them offline. Where we need more details we take it offline. We take their number or their e-mail id and engage with them directly. That's how we stay in touch and engage with our consumers.
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