What does SapientNitro offer to its clients that differentiates it from others?
We are focused on enabling brands to engage with consumers. Our orientation, consequently, is always consumer-centered. We understand consumer segments and their digital behavior far better than anyone else. So our ability to look through channels is far better and far higher.
What is the relevance of Big Data in marketing today?
Firstly, it’s a trend. I believe what we’re seeing now, I saw about 15 years ago when the dot com boom was going on where there was a mad rush for eye balls. We are seeing the similar state with data now.
What are the opportunities ahead for marketers in context of Big Data?
There is a huge opportunity, especially for few segments such as telecom carriers, banks, some travel categories; I’d say even large retailers. They have the maximum opportunity to collect a whole lot of data and use that. They can identify trends, and potentially 'productise' it. I believe the biggest thing that will happen reasonably soon will be 'productising' data. If you look at any telecom carrier, they know your and my movements. All they have to do is track us. This will be a very good revenue model for an operator. This is something we are doing in UK with Vodafone. Otherwise, usage of data is a requirement for every brand.
How has marketing changed for brands due to the impact of social media and having an online presence?
The key things that have resulted in this change are social media and internet. The biggest change that we have seen is in how brands are communicating with consumers. When we were growing up, if you were happy about a brand or you had a suggestion, there was no means of reaching directly to the brand other than writing on the P.O. Box address behind the packet or writing a letter to the editors in the hope that it would get published.
Today, the broadcasting communication has changed to interactive communication. Today, you and I without any facts can reach out to a brand and express our opinions. We can broadcast it to the nth number we have on our Facebook list, Linkedin list or followers on Twitter. This is the power that the consumer never had previously; hence brands need to be far more careful than the individual (consumer). Consequently, marketers need to rethink a lot of their learning.
How does social media data feature into a brand’s DNA?
Data brings science into what conventionally was a non-scientific thing. Ten years ago, if you were a brand manager, how are you deciding your brand personality was by user testing, which you did by talking to a bunch of people. This process has been short circuited by social media. It brings an enormous amount of precision and life to the brand personality. Today, everything is much more humanised. Almost two years back, O2 the second largest mobile operator in the UK, had network outage for around two days. While getting hammered on social networks, the operator rather than defending itself took part in the conversation, accepted the situation and posted the current status accompanied by self deprecation and humour. Hence their response and engagement can be said to be fantastic. It became a celebrated story and that brand managed to give a face to itself hence the consumer connection with the brand became huge. This is an opportunity all brands have today; but sadly, most of us aren’t seeing it yet.