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Marketing in India Is Personal, Not Just Business - An Epsilon Forrester Study

Marketing in India Is Personal, Not Just Business - An Epsilon Forrester Study

by Epsilon India September 6, 2019

Are Indian marketers meeting the increasing demands of empowered consumers?

India, one of the biggest economies in the world, is undeniably important to all local and global businesses. And as technology becomes more integrated with marketing, business leaders have shown great enthusiasm towards a digital approach. However, despite this increased inclination towards data and customer insights to drive decisions, the results show dissonance between what marketers deliver and what their consumers expect.

To evaluate the use of marketing technology (MarTech) and its adoption in India, and figure out the extent to which customers were able to relate with it, Epsilon India commissioned Forrester Consulting to survey Indian consumers and senior marketing decision-makers from major industries. Let’s take a look at the key takeaways from this study.

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The empowered customers know what they want

“Customers engage with brands that deliver what they need, when they need it, regardless of the delivery mechanism or channel.”

Indian customers today are at ease with technology. They want benefits which are of real value, they want them immediately, and they want them in a way that feels personal. 

Let’s go over some of the key insights gained about customer behavior and preference:

  • A high preference for mobile engagement: 78% of the customers said that they expected a brand to have a mobile app. 68% of them admitted to feeling frustrated when they came across a website which wasn’t mobile-friendly.

  • No real distinction between offline and online experience: 72% of customers in the age bracket 25-34 said that they read product reviews online. And 71% compare prices on their phones while shopping at a brick-and-mortar store. Needless to say, customers expect brands to provide seamless omnichannel experience and engage them at multiple touchpoints.

  • Personalization is nice, but privacy matters too: 63% of customers prefer brands who provide relevant content, but most of them do not want to share personal information to receive more relevant content. In fact, around 59% of customers wonder how companies got their names and email addresses.

    However, the scales tip against privacy concerns when customers are offered practical benefits; with 90% willing to share their information for perks and benefits.

  • Instant, practical benefits over exclusive, experiential ones: Instant benefits like discounts or cashback are more preferable to Indian customers over loyalty rewards that are more exclusive. Similarly, 74% of them would rather see ads than pay for online content, and 55% would prefer a brand that provides quality or price over a brand that is well-known and reputable.

These insights about the Indian customers paint them as a tech-savvy bunch who are still conservative in their spending habits. And while they prefer personalized interactions with brands, they are also becoming increasingly aware of data privacy.

This general picture serves as a good point of reference for marketers when they plan their marketing strategies. 

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The marketer who means well but lags behind expectations

"Consumers expect relevant and valuable brand experiences but feel overwhelmed by the high volume and low value of marketing communication they receive from brands."

Most of the marketing communication currently follows a high-volume, low-value model that serves no tangible purpose and unintentionally overwhelms and annoys the customers. Moreover, the channels on which the marketing budget is being spent are often the ones which are no longer preferred by the customer, making it an unjustified expense.

According to the study, the major problems in the marketers’ current approach are:

  • Email marketing does not deliver the value that it should: 66% of the customers said that they receive too many email offers and promotions, with just 9% showing intent to sign up. This is despite 25% of the customers preferring email as a mode of marketing communication.

    This indicates that while the medium has great potential, it has been made intrusive for the customers. The study suggests using emails for customer retention and engagement instead of customer acquisition as a more sound strategy.

Read: How to create an effective win-back email campaign

  • There is not enough focus on privacy and security concerns: Even though customers have genuine reservations with regards to their privacy, marketers focus on implementing security measures only as an afterthought.

    For perspective, consider this: 59% of the customers often wonder how companies got their names and addresses. Yet, only 15% of marketers consider GDPR compliance as a marketing priority.

  • Enough efforts are not made to target the right channels: In addition to the inefficiency in email-marketing, Indian marketers also fail to utilize channels like TV and online ads for engaging customers. Moreover, there is an obvious gap between what customers want and what they are served, or more specifically, where they are served.

    For instance, only 2% of the customers prefer to receive marketing updates via SMS, but 74% of marketers are still using it.

The following infographic captures the findings from this study perfectly.

Epsilon India Forrester Indian Consumer Marketing Technology Report

To access the complete report with additional insights, click here.

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