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Sarika Naik, Chief Marketing Officer & Chairperson, Diversity – India, Capgemini
Sarika Naik, Chief Marketing Officer & Chairperson, Diversity – India, Capgemini tells us what changes are expected in ...

Organisations that didn’t invest in MarTech tools will perish: Capgemini’s Sarika Naik

Sarika Naik, Chief Marketing Officer & Chairperson, Diversity – India, Capgemini tells us what changes are expected in ...
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  • Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the scope to make mistakes and take corrective measures is very limited. Consumer behaviour is constantly changing in tandem with the macro economic factors.
  • Sarika Naik, Chief Marketing Officer & Chairperson, Diversity – India, Capgemini tells us what changes are expected in the marketing landscape as consumers' expectations evolve and how Capgemini is helping marketers in navigating the challenges that the market forces continue to pose.
  • She highlighted how most organisations had already invested in Machine Learning and AI tools before COVID-19 broke out, however, now there is a need to ensure that these tools work more efficiently.
Marketers have been closely observing how the pandemic-induced lockdown has turned the market upside down and altered the way consumers are communicating, sleeping, working, consuming content or making any purchase calls.

‘What next?’ is a question that has been on their minds for a while now and is commonly discussed in group meetings. However, very few brands have been successful in closely listening to their consumers, making notes, evolving with the changing behaviour and finally tweaking their marketing strategies accordingly.

To help marketers navigate the complexities engulfing upon them, Capgemini launched an AI and Machine Learning tool called COVID-19 Impact Assessment. It presents all possible market scenarios to help planners make a decision, contextual sentiment analysis through Natural Language Processing, and creates predictive models.

We reached out to Sarika Naik, Chief Marketing Officer & Chairperson, Diversity – India, Capgemini who told us what changes are expected in the marketing landscape as consumers' expectations evolve. She highlighted how most organisations had already invested in Machine Learning and AI tools before COVID-19 broke out, however, now there is a need to ensure that these tools work more efficiently.


Q. The Covid-19 lockdown pushed brands and organizations to make use of technologies that while being already available, hadn't been used effectively till now. Do you think the way organizations worked till now will see a complete overhaul in the post-COVID-19 world?

Even before Covid-19, most organizations would already have CRM, opportunity tracker, tools for social listening and a lot of disparate systems and tools in place either for customer outreach, to position their campaigns or assess the lifecycle of a client journey. However, these were not necessarily all tied together. In the new world, there are two patterns emerging in this regard. The first one is the need to make sure all the tools are used and leveraged more effectively. The second one is to cross-pollinate the data, one from the other. For instance, social listening tools were used only for social media listening typically for reputation management. Now there is a need for deeper analysis of areas that customers are talking about, themes, sector needs and innovation in those sectors.

Further, it’s important to loop in this analysis with CRM and tie it back to how you will position it to your clients and identify the campaigns for customers. In line with this at Capgemini, we have developed a solution called COVID-19 Impact Assessment, an Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning based solution which does contextual sentiment analysis by leveraging Natural Language Processing and creating predictive models. It studies the business impact of the customer by analysing global and local news, social media and the recent economic and geographical developments of the country’s customers are present in. This works on a simulation model where business leaders can model multiple scenarios and help them to take decisions and be prepared for challenges ahead of time.

Currently, there is a deluge of digital content in the form of webinars, roundtables, panel discussions etc. Physical interactions, meet and greet and touch and feel is no longer possible. Therefore, to get the right message across, it is important to ensure that the content shared or spoken is bite size, sharp and focused.

To summarize, most organizations already had the tools. However, now there is a need to ensure that these tools work more efficiently. It has become important to look at the data more seriously, triangulate the data among various other tools that we had and really assess how the customer piece comes out sharper.

Organizations that did not invest in tools or did not have a robust customer journey mapping Martech tools, will be disadvantaged and will need to scale up very quickly because in these times being unaware of the customers’ needs, their behaviour in terms of what they are reading, seeing or asking will be a deal breaker. Those organizations who have refrained from investing in Martech tools will have the option to either perish or quickly ramp up in order to survive.

Q. In the last few years, marketers have shifted focus on customer experience rather than product and innovation. Will this continue to be a brand's area of focus even once the lockdown is lifted?

Customers are looking for partners who will support them in their growth journey and add value in different stages of their growth path. They are not looking for partners who will not be able to scale up or see them through in the long journey. For quite some years, clients have become extremely prudent in choosing who they work with and they are looking at a complete holistic experience with their partners. It’s not about one product, one engagement, one launch, one relation, customers look at the piece in its entirety and the overall value partners bring. Now more than ever before due to Covid-19, the option to make mistakes and take corrective measures is very limited. Getting it right at the first attempt has become crucial. Therefore, customers are looking for partners who will not only swim with them but also pull them further on the growth and revenue path. Clients who have ambitious growth plans are only looking at partners who will support them in the whole experience. In the past non-value-added services were often outsourced to smaller sections for cost reasons. However currently, they would either do away with it or integrate that service with an existing large partner who can provide it.

At Capgemini, we serve some of the largest clients across the globe. Our focus has always been to look at the entire customer experience rather than one deal or one offering. From our initial days we have always looked at the overall client journey and therefore we enjoy some of the best and longest relationships with our clients. Furthermore, we see these clients coming back to us - to partner with them to restart their business and ramp it up again during these unprecedented times.

Q. The current situation has shown us the limitations of a few mediums like OOH and Experiential. Do you anticipate more brands to take a digital-first and digital-only approach in the post-Covid world?

I strongly believe that crisis leads to innovation and creativity. The human mind is such that when one door closes you are always looking at another way to achieve the outcome. What is important to note is more than the medium itself, how customers consume that medium will play a predominant role. For example, if the customer’s clients get saturated with an overload of digital engagements, they may choose to step away from it. There could be a completely new way to engage with clients. This new engagement could be through phone calls or targeted customized messages. Therefore, while physical experiences and channels will take some time to come back to their previous state, it would be wrong to think that everything will go digital. As human beings, we like some amount of touch and need to engage and that is what makes us human. While digital mediums will assume an important place, but it is not to say that physical channels will be completely wiped off.

Q. How do you think this situation will change the way brands market themselves?

I believe, the core principles of brand building will remain the same, which entails what you communicate, how you communicate, and your actions must all align and be true to the brand. Now more than ever brands will take more of a citizen conscious role. Brands that respect their environment, care for employees and take care of the communities that they live in and demonstrate that in action alongside words will really stand out. Actions will speak louder than words now more than ever.

Capgemini’s recent CRI research on consumer sentiment during Covid-19 revealed that organisations that embody a sense of purpose and strong sustainability credentials will see greater consumer engagement. In these critical times of crisis, consumers look to organizations to step up and showcase a sense of responsibility towards the society and community. More than half of the consumers surveyed expected organizations to showcase their sense of purpose and give back to society, both during the crisis and beyond.

At Capgemini, we are conscious of the communities we live in. When we communicate about the relief work, we as an organization have done with our employees and stakeholders, it only cements the association with the brand of being a truly global, innovative and environment conscious organization.

Q. If you were to give a few marketing tips to brands to help them get their marketing strategies right in the times of crises, what would they be?

The core principles of building a brand have not changed. Being honest, sincere and true to who you are and what you do still stands true. For instance, in times like these delivering an unfavourable piece of news in a transparent and honest manner is what will set you apart from the rest.

Speed and agility are also going to be important during these times. Often brands wait months to launch a solution or a product in a big way. However, in these times waiting for a big bang launch of a campaign may not work. A better approach would be to pilot and then quickly scale up. Therefore, speed and agility will be better served compared to a big launch events.

At Capgemini, we have launched multiple offers which are helping clients restart their business. However, instead of doing big country wide launches, we went to different geographies and took a sector-wise approach to deliver the offers. There was no fan fare launch, we simply took it to our clients and once the pilot was working, we scaled it to other geographies.

Marketing during these times calls for a well-thought-out approach that will need to be closely observed and adjusted to respond to rapid changes.

Q. Apart from this, are there any personal learnings that you would like to share?

What you do during a crisis separates actors from true leaders. As the father of management, Peter Drucker said ‘the greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic’.

The biggest learning is, pandemic or no pandemic, there will always be innovative ways to meet the ever evolving and changing needs of customers. It’s a question of matching and mapping them with speed and comprehensiveness and building a strong partnership.

Due to the pandemic, some of the core principles of engagement have changed. Some of these rules of engagement like seeing a customer do a handshake in a deal or showcasing the whole solution to the customer so they have the confidence to support you or customers cutting back on IT spends and innovation cease to exist. These are myths that are busted. Rather it is important to serve the right solution to the customer at the right time.

When you can’t meet or see your colleagues every day and there are no informal channels of communication, trust assumes a new criticality than ever before. Trust not only with your own team members but trust with your leadership, trust with your organization and trust with your clients. The concept of trust becomes more important in times of crisis.

Personally, this has helped me reinvent myself and my whole team and the way they look at their roles. These unprecedented times has helped all of us unlearn a lot of things and use creativity to perform tasks differently, but with the same goal that we had set initially. Human’s ability to adapt to changing situations is phenomenal, it’s just that one needs to see the larger vision and keep the bigger picture in mind.

COVID-19IndiaCases: 2.26MDeaths: 45.2kRecovered: 1.58M
COVID-19WorldCases: 19.71MDeaths: 728kRecovered: 12.22M
COVID-19USACases: 4.95MDeaths: 160kRecovered: 1.67M