Ashish Sinha of Epsilon on marketing trends in 2020

Updated: Jan 10, 2020 7:57 AM

From artificial intelligence to video marketing, voice, among others, will be some of the important areas

It is estimated that by 2021, nine out of 10 new internet users in the country would be an Indian language speaker, more comfortable with interacting in an Indian languageIt is estimated that by 2021, nine out of 10 new internet users in the country would be an Indian language speaker, more comfortable with interacting in an Indian language

We are living in the midst of a tech turmoil or a tech renaissance — depending on how we look at it. But what’s undeniable is that everyone today operates in an environment of massive and unprecedented technological change.

The Indian marketing industry is no exception. We already see the impact of technology in areas such as collection and organisation of marketing data, channels used to reach consumers, the use of consumer insights, formats of advertising assets, and more. This trend will only rise in the future.

In fact, a Bain & Company report points to a large internet user base (390 million), with substantial room to grow penetration and online spending. Another study reveals a high preference for mobile engagement, inclination toward personalisation and privacy, and a marked liking for instant, practical benefits over exclusive, experiential ones.

2019: Trend spotting

Non-metro cities go online: The online space in India is buzzing. Studies show that connectivity and research from non-metro cities have dramatically increased. It’s interesting to observe how these users (no longer restrained by lack of information or access to technology) are defining the way Indian brands craft their campaigns to match the growing aspirations of non-metro dwellers.

Voice search grows: There’s been a surge in the use of Indian languages during search and voice search amongst consumers. It is estimated that by 2021, nine out of 10 new internet users in the country would be an Indian language speaker, more comfortable with interacting in an Indian language. Many well-known brands including ride-sharing apps, e-commerce sites and telcos have already enabled voice-activated search for their users. This reflects how virtual assistants are changing the dynamics of search queries.

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Video marketing continues to soar: Today, online video is shaping the way consumers engage with a brand before making the decision to buy it. A 2018 report on insights for Indian brands showed that about 79% of auto buyers research products using YouTube videos before buying them. Categories like lifestyle and education have also shown three times the growth year-on-year.

Artificial intelligence (AI) remains exciting: Brands across sectors have been adopting
artificial intelligence and machine learning rapidly to drive better customer experience. Royal Enfield’s interaction with its target customers on Google for a product launch helped drive higher engagement.

2020: A brand new decade

Marketing, we all agree, is a dynamic discipline. With a new year and the start of a decade some trends will clearly dominate the world of marketing in 2020 and beyond.

A report titled 2020 Global Marketing Trends points to authentic purpose-driven brands leading the race — both, by winning trust and opening up vistas for new connection — and simultaneously increasing revenue and growth. The same report says 2020 will see an increase in consumer participation across all the stages of the consumption journey and product life-cycle.

Marketing will need to stay on top of changes in privacy laws (globally and in India) and how customer data is being collected and used. It must also prioritise communication with employees and stakeholders on the company’s position and intent on using its customer data.

Loyalty and retention marketing will be an area of opportunity for marketers who are focussed on ethical data collection, personalisation and better customer experience. We have already seen Starbucks run a successful loyalty program through its phone app, making it easier for customers to avail multiple benefits. In the future, we will see tailor-made loyalty experiences reach new heights to elevate the customer experience.

Omnichannel experiences and customer advocacy will also be areas to watch out for.

Here’s to exciting times ahead.

— The author is country head, Epsilon India

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