I’ve always been fascinated with observing and engineering innovations around engaging consumers in the most creative way possible. The recently concluded festive season was a hotbed for technological innovations and it was really interesting to see brands move beyond run-of-the-mill flexible-payment options or discounts. One of the best initiatives which caught my attention is Flipkart’s Hagglebot introduction during the Big Billion Day Sale. Riding on a voice-based AI platform, the Hagglebots appealed to the deep-seated satisfaction derived from bargaining while shopping in India. Every day during the sale season, Flipkart released two new products for customers to haggle on. The local insight around the shopping culture was leveraged and rewarded to create a unique and immersive experience and will set the ground for digital innovations to come.
While 2018 set the stage for three Vs (as Google puts it) – Video, Voice and Vernacular – to deepen the Internet landscape beyond ‘Metro, Millennial and Male’, all leading companies have personalization at the heart of their strategy. Reportedly, more than 30% of Amazon’s revenue is attributed to personal recommendations. Around 75% of Netflix’s rentals are driven by personalised suggestions. Google’s search results are increasingly personalised. Observing these companies through their growth journeys has been a great learning experience. It has helped evolve the concept of ‘responsible advertising’ which in my opinion will create a big differentiator for brands in 2019. It has been established that we live very fast lives and are victims to constant tech-based distractions and exposure to multiple screen at once. According to Time magazine, the average human attention span is now just 8 seconds, which is lower than the 9-second attention span of a goldfish. It was supposedly 12 seconds in 2000 but this has dropped a whooping 4 seconds! From the point-of-view of brands, this brings in the need to be absolutely relevant and crisp so as to not infringe on their attention or time.
While this is one key aspect of responsibility, it is also equally important to be cognizant of how ‘personal’ you get. The ground rule always is to let users control how and how much of their information to leverage. Transparency and consent are prerequisites for building brand trust. Additionally, there will arise an urgent need for brands and digital marketing agencies to address the human interaction gap with consumers. While it’s great to acknowledge the digital transformation wave we are cruising on, it would be a disaster to leave the anchor of human touch behind at the shores. While we are allowing emerging technologies like Neural Networks, AI, IoT, Chatbots, AR/VR, etc. to understand us and predict us to create seamless experiences, the stickiness of a customer relies on human relationships.
Finally, but most importantly, 2019 will demand undivided attention on the customer experience journey. Speaking to a consumer with the attention span poor-er than a goldfish, have left brands to resort to ‘snack ads’ in the video format. Event with the humble 6 – seconds ads, it may be worthwhile to evaluate if brands should topple the campaign process which usually starts with preparing the ground, moves on to the big reveal and then finishes with sustenance activities. With increasing competition and an evolved audience, brands could literally ‘cut a long story short’ and begin with the big reveal and strengthen brand resonance with sustenance activities. 2019 is definitely going to be an interesting year!
Authored by Prasad Shejale – Co founder & CEO of Logicserve Digital. An IIT Chennai alumnus, co founded Logicserve Group in 2007 and grew it from a small team to a high performing result-oriented group.
Prasad is an expert in product innovation & management, data modelling& predictive analytics and has been an influential leader in scaling up business ventures.