In part two of the series, Dukare and Gopalaratnam continue their discussion on the latest developments in customer experience and digital marketing communications. Click here to read part one.
The expert presenters
Pradeep Dukare, DVP, Head Campaign Evaluation and Data Solutions, HDFC Bank
Mani Gopalaratnam, CEO and CTO, Resulticks
How can an SMS-based solution help brands deliver better engagement and experience?
Shankar Iyer: Overall consumption of SMS in India has jumped 64% in the past three years. This means that despite the evolution of digital, SMS still plays a key role in communications. People turn to SMS out of habit, for convenience, and to get instant gratification. This is the channel with which they’re the most familiar, so it makes sense that they would expect messaging relevant to different stages of their journey with a brand. It’s about feeling acknowledged by the brand and offered assistance or recommendations at moments that matter.
Some might believe that compared to other channels, SMS won’t retain its relevance long term. Yet, statistics tell us that a significant portion of the population still rely on it. Around a third of the growth in SMS messages are attributed to promotional activities. This is a considerable volume that brands must take seriously.
As brands move towards digital transformation and adopt new channels, they need to make legacy channels, such as SMS, an integral part of their omnichannel roadmap. It’s not a question of whether or not SMS is out of fashion; it’s about how to maximize its potential for specific user groups and make SMS part of an omnichannel approach to delivering seamless customer journeys.
What variables should a brand with a large, diverse customer base take into account, especially when it comes to analytics? How does RESUL help?
Pradeep Dukare: For HDFC, there are two factors. First, RESUL provides a much shorter time to market compared to many other solutions on the market, and it has also helped reduce campaign execution time significantly.
Second, the bank really appreciates the 360° customer information hub made possible by the RESUL CDP. The CDP unifies a wide variety of critical audience attributes—transactions, profile, digital footprints, and more—into a singular view thanks to its robust connectivity to diverse systems and channels. Furthermore, the solution has greatly simplified both omnichannel campaign orchestration and segmentation, decreasing the time required for both to mere minutes.
How does embedding AI and ML at the core of RESUL distinguish it as a solution?
Mani Gopalaratnam: Before Resulticks came into being in 2014, the company had been a digital marketing agency for more than a decade. As such, the company worked with some major brands worldwide using many different automation tools. We understood the strengths and weaknesses of all of them and realized that many solutions fell short because of a fundamental deficiency in data—not enough data, too much data, data siloed across different systems used by different teams, and data that was simply erroneous or not valuable.
As a marketing agency, you want to show your client how much of the generated revenue is attributed to your work. But that was a challenge as all the data was lying in different systems. And since the identity of a person resides in multiple systems, that's what we wanted to resolve first. So, we wanted to create a data layer for RESUL, our flagship solution.
When we started with Resulticks, there was no concept of a CDP. We used to call ourselves a customer information hub. In fact, even HDFC refers to our CDP as a customer information hub. It was only in 2016 when the word was first officially used by analysts.
So, it's all about getting the data and using it to test certain hypotheses—about customers, campaign practices, channels, etc. What AI does, in the marketing context, is predict and prescribe actions. It also plays a big role in matching patterns, for example, in audience behavior, and we’re seeing a lot of advancements on this front.
At Resulticks, we owe our progress to clients like HDFC that have invested in a major multi-GPU-based solution for indexing on premises. It requires an investment in time and resources, but the fruits of this effort have been great for their analytics team. It’s also an investment that keeps on giving, because the AI models will grow in potency and sophistication as data maturity develops.
What improvements have you noticed in terms of metrics and analytics?
Pradeep Dukare: RESUL has helped us shift towards communications shaped by predictive insights (e.g., when, what, and where to communicate to different audiences). We’ve been able to centralize so much data to enable smoother creation, delivery, and management of campaigns targeted at a larger array of micro customer segments. Developments such as these have also made it feasible for us to embrace agile marketing and reach more customers. All of this has helped us consistently generate revenue for the bank.
What kind of innovation can one expect to see from Resulticks in the near future?
Mani Gopalaratnam: Our focus will always be on gaining a deeper understanding of the needs, concerns, and intentions of the consumer and translating that into concrete, measurable marketing activities for our clients.
We’re always enhancing Resulticks and developing new products to turn digital transformation into something tangible, manageable, and truly fruitful for every organization. With growing alliances, constant innovations, and an intense focus on the contemporary enterprise marketer, Resulticks is committed to elevating CX for all.
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