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Rahul Verghese | Olam

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How has your approach to customer engagement/retention/loyalty changed due to new MarTech tools and solutions?

There is now much more information about the consumers evolving needs, more data on behavior and lifetime value so prioritization, tiering of offerings and richer solutions become possible. There is much greater 2-way communication possible so a much tighter bond. Speed of response is quicker and expected to be quicker and MarTech always offers the opportunity to delight while competitors focus on loyalty. In short MarTech constantly enables innovation in this important area contributing to competitive advantage.

With all the new MarTech tools and solutions now available, what’s one of the key pitfalls to avoid in the procurement process?

There is a clear need to map the specific marketing problem that tech will solve, so that tech is not justified for the sake of tech alone, or because a competitor has started using it.

How have you best managed to integrate legacy systems with new MarTech solutions?

In large companies I have worked in, we have used tech via vendors and collaborators where inhouse movements were slow – e.g in the area of consumer insights for starters. In my own start up – I built it in from scratch. In Olam – as a large agriculture commodity company there is an enormous amount of operational tech from the way farms are managed to processing and everything in between – laying a good foundation of tech for Marketing to then leverage both internally and through external collaborators.

What MarTech vendors have impressed you with their solutions and understanding of true business needs and challenges?

To be honest – Marketing of MarTech has been low, I have experienced several hard sells. – whether it is of analytics with big data not providing insights, B2B web developers trying to pitch their skills as a B2C developer, or web developers trying to tout creative skills over a creative agency and so on.

How has your organisation / team dealt with the challenge of the marketing industry and wider digital world evolving at such a fast pace?

There is a need to focus on what you need, keep scanning the environment for changes and developments in your area of differentiation and competence and keep focused there. Understand what the new development/disruption offers and if you think it’s great, sometimes it is more important to bet and run than to sit and evaluate.

Currently, what are you primarily looking for in your digital marketing efforts? Awareness or engagement? Why?

Tech for me is about engagement and simplification of complexity. Personalization at scale, engagement at scale, deepening engagement – are all much more critical. Then comes virality – that unicorn of an idea which tech can perhaps deliver. Awareness at a disproportionate scale would follow.

What do you predict as being the top MarTech trends for 2020?

Simplicity, Interoperability, Decline of the integrated monoliths.

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