On September 15, 2016, Mindtree hosted an exclusive dinner in New York City for more than 20 leaders from leading brand organizations to discuss trends and challenges in implementing personalization strategies. Throughout the evening, a full house of senior executives shared their knowledge and learned from their peers.
Our guest speaker was Gaurav Pant, Senior Vice President at EKN Research. He spoke about three trends that are changing the industry:
- Lack of patience: The immediate gratification of the digital age has led to a widespread loss of patience. With limitless information and options at their fingertips, consumers expect services to be instantaneous, and they make prompt decisions about their purchases.
- Multiple paths to purchase: Instead of following the traditional journey from awareness to purchase, a consumer can take limitless paths before making a purchase today.
- Decline of mediocrity: Excellence is the new consumer standard. There’s no place for mediocrity in products, service or experience. Consumers expect to be treated as individuals with specific likes and dislikes, not as part of a homogeneous group.
Pant then discussed what the three trends mean to brands and how to address the ever changing needs of their consumers.
Debjyoti Paul, Associate Vice President of Digital Business at Mindtree, spoke about the need for a single view of the consumer and the challenges in achieving it. He shared some real-world experience from Mindtree in implementing such solutions for a leading hospitality organization and a leading airline. The participants also talked about the difficulties they face in targeting millennials and avoiding a one-size-fits-all strategy.
As the meal progressed, the discussion veered toward more open-ended questions. For example, how do you codify culture into personalization strategies? Almost every company represented had a similar approach to the problem—strategize globally, execute locally. Most relied on local partners to help them execute on the ground. One interesting example cited: how to personalize the interaction with a Chinese consumer shopping in Paris at an American-brand store. Something as simple as having an employee who speaks the consumer’s local language can help improve that experience.
Next we began to address regulations, laws, privacy, compliance and, most important, ethics. How can you ensure that you’re capturing and activating consumer data in a way that’s considered appropriate? Attendees generally agreed that while the fine print of terms and conditions exists to protect the organization legally, it helps with public perception and trust if consumers know how their data is being used.
The group also discussed chatbots and the use of artificial intelligence in interactions.
By the time dessert arrived, guests wanted to dig deeper into the implementation challenges. The most common obstacle their organizations faced was breaking down silos of consumer information across the enterprise. Islands of information develop over time, which then creates difficulty in analyzing data and making speedy decisions to improve the consumer experience.
The evening helped satisfy our guests’ thirst for knowledge while providing some food for thought when they headed back to work the next day. I look forward to hosting the next dinner on September 22, 2016, in Chicago. It promises to be another evening filled with rich conversation.