How has your experience of selecting, implementing, and using MarTech Platforms been?

The expansive Mahindra Group encompasses diverse companies across various sectors with different brands and caters to a wide range of customer profiles with diverse preferences, behaviours and needs. Our foremost task was to consolidate and integrate all available data and establish a comprehensive, unified view of the customer spanning the entire Group businesses. Our primary focus then shifted towards identifying a robust tool capable of harnessing this integrated database. The objective is to leverage this tool to enhance customer engagement through highly personalized experiences on digital channels. The aim is to cultivate deeper connections with our customers, fostering a sense of individualization and relevance in every interaction. This has not only strengthened customer loyalty but also served as a catalyst for generating incremental revenue through strategic cross-selling initiatives.

The choice of a good martech platform is based on 3 key criteria –

  • Hyper Personalization: Seek a martech platform with the capacity for omnichannel, hyper-personalized customer engagement.
  • Scalability: Prioritize platforms capable of seamless operation at the scale of the Mahindra Group's diverse businesses and customer segments.
  • Synergy: Choose a platform that effortlessly integrates with the broader CRM and tech ecosystem, ensuring cohesive data flow and operational efficiency. 

We assessed multiple martech platforms and ultimately decided to proceed with Salesforce primarily because of its synergy across all large Mahindra businesses. It has good integration capability, its martech is scalable and it has robust capabilities within the CRM ecosystem.

How much of your marketing budget is spent on MarTech - and do you expect that to increase or decrease?

We recognize a significant opportunity to deliver enhanced value to our customers at the group level. While individual businesses excel in connecting with their specific category consumers, we see great potential in synergizing our offerings across the entire group. Our vision is to delight our customers by providing them with the optimal combination of products and services spanning various categories.

This approach aims to go beyond individual offerings, creating a unique and integrated experience that exceeds customer expectations and establishes our group as a comprehensive source of excellence across diverse categories. Across the entire group, our current expenditure on Marketing Technology (MarTech) is mapped to business outcomes. Looking ahead, we anticipate a potential increase to enhance customer engagement, reflecting the positive response we've observed in our campaigns. As we continue to see promising results, we are proactively aligning our budget to accommodate the growing importance of digital interactions with our customer base.

With the increasing focus on data privacy, how is your organization ensuring compliance with regulations such as GDPR or DIGITAL PERSONAL DATA PROTECTION (DPDP) act while still effectively utilizing customer data for personalized marketing efforts? What steps have you taken to build and maintain trust with your audience in this context?

At Mahindra, prioritizing data privacy is paramount. Establishing a culture within our ecosystem that deeply values customer privacy is crucial. The responsibility for safeguarding customer personal data is collective, spanning across IT, Marketing, and customer service teams. We adhere to stringent guidelines governing the storage and sharing of data among different departments to maintain the highest standards of data privacy.

There are 3 steps taken to ensure compliance which also builds consumer trust:

  • Obtain Explicit Consent: We prioritize explicit customer consent by incorporating processes under DPDP (Data Privacy and Data Protection). These processes include clear communication about data usage, providing customers the choice to opt-in or opt-out of marketing communications.
  • Transparent Data Practices: We uphold transparent data practices across all business units, ensuring clarity on data collection, storage, and usage. Each unit follows SOPs to communicate with customers, outlining how their data will be used and providing opt-out options. We practice data minimization, collecting and processing only the necessary data for identified marketing purposes.
  • Customer Communication Frequency Guidelines – We've established an internal policy to uphold a robust and effective online customer relationship. We adhere to strict Customer Communication Frequency Guidelines, limiting WhatsApp communications to once every two weeks. This practice has maintained the health of our WhatsApp channel, reflected in a remarkable unsubscribe rate of less than 0.01%, surpassing industry standards.

There's a growing trend towards environmentally conscious advertising and green marketing practices. How is your organization incorporating sustainability and eco-friendly initiatives into its marketing strategies?

Our primary objective at Mahindra is to provide consumers with highly desirable products while staying committed to sustainability. This commitment is deeply ingrained in our business model, evident across various sectors such as electric SUVs, eco-friendly buildings in Mahindra Lifespaces, renewable energy solutions via Mahindra Susten, and sustainable resorts in Club Mahindra.

The fusion of sustainability with product excellence is at the core of our strategy. Take our electric SUVs, for instance—they not only contribute to environmental well-
being but also promise a sophisticated and enjoyable driving experience. In the realm of Mahindra Lifespaces, our green buildings incorporate sustainable materials, not only aligning with environmental consciousness but also addressing a key customer need by reducing maintenance costs.

By aligning with consumer values and needs, we not only contribute to a more sustainable future but also enhance the overall product experience, making it more appealing to our target audience.

What makes a better marketer - A person that has multiple skills or a marketer who brings expertise in one particular skill set.

Both types of marketers have their strengths, and the effectiveness of each depends on the context and objectives of the marketing efforts. A marketer with multiple skills can offer versatility and adaptability with an ability to handle various aspects of marketing campaigns and strategies. On the other hand, a specialist with expertise in one particular skill set e.g., SEO, content marketing, data analytics can bring valuable insights to deal with challenges within that domain.

Ultimately, I believe that the fundamentals of first principles of marketing is crucial to being a good marketer. This involves understanding consumer needs and behaviour, crafting compelling value propositions, understanding and leveraging segmentation, targeting, and positioning. These fundamental principles collectively form the bedrock for creating successful and enduring marketing strategies in today's dynamic business environment. A marketer with these fundamentals of first principles who can adapt to new age skills, wear multiple hats, and juggle different responsibilities can be invaluable.