Digitalization in the Banking System: Benefits and Challenges

The world has shifted to the ‘Digital Darwinism’ era, a time where technology and society are evolving faster. Nowadays you don’t have to carry a cheque while visiting the bank for money withdrawal. Majority of the youngsters don’t even know how the cheque book looks like, and the money moves so rapidly like fast food. That is how computerization has changed the world of finance. Digital banking calls for a complete change of mindset amongst bankers.

The digital revolution has flounced across the banking industry. In the last few years, the Indian banking sector has realized the utmost need for digital technologies and thus, rapidly embracing digital banking tactics. The key innovations in digital banking are Digital-only/Virtual Banking, Biometric Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain Technology, Bitcoins and Robotics.

Banking has its root in money lending. The questions are what would have been life without ATM or credit cards in our hands? And what does ATM do? Is it beats back? The moneylender has the discretion of charging rate of interest according to what business you want the money for. Luckily, the ATM dispenses all that. You can go to the ATM at any point of time for any reason such as personal, medical, shopping or any other emergency. ATM charges you the same rate of interest despite who you are and what kind of compulsion you have.

The Benefits…

Telebanking is at its most advanced stage. Most of us have mobile phones that allow us to do whatever we want to, irrespective of place and time. The advent of digital banking helping youngsters and the coming generations to manage their time smartly as they don’t have to visit the banks every single time. The advantage of digitalization is that you can trace the transactions and at the same time bankers can avail all the information: who got the money, from whom and where it will go.

Bankers always suffer due to lack of knowledge about their depositors, under knowing their customers as well as borrowers. But technology helps in identifying all these numbers. By building portals, information and history of an individual can be traced and shared by the bankers amongst each other. Hence, technology has a significant role in creating transparency in transactions among banks.

The Challenges…

Besides the benefits of digitalization, there are challenges to discuss as well. Massive power cuts being the first challenge in digital banking, it is quite difficult for a country like India to sustain the backup systems for a longer time period. In such a case, technology becomes totally useless. Internet penetration is the second challenge, which is not very high in India but acts as a barrier to digital banking.

There are 4 IT companies across the world deals with the banking sector. The banking sector is going to have a massive hit if anything happens to these companies. It is even better to say that the oligopoly has developed, but there is no back up for the same. There must be a competition within IT companies who can compete with each other, and provide alternatives to the banking sector.

Another most important challenge is the mindset of technology among people. While one is familiar with banking technology, it might possible that other is not. Normally, people with more age are not so familiar with digital banking, and this number is still high in India. There are nearly 15 crore people in our country who are above the age of 58. So the challenge is how to tell them that it is safe. All the transactions are in English and till date, only 11% of the Indian population can read, write and speak English.

The question is how to tackle this issue in a country like India where the messages have to go in different languages. And if the message goes in different languages, then the official statistics say that only 74% of the Indian population can read or write. The last issue is – when you hire technology, it involves a huge cost. Despite Jan Dhan, 30% of the population is below the poverty line and have nothing to do with the scheme because they have nothing to transact.

As a business management student, you should understand the recovery of cost incurred on technology hiring. The decision is even more challenging if the technology changes after every three years. Students who are the future of young India must consider all these challenges critically and provide the solutions.


8 Must-Know Data Analytics Tools For MBA Students

What exactly hits your mind when someone questions you about “Data Analytics Tool”? Obviously, the very first thing that comes in your mind is Excel spreadsheet. One of the crucial part of MS-Office suite that introduces us all with pivot tables, graphing tools, and formulas and if you are ready to go extra step then modelling too. Microsoft Excel is a very basic yet powerful data analytics tool that normally every institution and business make use of. But, day-by-day increasing demand for valuable data has radically transformed the outlook of business intelligence and analytic tools.

Nowadays, finely filtered data sets that can be used to drive better business results and performance is the primary requirement of every business out there. Be it leading internet giants or passionate entrepreneurs, every single entity of the market is looking forward to tying hands with lucrative transformative technologies. Maybe that’s the reason even B-schools are actively dividing their focus into traditional management courses as well as business intelligence and data analytics courses.

How FIIB Curriculum is helping students?

FIIB through its intensive engagement with recruiters understood that the leader managers are not to be just aware of excel, but shall be like data snipers; skilled in working on excel. Our talks have resulted in focused requirements of business and FIIB has given it a due place in its curricula. The curricula drive its students to work on excel and other Business Intelligence tools like Tableau.

Why Businesses Are Leaning Towards Advanced Tools?

The businesses have confronted a paradigm shift – from product-based marketing strategies to data-driven approaches – to evaluate and target only those results which provide them timely growth. That’s the reason why businesses are potentially seeking analytic tools to extract meaningful and actionable oil of the digital era, i.e. data. Businesses are widely utilizing advanced analytics tools to find commercially valuable sets of data that pave the path of increased sales, better ROI and societal advancements. Such analytics tools help businesses to improve their way of acting on a particular set of data by providing real-time insights and market behavior.

Fortunately, the market is full of analytics tools that ease the process of analyzing and visualizing valuable data for businesses. Whether you are from the category of those business owners who don’t mind paying off a hefty chunk of money or, you are one that belongs to ‘just-started my dream business’ crowd, there are good numbers of data analytics tools available in the market. Let’s shed light on these five analytics tools that are free and easy-to-understand.


Operating System: Microsoft Windows

Supported by: Microsoft Corporation

Probably the most underrated and basic data analytics tool, Excel is free software and is developed by Microsoft. It is commonly known as Excel spreadsheet and is a part of MS-Office suite. Normally, students learn to work on a spreadsheet in their school time and therefore, it is widely used by entrepreneurs and small business owners. No matter how small or big your business is, Excel is a software that almost every business needs to use at some point in their career.

2.Google Sheets

Written In: JavaScript

Developed by: Google

Google Sheets is a web-based spreadsheet program powered by Google and comes under the Google Drive service. It is free to use and compatible with Microsoft Excel file formats. Students can call it web-based Excel spreadsheet as it contains all the features including some advanced ones such as Explore, which provide answers based on natural language questions.

3.R Programming

Typing discipline: Dynamic

Supported by: R Foundation

Talking about free software environment, R is one of the most renowned analytics tool available in the industry. The programming language is widely used by data miners and statisticians to fulfil their data analysis and modelling needs. The tool is open source by nature, which makes it a productive asset for most of the businesses. Even it is quite easy for users to handle bugs and software updates on their own by simply altering the code set.

4.Tableau Desktop

Type: Public

Founded by: Mountain View

Another free software is Tableau Desktop, which is a highly recommended analytics software and business intelligence tool used to get real-time data reports. The tool is majorly known for its easy-to-connect feature. It efficiently connects various kinds of data sources including Corporate-based Data, Excel-based Data or, Web-based Data to generate effective dashboards, maps, and other important data visualizations. Businesses can also share the output visualizations on their social media handles and with clients.

5.Google Analytics

Type: Web Analytics

Founded by: Google

Renowned as Google marketing platform, Google Analytics is a web-based analytics platform that gives real-time insights of website traffic. Businesses are widely using this online tool to understand their market worth and to plan future strategies. Businesses can track poorly performing pages using Google Analytics tool analysis and work on them via its funnel visualization technique.

6.Visual Basic

Typing discipline: Static, Strong

Designed by: Microsoft Corporation

Similar to Excel spreadsheets, Visual Basic is also widely used to do the analysis and gather commercially useful data. Initially, Microsoft intended VB to be a tool which is easy to learn and use. But, nowadays businesses are utilizing its features and functionalities to do market analysis and get better data outputs.

7.AI-enabled Apps

To ease the process of data analysis, many businesses making use of Google suite that provides add-ons to further extend the market reach. The presence of Artificial Intelligence in data analytics tool helps businesses to make assumptions, test the market on the basis of those assumptions, and at last learn from the output. The overall process turns out to be autonomous, and thus – it saves time and other efforts.

In conclusion, every business should shift their focus to smart data analytics tools and grasp competitive advantage by extracting commercially useful insights.


Importance of Decision Making in Management

Decision making is a cognitive process that allows organizations to choose the best alternatives from the available ones. Organizations have to choose the best alternative on the basis of their advantages and disadvantages. Decision making is an essential function of management and connects with every process of organization (directly or indirectly). Be it anything- planning, scheduling, organising or, controlling, not even a single process can be executed accurately without evaluating the pros and cons of alternatives. To achieve sustainable growth in career, business or any area of life, proper decision making is vital.

According to Stephen P. Robbins, “decision making is defined as the selection of a preferred course of action from two or more alternatives.” In the management education students study various courses of operations, such as Operations Research, Business Statistics, Business Research Methodology and Multi-Criteria Decision Making etc. All these courses help them to understand the basics of how to analyze the decisions and its consequences with the help of quantitative and qualitative methods. Some of the important point related to decision making are:

1.Pervasiveness of decision- making

Decision- making takes place in all management activities and in all organizational functions. Thus, every employee should follow a definite pattern to manage their tasks smartly. Any sort of function is not possible without proper selection of a belief or a course of action among several alternative possibilities. It is therefore pervasive.

2.Management performance evaluation

Organizations are highly looking for leaders and managers who are fast in decision making, and thus it is an essential factor to evaluate employee’s managerial performance. Leaders who are efficient and capable of taking decisions on their are own have comparatively brighter future than those who lack in it.

3.Helpful in planning and policies

Formulation of plans and policies is nothing new in an organization every employee has to follow a set of rules to make the workplace a better and productive place. However, decision-making plays an important role in this phase of organization betterment as well. No plans and policies can be executed in the absence of solid decision. Therefore, decision making is an important process that is helpful in planning.

4.Successful operation of business

Be it an individual, department or, organization – everyone requires to take the right decisions to survive in today’s competitive world. Only the right decisions can navigate the path of success for organizations and help them further to achieve smooth operations.

In the nutshell, it is more than important for students to learn all the courses mentioned in the first paragraph to be better decision-makers in the future.


‘Self’ and ‘Identity’: The Pillars to Live A Life Worth Living!!

The experience of being human is mysterious, exciting and challenging. One lives a pattern of events, feelings, thoughts and choices that differ from those experienced by any other human being. Whereas, one is continuously ‘becoming’, evolving from a simpler version of ‘oneself’ to a more complex version; it’s mystifying, intriguing but nevertheless an experience altogether exciting and compelling.

What Is Self?

When vagaries of life abound, how does one evolve and yet remain the same without disintegrating the core fabric of one’s Self?  ‘Self’ is an ever-changing system of perspectives formed and sustained in communication with others and ourselves; a process of exploration, search and concretization of one’s identity. We all desire for a sense of (core) self, an ‘I’, an independent, autonomous being, free from pressures of conformity – the forces that attempt to dissolve the sense of ‘I’ to align it with the traditional/ typecast mould.

Search for identity is a gruelling task; one that requires courage of assertion, the persistence of a zealot – to carve, maintain and retain one’s identity. The search for identity is equivalent to finding a statement of Motto for one’s endeavours in life. Multiple values, ideologies, principles, beliefs, ethical tones and ‘shoulds’ (protocols) prescribe the template. A clearcut statement of agenda one should espouse is non-existent. Endowed with a mind of one’s own, coupled with the unique experiences one accumulates and unique feelings one possesses, an individual embarks on finding his own meaningful place in the society.

Most of us strive to figure out what one should do (line of career) that is worth its while and engaging. In late adolescence, one tries to fathom the relative importance of feelings, reason, emotion, mood variations, sadness, joy, love etc. In all probability, one is set on the path of crucial questioning when life-turning events put one in a state of melancholy or ecstasy, all of which call for examining yet different facets of the kaleidoscope of life. Troubled with one’s state of mind, with no succour or readymade answers, one may perforce examine one’s baseline beliefs and guiding principles.  The identity of an individual is quite synonymous to one’s core assumptions, beliefs or principles about oneself; equivalent to the academic word ‘paradigm’ – a principle that is sacrosanct – unshakeable.

What Is Identity?

Identity is the essence of what we stand for, what we worked for – our meaningful, identifiable contribution, something by which one is remembered or recalled, a one-word agenda or goal that one may have worked for. No individual wishes to be trapped in mediocrity or to remain obscure. We want to be seen, to stand out, to have the firmness of thought and vision and to be an entity to reckon with.  An individual may not be rich, successful or a shining star in the enormity of the universe, but nevertheless one desires to be distinguished , a separate domain , a distinctive and identifiable unit that is vivid, starkly clear, permanent in nature and pursuit – something that accords a degree of coherence and meaning to one’s life.

End on an inspirational note

We don’t want our descriptions to be hazy, nebulous or to remain nobody’s or non entities; we hate to spend our lives as wasted efforts, or as a rudderless ship. Deep down we want to be towers of strength, with our feet firmly planted in ground and be able to garner an easy recall of ourselves by others – by virtue of our indelible marks of action. At all stages of life these lessons are relevant to evoke deep thought, emotion, and even inner turmoil that each one needs to ponder and resolve.


Career in Entrepreneurship – First Choice of MBA/PGDM Students

MBA/PGDM students dreaming of high paying big corporate jobs is now an idea of yesteryears. The mantra of today’s generation is to “start-your-own” thing. Undoubtedly the fast-paced modern world is perfect for passionate leaders to transform their ideas/dreams into reality. The reason for saying this is several – with Start-up India Campaign, Government is trying to create a business ecosystem that is supportive of innovations and passionate intellectuals. The idea behind the campaign is to realize long term sustainable economic growth and large scale employment opportunities for demographic dividends of India. The initiative, through its ‘action plan’ for implementation, has plenty of opportunities for the youngsters of today.

Under this scheme, entrepreneurs get sustainable support starting from simplification of processes, hand holding to funding and incentives. The scheme also facilitates Industry-Academia partnership and incubation. An incubation center provides basic infrastructure like office space, stationary, furniture and connectivity amongst others to leaders. The primary individuals to take advantage of this scheme are students pursuing their PGDM/MBA from renowned management institutes. From a theoretical understanding of the nitty-gritty of managing a venture to technical & legal understanding of business-related rules and regulations, such institutions are not less than a boon for MBA students.

How FIIB helping students?

Fortune Institutes of International Business (FIIB) have an encouraging environment for entrepreneurship development. The entrepreneurship-cells or E-cells are prevalent in colleges, however, boot camp on entrepreneurship during foundation courses, relevant core and other elective subjects on entrepreneurship at FIIB not only creates a favourable entrepreneurship mindset, but it also motivates students to start a campus company.  The industry exposure during management education at FIIB also helps the students to identify partners, mentors and investors. Two years stint at good institutes connects you to an alumni network of people who can have an impact on your set-up.

Change in social perception matters

Apart from these, management professionals also have minimum risk involved. If the venture does not work as expected, they have a reliable option of joining other organizations in the future. Fortunately, the social perception about starting your own venture has changed now. The stigma attached earlier has now turned into admiration. Companies appreciate innovative and entrepreneurial people who burnt their fingers previously.

All these factors contribute to the idea of starting your own venture. Therefore, when students begin his management education, they should have clear goals in mind and actively work towards achieving them.


Analytics – A Crucial Skill for MBA Graduates

The competitiveness in business is often associated with right decisions at the right time which rides on ‘right information’. Managers no longer can afford to call shots based on their gut feeling and feel secure if the decision isn’t right, they will have the luxury of time to maneuver it back to the right path. With the help of current technologies, the organizations are sitting on all kind of possible data and scalable business intelligence tools.

Organizations are facing the challenge of effectively implementing the data utilization in their decisions due to the lack of human resources who can work with current technologies, business intelligence tools and, to some extent matured artificial intelligence.   Skilled human resources in business intelligence and business analytics are requisite to unleash productivity in processes and accuracy in their KPI. Organizations with able leadership in the area of Analytics are paving the way for others to follow their path to achieve success. The infographic by Denave in his article ‘Anatomy of Analytics’ published in AIM gives a peek view of the steadily increasing demand of analytics-versed leaders in the future.

FIIB without any hype works very closely with industry to understand their requirements of analytics-ready talent in all functional domain. FIIB involves industry in its curriculum creation to offer not only the specialized and focused courses in analytics but also the analytics components in every course. The design of every course is in a way that guides students to become ‘no hype and ready to deliver’ managers.


Q&A: FIIB Students Debate Implications of Budget 2019

Making and representing a budget requires a strategic approach and India has to work diversely to reshape its future. The finance budget 2019 panel discussion started with Government promoting sustainable growth and finished with students opening up their curiosity boxes in front of two panellists, Ranjeet Kumar Mishra (Chartered Accountant (C.A.) & Cost Accountant (I.C.W.A.)), and one moderator (Prof. Kirti Sharma).

These are the questions asked by the students of FIIB during panel discussion:

Q1: How budget 2019 is affecting the manufacturing industry of India?

A: Whenever a change happens, everything connected to the sector automatically experiences associated pros and cons. Undoubtedly with the budget 2019 coming in effect, India will soon become a global manufacturing hub that finely operates in a variety of sectors. Be it automobiles, aviation or any other manufacturing sector – leaders cannot attain good results in the absence of thought leadership.

To clear students doubt, the panellists explained that it is wrong to judge an entire industry by the goods and bads of a particular brand. For example: In the transportation sector, OLA and Uber are performing well only because they’re versatile with the thought leadership skills, and on the other hand, Mehroom is a vanishing name of transportation industry as it lacks in understanding customer needs. He further added, “Revenue, costs and loss are the major factors to consider”. In a nutshell, budget 2019 will actively boost the manufacturing sector only when you (as a taxpayer) don’t define the whole industry’s growth by merely talking about a particular brand’s growth.

Q2: Underlying the farmer’s benefits – will the income proposed to marginal farmers be a good step?

A: One of the students emphasised on the income support for farmers and asked whether it is a progressive step to put forward or not. The government proposed to transfer an amount of 6,000 INR per year into the accounts of farmers under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme to fight increasing rate of farm distress. The panellist draw students attention toward some facts in order to clear their doubts, which are as follows:

  • It is good to have something in hand rather than empty hands. The amount proposed by the government is, undoubtedly, lesser than what we expected in the first place. But, if we see it from their point of view of the farmers, then it is a significant amount to fulfil their basic utilities.
  • If you are aware of the fact that Orissa is paying INR 12,000 a year to their farmers then, you’ll get to know that the initial start is not that bad to go with.
  • The basic requirement of a common man or a student to live a healthy life is far different from what a farmer expects or wants to. They don’t like to eat pizza, go for outings or wear different clothes in their day-to-day life so, it is beneficial for them to have something in their hands.

To cut to the chase, a hefty amount of 6,000 a year might not enough to mitigate their stress, but it is not too bad to have progressive future goals.

Q3: What are the bigger threats to Indian economy?

A: While discussing on the matter of “Inflation rate in India”, one of the students raised his concern about the threats to Indian economy to which panellists replied – “Digital import is a big concern, even bigger than oil import”. They further added, almost every individual nowadays require a smartphone in their hand making it quite difficult for us to not import digital accessories from other countries. Henceforth, Smartphones are the bigger threats to the Indian economy.

Including this Q&A round, the students also discussed and understood the utmost need to make India an energy-efficient country. Fortunately, the Government not only passed such a worthy budget but also working progressively to make India a country that stands second to none in terms of economy.


Marketing: Retrospective to Future Trends

“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs”.

 Peter Drucker

Marketing as a business domain is always contemporary and fresh. Over the years, marketing has evolved as a domain which is contemplated to be close to the industry reforms. Marketing has evolved from concepts to reality. Marketing is, therefore, one of the important function of business which leads to growth and future.

Marketing Myopia, a concept by Theodore Levitt, viewed marketing as a short-sighted and inward-looking approach, having more company focus rather than having a focus on the customer needs and wants. Since the era of mass production, the focus was closely centred on more production with efficiency, which was further evolved to quality focus and transited to better sales. In all these phases, one thing was common- no customer focus. Companies were myopic in their approach of viewing customers only on the receiving end, rather than the consuming end.

In the past, organizations like Kodak- myopic for photographic film products, Nokia- myopic for a feature phone, were out of the business for not planning the future before. Marketers then realized that this phenomenon of being biased for any product or brand would not offer the desired yield and it requires to be more holistic and future-oriented. So, organizations like Maruti- petrol car to diesel car to CNG car, Pepsi- aerated drinks to packaged water realized that concentrating on a single product/brand will make them disappear and thus – they moved on for growth and multi-product/brand focus.

Undoubtedly, customer’s choices, preferences and habits matter a lot and likewise transforms in the long run. As a result, customers desire for new and better products, and due to this evolved behaviour, myopic view puts organizations in a self-obsessed trap. It is, therefore, a general realization in marketers to be future savvy and consistently eye for new trends and happenings. Being a product or process-centric individual would not work in this VUCA World- Volatile, Uncertain Complex & Ambiguous. Various concepts have emerged in the last couple of years which transformed the entire gamut of modern marketing. Some of the innovative and contemporary latest marketing are as follows:

1.Permission Marketing

Permission marketing is a unique aspect of marketing for those customers who provide pre-permission to the marketer. A concept propounded by Seth Godin, grounded on the premise of privacy and customer choice, has revolutionized the impact of e-mail marketing. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has to come up with regulations like Do Not Disturb (DND) etc. to make customer’s data and time private. Permission marketing in today’s sense is substantially impacted worldwide with new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679 norm. If marketers practice customers’ permission-based marketing, it will lead to better profits and satisfied customers.

2.Screen Marketing

Mobile marketing is contemporary in terms of its usage. Keeping the mobile as the only screen, customers keep it with themselves most of the time, its usage has modern practices to its credit. Marketers considering mobile as the central medium among all the other communications need to be integrated. The time is not so far when every received call will have a commercial linked to various applications over the web. Marketers are realizing the worth of mobile as a multi-functional device, not only limited to SMS or Apps.
3.Virtual Reality in Marketing

Marketers across the world are utilizing virtual reality to leverage better customer experience. Customers are exposed to the non-real world with real-time feelings via the applications of virtual reality. They can see how the product looks on them without actually getting it on and visiting the store. Nowadays, it is quite difficult for marketers to avoid the engagement of virtual reality as it makes them a modern marketer.
4.Co-Creation in  Marketing

Most of the marketers have realized that generating customer-centric product or content is not the only desired technique to win their targeted customers heart and soul. However, it is true that marketers across the world are eyeing for user-generated product and content having a flavour of collaboration. People in the marketing sector now accepts that both marketers and consumers require to contribute and collaborate to claim a win-win situation arising out of a co-creation. Customization becomes a passé and, now the marketing world is leading to hyper-customization with marketer’s inputs.
5.Voice Search

Consumers due to limited time and accessibility are preferring voice search over various search engines, making it mandatory for marketers to ensure that there facts & information are not just available instead represented in an easy-to-understand format on the Internet. Additionally, marketers should also invest time in checking the ranking of their voice search results.

The future of marketing is therefore difficult to predict, but it is sure that it will be not the same as it is now. Marketing, which initially considered as a medium of communicating messages and ensuring it goes to the intended consumer – developing a product and its brand then deciding what to tell that target market.

But the next leap will be more personal, hyper-targeted and, above everything else, embedded with a service-oriented focus. This will turn marketing – on a one-to-one basis of mass scale – into a more dynamic and complex sector. Modern marketing will be entirely consumer experience based and broadly capitalize on previous, present and future experience from diverse touchpoints. This shift requires marketing to be customer driven and, marketers to be customer-centric.

“Good marketers see consumers as complete human beings with all the dimensions real people have.”

                                                         – Jonah Sachs


Artificial Intelligence (AI) – Transforming the Future of Marketing

One of the biggest disruptors in marketing today is Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI technologies are quickly advancing and changing the way marketers’ analyze, solve and implement solutions to improve customer engagement. With AI, machines perform tasks which involve intelligence at par with that of humans like decision making, visual perception, speech recognition, learning, reasoning, planning, and strategizing. It also helps machines learn from experience and take actions based on analyzing data without the need for coded instructions every time.

But what is AI Marketing?

“Artificial intelligence marketing (AI Marketing) is a method of leveraging customer data and AI concepts like machine learning to anticipate customer’s next move and improve the customer journey.”

The evolution of big data and advanced analytic solutions have made it possible for marketers to gauge a better understanding of their target customers than ever before. With the help of data mining algorithms and AI, marketers are able to identify customer’s preferences, purchase history, traits, characteristics, etc. All this helps companies in developing relevant products and services for their target consumers. With the advancement of AI, there has been a sharp increase in predictive analytics. Companies now can not only predict the future but also change it favourably. The AI systems are so robust that just like a doctor it prescribes the company the steps it needs to take in order to accomplish the goals.

Unilever recently used AI for unstructured data and predictive modelling for the purpose of product innovation. Unilever’s Head Global Insights and co-author of the book “AI for Marketing and Product Innovation”, Sthanunathan explained: “The movies we watch, the books we read, all influence our thinking. If you can analyse every single piece of dialogue in a movie or song, we may be able to unearth something meaningful. Consuming all that content is not a mind-numbing experience for a computer. We started mining unstructured data to get metaphors. We can use those same pieces of information to identify emerging trends to see.” With the help of these insights Unilever’s biggest brands, such as Ben & Jerry’s, was able to launch a range of breakfast flavours in 2017.

Similarly, Coca Cola announced the decision to launch Cherry Sprite as a new flavour based on monitoring of data collected from the latest generation of self-service soft drinks fountains, which allow customers to mix their own drinks. The company also planning to install AI in vending machines to allow greater personalization. For instance, customers will be able to order their favourite blend from any vending machine with the machine mixing it to their individual preference. The AI will adapt the machine’s behaviour depending on its location.

Companies are integrating AI not just in product innovation but also in personalization & profiling, SEO, content research & creation, buyer journey optimization, customer service, CRM, and image recognition software. AI does data mining at lightning speed. It performs sentiment analysis by analyzing people’s behaviour, opinion, attitude, and emotion towards issues, events, and various topics.

The future is about marketer and machine working together wherein the latter will enhance the former’s performance. Personalization also called individualization is the key metric for improved customer satisfaction, better customer engagement and a deeper relationship with the customers. Marketers have realized that tailoring products, services and content for each individual customer are the only way to win and retain their loyalty. However, personalization has to be done in the right way as mistargeted personalization leads customers to think that brand is unable to understand them. According to research by McKinsey, when brands get personalization right, marketing expenditures can deliver five to eight times the ROI and lift sales by 10% or more.

Brands are more likely to convert leads into sales if they offer personalized interactions with their customers. Consumers are more likely to buy from a company if they know their name, recommends new products based on past purchases or, knows their purchase preferences. Today’s consumers expect more humanity from their brands. They want to be listened to and truly understood. In light of this, the future of marketing is going to witness the power of personalization, and this would be possible only with the help AI solutions.


The Impact of Customer Responses and Buying Decisions in Global Arena

Illustrating a case, think about a situation where the customers at any place on the globe want to buy something, let it be a Gillette Shaving kit, McDonald’s Burger, IKEA Furniture, services of Uber Cab, American Express Credit Card or anything that they need. Customers yet are not sure of how to progress in their search to get the best value and deal from all the offerings available in the market. Well, past experiences of buying a new product may be an option that can act as an initial set of information for such decisions.

But at the same time, customers are getting some spread information and contradictory arguments. For instance, they hear from some of the online and offline selling platforms ‘we sell at the best price’ the other may say ‘we provide products at your doorstep’ one other give importance to ‘Best and Multi-facilitated Experience’. But who exactly is providing the best value is a tough decision for customers. However, customers are facing these decisions on a routine basis. The job does not end here; their interaction with the middleman and third-party collaborators also going deep and vital.

The Web of Multi-Brands

A customer who is buying Fastrack (Tata) watch at Amazon is using the card of HSBC bank, the payment gateway of Visa, the discount code given by Vodafone, and finally, delivery of the product is given by DHL. In process of buying a watch, a customer is coming in touch with multiple companies and, buying decisions get influenced at different points. Be it online or, offline purchase the case is quite similar. Multi-Brand outlets such as Shoppersstop and Big Bazar, a customer experiences almost the same process.

The reason is simple; today’s arena is largely characterized by rapid internationalization of business and accelerating the globalization. Competition on a global scale has thus begun to emerge and affects all types of products as well as customers. In particular, the recent years become increasingly committed to operating in global markets. Buying patterns are a multifaceted set of supply and demand forces including, macro, micro and product-related aspects. Customers simultaneously aim at achieving the lower prices and higher benefits. Therefore, we can assume that customers across the globe have benefited substantially from the global marketing activities. But the global marketplace has always been vibrant and complex in terms of the changes it brings.

Customer Response Matters

Customer response seems a complex puzzle for the organizations to solve. One school believes that response to marketing activities of a firm reflects in customer response to product/services. Another school believes, the process of managing customer response is playing with the human mindset. However, companies keep on investing their efforts on customer evaluations, preferences and behaviour upon any brand along with marketing mix activities. Customer response is generally referred to the processing of perception from comparative evaluations, preferences and experience.

At the same time, there is a strong influence on market characteristics. The customer is the king of the market. Customers boost the brand and customers spoil the brand. Therefore, customer and supplier relationship; global branding; production and supply chain decisions; customer loyalty; country of origin; nostalgic effects; word-of-mouth, and also post purchase responses are the points where companies need to bounce their mind.

Internet and digital sources have made communication more convenient for both the marketers as well as consumers. This is shaping and giving a new outlook to the consumer response. Advanced technology provides a fundamentally different environment to sellers for managing the customer response and motivates the customers to buy more. Companies will have more freedom to locate a service or product where it can be best in demand, rather than near the nearby market.

Digital sources have turned up as revolutionary tools on recreating the environmental site of business by providing many versatile ways that firms can employ to cultivate and maintain customer relationships, and empowering businesses to interact globally with customers in ways that were impossible before. This mega-trend is a new business norm not only in the developed world but also in emerging markets. For example, Facebook enables many small and medium companies to promote and communicate their products globally, while Alibaba also facilitates the early internationalization of numerous Chinese exporters.

The rapid world of digitalization also offers many new ways to customers in applying numerous filters, comparisons, evaluations while making a purchase decision. However, this global arena brings challenges to business organizations in designing and implementation of their offerings. For example, firms nowadays have to maintain multiple touch points on various digital & social media platforms around the world. Furthermore, fierce and dysfunctional competition (such as counterfeit products on various digital platforms) makes effective promotion and product introduction more challenging.

In the nutshell

In today’s arena buying patterns are boundary free; we wake up in the morning with the help of Japanese alarm clock. At breakfast we eat Indomie or drink Maxwell or Colombian coffee and eat bread made of wheat from America. We glance at advertisement for French wine in the newspapers. Many of the goods and services we consume each day are available at every part of the globe. Symbolizing, it is very important for a customer to decide what to buy and what not to buy? At the same time companies are more curious to escape STP tripod and implement a holistic way to sell their product.

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