Jaldi 5 with Dominic Powers, Epsilon: Indian brands beginning to understand value of analytics

22 Oct,2013

By Johnson Napier


As the global leader in creating customer connections that build brand and business equity, Epsilon harnesses the power of rich data, world-leading technologies, engaging creativity and transformative ideas to ignite connections between brands and customers. With an office in India, Epsilon’s Senior Vice President & Managing Director, International, Dominic Powers shares his plans for the country and how he sees loyalty and analytics performing for his firm in the country.


With a host of new digital offerings springing up intermittently and with technology undergoing tectonic changes quite often, how do you ensure that Epsilon stays ahead of the curve?

Technology is a means to an end, an enabler.While it is important for Epsilon to be fully aware of new and emerging technologies, more importantly we need to understand the opportunities for these technologies to change the way consumers interact with brands, products or service providers, and whether they provide opportunities for marketers to drive deep consumer relationships and ultimately deliver on a business or revenue objective.


1a. How have marketers responded to the evolving CRM / Direct Marketing initiatives from entities such as yours?

There is a tendency for marketers to believe that the more data they have access too, the more successful they can be; but unfortunately this is not always true. A large part of our work in the Asia Pacific region, and to some extent in Europe is to work with marketers to help them understand that not all data is created equally. Two of the new Vs of big data are: Value and Veracity, and to me these are the key areas that marketers must focus on. Does the data point add any value to the marketing programme, and will it help drive the required business outcome? Veracity points to the accuracy of the data; in other words, can it be trusted as a source? If not it may negatively impact the efforts of the marketer, and its use must be carefully assessed.


How do you see the twain arms of Loyalty & Analytics performing for you in a market like India?

With disposable incomes increasing in India, it is developing into a very consumer-driven market. Whether for automobile, consumer packaged goods or travel, Indian consumers are like their Western peers, looking for value for money and quality. Loyalty cannot be bought; it must be earned, and ultimately comes from a product or brand delivering on their promise and enriching the consumer’s life in someway. Loyalty is the icing on the proverbial cake – deliver on your brand promise and you can start to build a relationship with a consumer that is symbiotic; analytics can help you better understand how that relationship is growing amongst your different segments of consumers, across products, across geographic locations, and ultimately at the individual consumer level. Indian brands are now starting to understand the value of analytics as part of the loyalty equation, and are keen to learn the best practices being adopted overseas.


03. How would you analyse Epsilon’s growth from markets across the globe?

Epsilon has seen unprecedented growth over the last 3 years to become the largest marketing services company in North America, and #2 Worldwide. We continue to focus on the needs of our global clients, while not forgetting their local in market needs. Similarly we understand the needs of local home grown brands as they look to become national or global.


As we grow to be what we call the agency of the future, we will continue to invest in bringing big data together with big ideas to help our clients build meaningful and valuable relationships with their target consumers, and drive business outcomes.


3a, Which are the emerging markets that you seek to tap in the months to come?

India is still an emerging market as investment in marketing services is still relatively small, and programmes that are in place generally small scale and single dimension. There is still a lot to be done to help Indian companies understand the value of a data-driven omnichannel approach.


Outside of India the same applies to South East Asia, China, and Eastern Europe.


04. Do you see brands/marketers shying away from seeking services from Epsilon given the tough economic climate prevailing at the moment?

On the contrary, smart marketers understand they need to retain customers whom they have worked hard to win; and the old adage rings true: it is five times more expensive to win a new customer than to retain an existing one.


05. What is your growth strategy for India in the year to come?

We are working on delivering greater value to our existing client base, and expanding the programmes that are already in place. We are also looking to tap into more vertical markets in India, and to educate them on the value that smart, data-driven marketing can bring. The challenge is finding local talent to join us on this journey.


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