Pain points of targeting consumers with complex purchase behaviour in omnichannel landscape

During a panel discussion at the launch of MRSI's new Socio-economic Classification System, 'ISEC', marketers delve into the complexities of targeting consumers with multi-linear purchase behaviours

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Pain points of targeting consumers with complex purchase behaviour in omnichannel landscape

During a panel discussion, coinciding with the launch of the Market Research Society of India (MRSI)’s new Socio-economic Classification System, ‘ISEC’, marketers deliberated on the challenges of targeting consumers, who are served with a plethora of brands to choose from and have different media consumption habits.

Starting the discussion, Jasmine Sachdeva, Managing Partner at Wavemaker India, pointed out that consumers today are inundated with choices, unlike in the past. Consequently, brands need to adapt their approaches to effectively engage with them.

Jasmine Sachdeva

She said, “Marketing has become more complex. With an abundance of choices available to consumers, coupled with shifts in media consumption habits and advertising responsiveness, it is crucial for us to adopt varied targeting strategies to effectively engage with them.”

According to Vivek Malhotra, Group CMO of India Today Group, having an omnichannel view of the customer is a far-fetched dream.

“The biggest challenge for me is to have a single view of the customer. Previously, the focus was primarily on radio, newspapers, and television. Fast forward to today, even within the digital realm, achieving a comprehensive view of customers remains elusive. Just as one believes they've deciphered consumption patterns on platforms like YouTube, a platform like WhatsApp Channel emerges. Ultimately, the key question is how to effectively segment consumers to enhance service delivery,” shared Malhotra.

Muralidhar Salvateeswaran

Moving ahead in the discussion, Muralidhar Salvateeswaran, Chief Operations Officer at Insights APAC, Kantar, highlighted that consumer purchasing behaviour has shifted away from linear patterns towards a more multi-linear approach. Consequently, it's no longer viable to categorise them strictly into premium or mass segments.

“The way a consumer makes choices for one category versus the other could be completely different. A consumer might opt for premium choices in one category that holds particular relevance to them, while preferring more mass-market options in another,” said Salvateeswaran.

Vinay Virwani

Amidst the increasing complexity of consumer targeting, Vinay Virwani, Head of Consumer Insights at Dabur India, highlighted how e-commerce and direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands have facilitated mass customisation and precise consumer targeting.

However, Virwani underscored that the primary challenge lies in targeting Generation Z and Generation Alpha, as they represent the future consumer base. Balancing sustainable business growth with profitability remains a crucial objective in this endeavour.

According to Shuvadip Banerjee, Chief Digital Marketing Officer at ITC and General Secretary of MRSI, one significant challenge is achieving segments of profitable growth within brand categories that have reached saturation. Additionally, measuring the effectiveness of marketing initiatives targeting audiences with complex consumer behaviours poses another obstacle.

“Deciphering the best approach to engage with consumers by understanding their psychology, purchasing behaviour, and demographics is undoubtedly challenging. Although we've achieved some successes in specific areas, there's still much ground to cover in the future.”

Amit Adarkar

As per Amit Adarkar, CEO, IPSOS, India, paying attention to the country’s demographics is of utmost importance. He emphasised that a common oversight in market research is failing to pose the appropriate questions to the relevant demographic groups.

“Our perceptions of India may be fixed, but over the past five years, significant and ongoing changes have occurred. Notably, the traditional roles of men and women within households have evolved,” he added.

Rajiv Dubey

Rajiv Dubey, Head of Media at Dabur India, remarked that although consumer habits and media structures have evolved, the enduring business challenges of growth persist, especially amidst saturation across various product categories.

He said, “The penetration rate of oral care products has undergone a significant transformation, soaring from 60-65% in the 1990s to a staggering 99% today. Similarly, hair care brands, once at a penetration rate of around 60-65%, have also surged to reach 99%.”

TV Today Dabur Kantar Ipsos consumer behaviour MRSI consumer omnichannel ISEC