Data is powerful in building a brand: Zain Raj, global CEO, Euro RSCG Discovery

By Savia Jane Pinto , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | October 12, 2009
A combination of research and data is an important tool when a brand looks at delivering its brand promise

Zain Raj, global chief executive officer, Euro RSCG Discovery, the North American customer relationship and behavioural marketing agency network of Euro RSCG Worldwide, was in the city a couple of days ago. Raj, who also heads Euro RSCG Worldwide's global retail practice, was here to speak about data analysis and its scope beyond loyalty programmes.

Raj has more than 20 years of experience in CRM (customer relationship management) and loyalty marketing. He has been developing behavioural strategies and behavioural marketing programmes for brands so that the brands deliver on promises.

In conversation with afaqs!, Raj shares how data will soon be at the centre of activity for a brand.

India is one of the countries that are becoming growth drivers. A lot of Indian clients are starting to look at the power of data and how that will help them compete in the new economy. "The traditional research is qualitative and quantitative, which asks consumers questions and collects responses. The responses here are attitudinal and we've discovered what they tell you is not necessarily how they behave," says Raj.

What the consumer says in a research may not necessarily be what the consumer does. Hence, data about the consumer is collated by tracking what the consumer buys, uses, says or likes, and using the data and research such that the grey areas (of whether a core consumer group will accept or reject a product) become minimal, says Raj.

Companies and brands in the west have been collecting consumer data for many years but it's only recently that the need to put that data to bigger use has risen.

The use of data is becoming powerful to companies not just to do marketing programmes but to run their businesses. He gave an example of Tesco, the US retail chain, which uses data of what its customer is buying, where they buy, how much they spend and how purchases have changed. This helps Tesco decide when to open new stores, where to open new stores, what products need to be added, when the products should be included and also what price range to maintain.

Raj adds that Indian companies have an edge over companies that have had huge stores of data. Indian companies can first understand what sort of data they need to learn and then start out with the right information and build the right database, thus being more effective instead of having hordes of databases and not putting it to the right use.

Mailers and personal mails are just the tip of the iceberg in using customer data, he says. "Data is powerful when a brand can incorporate the learning into the brand as well," Raj shares, adding, "and companies that use data to serve customers better are the ones that will move ahead."

The categories that will benefit from data are retail, telecom, financial services such as insurance, mutual funds and banks, automotive, hospitality and even travel.

© 2009 afaqs!