Marketing heads from Marico, Mondelez, Tata CLiQ, and others share their learnings from 2023.
As the curtains close on 2023, we’re in that sweet spot of the year where marketers get to look back and assess their year-long efforts while tippy-toeing into a new year with new ambitions.
Let’s talk about how 2023 was a year of cricket and cricket fans. Right from the get-go we saw IPL take centre stage, followed by Asia Cup and then the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup. All of this was supplemented by an eventful festive season and some hot television properties in MasterChef and KBC.
AI was at the forefront too, steadily cementing its place in the marketers' toolkit, it seems. The year was riddled with AI-led campaigns from all sorts of categories. This also raised some eyebrows in terms of safe practices and perhaps redundancies.
With this eventful year coming to a close, let's put the spotlight on the year ahead. afaqs! engaged with influential voices across various industry categories to glean insights into their top learnings from 2023 and their projections for 2024, shedding light on the anticipated trends and challenges within their respective brands and sectors.
Somasree Bose Awasthi, CMO, Marico Limited
Looking back at the year, we have yet again realised the importance of being agile and adaptive to rapidly evolving consumer preferences. Given the growing digital interconnectedness over the last few decades, consumer expectations have evolved beyond just wanting good products and customer service. The new generation of consumers is driving the redefinition of customer experience in the FMCG industry. They demand far more seamless, convenient, and personalised experiences extending across touchpoints to form a deeper connection with the brands they buy from. Thus, future-ready CMOs are adopting new-age tools to meet progressive consumer expectations.
For instance, at Marico, we have employed a social listening tool to gauge trends in today’s digital age. An end-to-end in-house digital team has been created to manage brands across multiple markets and product verticals, the initiative has become a comprehensive source of social media data about consumer needs and sentiments. This has allowed us to improve the social media performance and customer satisfaction levels of our key brands and led to the creation of newer premium brands.
Furthermore, as consumers are becoming conscious of the social impact driven by brands, they are increasingly gravitating towards brands that promote sustainability and environmental responsibility. Thus, the brands of tomorrow need to lay a purpose-led foundation, being conscious of their responsibility towards the consumers and society to foster trust and loyalty with their customers.
Nitin Saini, vice president of marketing, Mondelez India
2023 was a very dynamic year and required us to continuously adapt to the changing consumer and marketing landscape. As we enter 2024, marketing will continue to be a key growth driver for Mondelez.
Some of our key priorities will include continuing our journey on personalising at scale, leveraging technology to drive effective engagement, and innovating to provide distinct and novel snacking experiences to our evolving consumers.
In the end, great ideas rooted in strong consumer insights will remain our key focus and the driving force for everything we do.
Mohua Das Gupta, head of marketing, Tata CLiQ Luxury
This year has been exciting in terms of building new channels and bolstering the existing channels of our marketing and communication strategies. From a performance point of view, with the growing level of competition and increasing customer acquisition costs (CACs), I've come to understand that over-indexing on performance may not be the best way forward.
It's imperative to consider brand marketing and other scalable channels in addition to performance marketing. Investing efforts in building strong storytelling that is engaging and resonates with the needs of consumers, whose needs are constantly evolving, is one way to go. This will go a long way towards building sustainable growth for the brand. To that effect, AI has been the buzzword this year. It has made it easier to create high-quality content and creatives at a significantly lower cost.
As we step into the new year, AI will continue to trend as businesses harness the power of this technology across all formats, including text, audio, statics, videos, and channel-specific personalization. In addition, as platforms transition to a world without cookies, developing a solid and high-quality customer base using first-party data will become even more important. From a CRM perspective, WhatsApp will play an important role in driving user personalisation and will also become a key revenue channel for several mid-sized e-commerce businesses.
Adithya Raj, sales & marketing head – wearables division, Titan Company Limited
In the smart wearables market category, the year 2023 marked a pivotal year for the industry, witnessing unprecedented growth and success. The market has seen an extraordinary surge in consumer adoption and technological advancements. In India, the category witnessed over 50% market growth in the first half of 2023. Within Titan Wearables, Fastrack Smart led the Smart wearables category and established a strong foothold in the market as we grew to 7.7% market share from 1.7% in 2022.
The strategic fusion of technology with a relentless commitment to user-centric design catapulted the market category to new heights in 2023. Our commitment towards delivering high-quality products with designs that resonate well with consumers has played an important role in the journey so far. With trends and innovations changing at a frequent pace, Fastrack Smart jumped the ship with a wide range of product offerings and a massive campaign by introducing Ranveer Singh as the brand ambassador, captivating Gen Z through our 'Follow Yourself' campaign that led to establishing ourselves as a fashion-tech brand.
Looking ahead to 2024, the industry is poised for continued expansion and evolution. We anticipate a proliferation of intelligent functionalities, seamless connectivity, and an array of stylish designs that not only elevate user experiences but also resonate with diverse consumer preferences. Anticipating further growth, we foresee the e-commerce and retail markets expanding significantly in this category.
Ankit Daga, director of McNROE
2023 marked a period of adaptation as we navigated the ever-shifting marketing landscape. Preferences and behaviours evolved, necessitating constant interaction with the target audience to stay ahead. Taking a digital-first approach gained our brands better visibility, and also translated into a wider offline impact. We're particularly excited about the men's grooming industry, which is expected to reach $115 billion by 2028.
Heading into 2024, our focus will be on formulating innovative e-commerce strategies while placing customers at the core of our approach. A keen understanding of their needs will enable us to provide genuinely valuable solutions. The modern Indian has disposable income to spend and knows about the best fragrances.
Consumers, in general, set their own trends and practices based on their evaluations, and there is a growing demand for niche fragrances. Acknowledging the increasing significance of online shopping in some categories, we aim to firmly establish ourselves in this dynamic market.
Our overarching goal is to treat each product as a unique experience, tailoring our approach to diverse customer preferences through compelling and personal storytelling, no matter the medium.