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Interview - Digital Disruption: Plan, Plot and Invest

January, 2017

R. S. Agarwal, Founder & Executive Chairman, Emami Ltd.

R. S. Goenka, Founder & Whole-time Director, Emami Ltd.

Due to digitalization, every business has to change how to operate and interact with their customers

According to independent research, Indian e-commerce sector will grow at a CAGR of 36% from 2015 to 2020. What is Emami’s digital strategy to leverage this growth potential?

R.S. Agarwal & R.S. Goenka: E-commerce and retail are up for a dramatic industry shift and commerce is switching to digital. For Emami, e-commerce and e-retailing is a critical part of the sales and marketing process. It helps in new customer  acquisition, sales growth, and generating existing customer loyalty. Emami has realized the need to expand the efforts on this front and have forayed in the domain by adapting best of market practices and inducing online as one of the pillars for marketing.

Digital revolution has empowered your customers with more information and more options to choose from. What has been Emami’s plan to align with this evolving business paradigm?

RSA & RSG: Modern Marketing naturally focuses on the customer and at Emami we’ve focused on use of Customer Personas as part of Customer Digital Experience Management. The communication and digital marketing activations are customized as per the understanding  of the specific category consumer and his intent for information and choice. This practice ensures the deliverance of best user experience via Emami digital initiatives.

How is Emami using digitally enabled best practices to make its supply chain more efficient and cost effective?

RSA & RSG: Emami has realized that digitization as a critical element that has evolved over the traditional supply chains toward an efficiently connected, smart and highly effective digital supply chain ecosystem. Emami is incorporating the "guided buying experience" used by online retailers for procurement processes through various e-commerce channels like Amazon & Flipkart .

FMCG sector has seen a lot of developments in the digital marketing space. How is Emami capitalizing on this new avenue to create mindshare among customers?

RSA & RSG: Evolution of digital marketing has changed the marketing mix for FMCG sector - changing the way marketers communicate. Emami focuses on digital marketing strategies that adhere to consumer insights in developing the right content, integrates with most the efficient channels and endorsements to conform to the continuously changing media landscape.

Emami operates in a sector with high degree of technology interventions. In your opinion what are the policy enablers to accelerate the adoption of digitally enabled global best practices among Indian FMCG companies?  

RSA & RSG: The true value of transformation often comes from seeing value across silos and then helping everyone else realize the same. FMCG companies have to address the digital marketing transition not by radically replacing the old with the new, but rather by transforming some of the existing resources and competencies for the new environment. It also requires understanding when traditional assets and sources of advantage start with diminishing returns. The sector will thrive in digital transformation not by doing something completely new, but by taking advantage of one’s capabilities to gain advantage through digitization.

With digital interventions, Indian businesses are seeing improvement in customer experience, productivity and turnaround time. In your opinion, what should be the strategic focus – disrupting with new technology or improving existing technology for competitive advantage?

RSA & RSG: Today due to digital, every business has to change how to operate and interact with their customers every day. Long term digital strategies are no longer valid or sustainable as change is a constant feature. Emami is adopting digital technologies like IOT, Big Data Analytics, Mobility. We incorporate the future trends onto the digital platforms and address them before the transformation process could begin.

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