How IT can help Sales and Marketing leverage technology?

Deepak Malhotra’s role at Kellogg’s India is unique in the sense that he is the bridge between Sales and Marketing. He defines his career goal to be fountainhead of future technology-based innovations and is fulfilling that in his current stint as the IT Business Partner, Sales and Marketing at Kellogg Company.

The role of a Marketing Technologist is an emerging role in the Indian Industry. It would be interesting to know about your roles and responsibilities as a Marketing Technologist at Kellogg.

Deepak: I am the country IT business partner for sales and marketing at Kellogg. Everything that the sales team does is integrated with technology in our organisation, in case of marketing we are just making a start and I see immense potential.

Before I joined Kellogg, all our analytics was on excel. We keep getting these shared analyses from Nielsen, consumer data from IMRB and lot of stuff from our social platforms. Now, we trying to consolidate all these data sources, put them into a global analytics and visualisation platform. We are starting small, so whatever we are rolling right now is about descriptive analytics i.e. it talks about what already happened. Our vision for 2020 is to get all these data sources together and to have predictive analytics to enable a better marketing strategy.

You mentioned your role includes evaluation of technology for these teams. From an organisational structure where do you fit in, are you part of the Business or IT Team?

Deepak: I am in the IT team of the organisation. I partner with business and understand the problems that they have. I have to interact with various sales and marketing team members to understand their business problems. The sales team is more decentralised. I work with a lot of IT vendors and get into the market to evaluate them to get them on board. I am responsible for delivery part as well.

In marketing we have a more structured team; for each of the solution or product there are global product managers. I interact with them to understand the problem areas. Then understand which product will be suitable for them and coordinate with the delivery person to implement it for our country. I am responsible for evaluation and adoption of technology.

“Technology is part of every sales function but for marketing we are still defining the digital operating model.”

You are in-charge of technology implementation in both sales and marketing. Do you face confusion about who owns the budget when it comes to buying technology for either of them?

Deepak: For sales it is very clear that we own the budget. Adoption of technology in sales has been a decade long. For marketing the budget are still with marketing. So as we define the roles in marketing then I think things will be clearer in terms of who is responsible for the budget.

How difficult is it to work together with sales and marketing at the same time to implement technology for them?

Deepak: The partnership with sales side is excellent and they understand the value which we bring to the table. Technology is part of every sales function. For marketing we are still defining the digital operating model in terms of who plays what role. Till now marketing was functioning autonomously and they used to do a lot of stuff with agencies. Now a lot of investment has moved from the traditional media to the digital media. Which gives them an opportunity to analyse the spends, CRM, product launch etc. But we are in the middle of transition and roles are still getting defined. Over the next 3-6 months, our goal is to define our marketing technology landscape and the roles and responsibilities for everyone.

“We have a CMS platform called the Adobe Experience Manager and for Analytics and Data Visualisation we use Tableau.”

You mentioned about IT vendors supporting you? Do they help you with implementation and integration of different products that you have in your organisation?

Deepak: We don’t make software in-house, we get them from the market. So these IT vendors are solution providers for us. Sometimes they are also responsible for integration. For example, for analytics and visualization we have the solution Tableau, which is one of the market leaders and easy to use. The role of the IT vendor here is to help us connect all our data sources and put it into the huge data warehouse through which all analytics and visualisation happens.

Is this data warehouse a central engine collecting all data across the organisation?

Deepak: It depends on what kind of analytics you want to run, for example, if you want to check a brand score card, for that we will need our sales data which we can pull from ERP, SAP, Oracle etc. and then put it into data warehouse. We also need shared data which comes from market research agencies like Nielsen, which we will put in the data warehouse. We need data from the social listening side which is consolidated in Crimson Hexagon which is pulled and again put in the data warehouse. So we put in whatever is required and it doesn’t happen automatically. It depends on the region and state for which the analytics is needed.

Currently are you using any type of Marketing Automation Solution (MAS) in your organisation?

Deepak: For the website, we have a standard platform across Kellogg’s globally called the Adobe Experience Manager which is a CMS. All our website content is rolled out through that. For Analytics and Data Visualisation we have Tableau. For Social Listening, we have a tool called Crimson Hexagon, which was recently rolled out for India team. Another tool that we are right now looking at is a Media Procurement System, we will use this to automate the entire cycle of planning, execution and tracking of media. This is something that we are looking at and should have it by this year.

“Technology requires a huge investment and unless we see ROI out of that, it is of no use.”

For basic marketing channels like email, voice and SMS do you have systems in place?

Deepak: For Email Marketing, we are using our centralized CRM, it is from Epsilon. This houses all our consumer data and is used for sending emails. Mobile is more local and we are looking for a partner for sending bulk SMS.

Are you adopting technology from your global team and localising some part of it as per your need?

Deepak: Most of the marketing tools which we leverage are used by Kellogg’s globally. India is a very peculiar market with very complex distribution. Whatever we are selecting for India becomes the standard for global emerging market as well. For example, there was a Salesforce automation tool which we selected last year and rolled out in India which has become a global standard for emerging markets. In countries like Mexico, Russia and many Latin American countries the same tool is getting deployed.

In your organisation how do you evaluate the ROI of technology investment?

Deepak: I think that’s the area of focus of every company. Technology requires a huge investment and unless we see ROI out of that, it is of no use. For Salesforce automation, I can give you an example which I have been dealing for the past year and a half, there we ensured that we make a business case and track its progress. We have put check points at various stages and unless we see the ROI coming out of the first 500 sales men, we are not going out to the entire country. We are doing this for some of the bigger initiatives as well.

However, it is very difficult to get ROI out of something like Analytics. That is more of a foundational capability and that’s something which we don’t track. For content management system, it’s more of standardization, it is a platform which we use globally. I am sure at the global level they are doing an ROI analysis for that but at a regional level it is more about standardising and getting on to the same platform.

What is you expectation from B2C Marketing Automation Report India, 2017?

Deepak: From the Report I would like to understand what is the Marketing Technology landscape in India and what are the other brands doing in terms of adoption of MAS.