Ravi Desai on why customer obsession rules Amazon

Day 1 of Goafest 2019 saw Ravi Desai - Director, Mass & Brand Marketing, Amazon India talk about the shift in trends of marketing to consumers today. He highlighted how earlier perception drove usage, but today usage drives perception. 

There’s a paradigm shift in targeting – previously a pen-portrait of broad clusters were made to characterise the consumer, but now it is the process of creating specific unique customisation for individual customers. Customer touchpoints are old-school, now it is all about product experience, which is what maximises impact. 

He summed it up by saying, “In order to become disruptors, one has to analyse and understand demonstrated behaviour, democratise benefits and anticipate the needs of your customer – the essence of customer obsession.” 

Adgully caught up with Ravi Desai for a brief tete-a-tete. 

You mentioned that you have made 100,000 creatives. Do you believe that communication needs to be personalised for the metro audiences as well as for the Tier 2 & 3 markets?
100,000 is just a number; if you look at the principle behind the creatives, each individual customer has needs that are very different. Understanding those needs and addressing them help the customer make their decision. 

With phrases like ‘Aur Dikhao’ and ‘Kitne Mein Mila’, Amazon’s communication resonates with everyday usage of the customers. What is the strategy behind the messaging?
Customer obsession is what goes behind it. We work really hard to correctly capture the right Indian customer insights. We see how we can marry the brand insight to what the message needs to be. If you look at the communication, the ‘Aur Dikhao’ insight is right there for everyone to see. You probably saw us do ‘Apni Dukaan’ as part of our campaigns last year. That campaign was also rooted in the insight that every Indian family has this kirana store that they trust and have grown up with. Our most recent campaign, ‘Kitne Mein Mila’, was also rooted in Indian consumers seeking quality but at great prices. 

What is your strategy to tap into traditional buyers and impulsive buyers?
Every media has a role to play, depending on the context. The base level awareness about the sale is created on the mass platform, whereas for more individualised and personalised communication, mostly digital platforms are used to speak to customers directly. 

Are you looking to build an offline presence?
I won’t be able to talk about future plans. However, our services like Amazon Pay and Amazon Prime are an extension of us trying to fulfill our customers’ needs. Amazon Prime is a great service product built on top of the best of Amazon. We bring the best of shopping, deals, speed and other digital benefits, all brought together under this programme called Prime. For us, it is about adding benefits to Prime so that we make it an even more compelling proposition for our Prime members. If we extend beyond the set of benefits we have today, it would suffice to say that we would keep working hard for both our current and future Prime customers to add relevance to the offering. 

Where is the next phase of growth going to be come from?
The growth is coming from the adoption end as well. We are seeing millions of customers adopt Amazon as their first port of choice on their online shopping journeys. We are seeing millions of customers adopt streaming services on Amazon Prime Video. We have seen Prime customers engage with Amazon across our different services and touchpoints, so there is growth coming from that end. Our approach to growth is more focused towards customers’ needs and then backwards, as opposed to just revenue growth. 

How has 2018 been for the company?
2018 was a fantastic year. We progressed on building the right kind of customer experiences on the services, digital benefits, and selection side. We probably had the best selection for Diwali in 2018. The Great Indian Festival had almost 170 million products and more. It had 300,000 sellers active on our platform. All of these metrics are looking healthy and are growing on a day to day basis.


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