I was curious to know the role analytics plays in diverse organizations and hence reached out to Vaibhav Dalal, Head Analytics and Digital for Lifestyle at Raymond Limited. Read on.
Tell us about yourself and your past experiences.
Well, it has been a conventional start. I pursued my Engineering from Mumbai University and took up a job with Accenture. I got introduced to the nuances of the corporate world and was exposed to the workings of large companies early on. Within a year, I became adept in the use of Business Intelligence & Analytics technologies. Although I learnt a great deal and enjoyed my overall experience during this time, I started to experience this niggling feeling that something was lacking. I was excelling at mywork, however, deep down, I knew that I could do much more than this.
I wanted to explore how all the technical work “fit” into the scheme of things from a business perspective.
Overseas client-facing exposure is a very valuable experience and significantly transforms a person’s outlook and perspective. I worked in US for a couple of years with a Fortune 100 retailer where I was directly interacting with marketing and supply chain teams. This marked a transformational point in my professional life and I transitioned from a primarily technical role to that of a Business Analyst & Project Manager. Thereafter, there was no looking back.
Post working at JP Morgan, I felt a need to get a formal business degree to buttress my skills in management and get a holistic organizational perspective. After 8 years of work-ex, I joined XLRI to pursue my MBA. The course was gruesome but managed to have a lot of fun and re-living college life with late-night hangouts at Bishu-Da (canteen), cultural events, village & adventure trips and loads of jamming sessions.
How did you choose to specialize in analytics? Tell us about your current role at Raymond Limited.
Getting into analytics was pure coincidence! Back in 2004, Accenture had a lot of projects in BI & Analytics but there was a severe crunch of talent. I was lucky to be at the right place at the right time. I underwent Green Field training in BI technologies and from there, my analytics journey started. Post MBA, I moved into marketing and currently am heading digital marketing for all lifestyle brands at Raymond along with ecommerce and customer analytics.
In last one year itself, we’ve made significant progress and have won multiple awards for loyalty, ecommerce and digital including two awards for digital marketing excellence in retail and ecommerce at recently held ad:tech in India.
Every organization is talking about digital transformation, what are your views on it?
We’re living in a VUCA world (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous). Every organization is thinking about disruption and how to sustain and fast track business in these volatile times. Digital transformation is one such mechanism to stay relevant in this fast changing world.
To me, digital transformation is all about design thinking, which is synonymous with customer-centric thinking i.e.designing for a better customer experience.
And the two pillars of design thinking are data analytics & content. It starts with understanding who your customer is, what are her touch points with the organization and how does the organization engage and respond to her with relevant content. The beauty of digital lies in its measurability, with accurately understanding your customer profile, sharp targeting them with relevant content and measuring engagement with high precision.
How should analytics head/team collaborate with others involved in digital marketing to be successful?
Marketing and analytics go hand-in-hand. Titles such as Chief Digital Officer & Chief Marketing Technologist are on the rise, which emphasize the overlaps between marketing & technology worlds.
Marketing is no longer about selling products/services to customers. It’s now an upside-down view with all about understanding your customers and prospects and tailoring your products/services according to their needs.
You can understand your customer’s demographic, behavioural and psychographic profile beautifully in today’s digital environment and sharp target through customer segmentation with relevant content on platforms where your customers are predominantly present. No other channel allows you to do that with that precision.
Your future plans.
Digital Transformation through Design Thinking, Digital Marketing & Analytics is an exciting place to be right now. You not only get to understand customers better but also get the power to change the way business operates based on that understanding.
Thanks for the insightful expression of your knowledge Vaibhav.