New Delhi: Artificial intelligence (AI) is a key ingredient in enhancing customer experience, said Jodie Sangster, CMO Liaison Lead, IBM Watson, on Tuesday.

Sangster was speaking in the inaugural episode of HT Brand Studio Series—a monthly series which gets the brains behind India’s top brands to decode marketing innovations and more.

The event is telecast live from the HT newsroom, and is co-hosted by HT Brand Studio and DMAasia.

The first chapter revolved around customer journeys and how brands are evolving to match the needs of empowered consumers.

Sangster, while talking about how customer service has transformed dramatically over the years, said, “Today, you cannot understand your customer without the use of AI. The technology helps monitor customer behaviour as well as external events."

The discussion was followed by Pallavi Singh, Head of Marketing at MG Motor India, sharing her views on micro-influencer marketing.

“Micro-influencers are a huge buzzword now. All brands need to find who the real influencers are, and nurture them through their brand stories," said Singh, adding that brands should also look at how communities can create impact.

On how companies can maintain the authenticity of their influencer marketing campaigns, Singh said, “This can happen only with time. It is the people of the organizations who are responsible for building this trust."

Krishnan Chatterjee, CCO and Head of Marketing, SAP, joined Pallavi in offering a B2B perspective on influencer marketing and increasing brand advocacy among users.

The third segment focused on how brands, creative agencies, and digital marketers, along with publishers, can create omnichannel and seamless customer experiences. Among the panelists Kedar Apte (Vice-president of Marketing, Castrol India), Shams Jasani (Group MD, Isobar South Asia), Prasad Rai (Vice-president of applications, Oracle), and Megha Tata (COO, BTVI).

Both Apte and Tata agreed that it was important to not only reach out to customers through multiple touchpoints, but to also find a consistent mode of communication.

The talk then progressed into digitization, with Jasani stressing how all legacy brands should harness technology to understand their customers better. Rai, in particular, spoke about the emergence of machine learning in most businesses today.

The episode ended with Matt Sullivan, managing director of International Echo Awards, examining whether customer-centric campaigns are the ones that are the most successful. Sullivan also outlined how data is driving most business strategies today.

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