Profile: Chitkala Nishandar, Marketing Operations Lead, Asia Pacific, Consumer Business, 3M

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Profile: Chitkala Nishandar, Marketing Operations Lead, Asia Pacific, Consumer Business, 3M

By Erika Flynn - 05/01/2019

Location: Singapore

Experience in market: 13 years in Asia

My job: “I am responsible for planning and ensuring the right execution of regional integrated brand communication programs, online and offline, in the Asia-Pacific region. I also lead the insights and planning function for the region for our consumer business.”

The path to purchase: “As data becomes cheaper in Asia, the use of mobile phones to search, view content and transact purchases has become commonplace. It varies vastly across the region, though. For higher value products, there’s more pre-search involved; even for lower-end products that offer innovation/differentiation, online pre-search is becoming increasingly relevant. Having a strong digital footprint is important, as well as word of mouth. This has changed in a big way over recent times.”

Shopping/buying stage: “This is where comparisons become important. There is more fluidity offline to online and vice versa in Asia. It’s important for retailers to work with their vendors/manufacturers on building a strong omnichannel strategy. As the cost of having promoters in-store becomes more constraining, we need to rely on more electronic in-store media or online to support marketing and other demand-generation activities. When consumers are buying, it’s important to have retargeting, improve ratings and reviews, have relevant and updated content, and build ongoing promotional plans.”

Collaboration: “Retailers are usually quite collaborative and looking for win-win solutions. Increasingly, they are aware that they need to partner with manufacturers to build programs that are mutually beneficial and will bring in footfalls, increasing the shopper’s overall basket. The ability of the manufacturer to leverage insights data and POS data to build strategic recommendations is critical. We used simulated planograms to model expected outcomes on sales impact in Australia. The learnings not only helped our customer adjust existing shelf plans, but also helped other country teams when they used the information to input into their plans and share with their local partners.”

Successful activity: “To grow a mature home improvement solutions business in Taiwan, we developed a comprehensive learnings plan through shopper insights. Working with our retail partners, we conducted in-store shopper observations and intercepts to build an understanding of the shopper behavior in-store, which helped us build a joint plan on planogram changes to increase shoppability and ease of navigation at the shelf. Understanding the shopper needs, persona and touchpoints also helped to develop a more targeted strategy to accelerate sales with the right portfolio, resulting in a significant growth in the business with our customer.”

Keeps you up at night: “Constantly ensuring we have the right programs along the entire shopper journey to support the excellent and innovative product offerings from the 3M stable; ensuring we have a data-driven media and communication strategy; and keeping pace with the high speed of transformation in Asia Pacific – both in terms of consumers and customers.”

E-commerce: “E-commerce development varies widely across Asia Pacific, with China being the most developed in terms of size and growth as well as the evolution in technologies that support its growth, followed by Korea. That includes agility in integrated marketing across digital touchpoints and the utilization of big data. The seamless shopper journey across communication touchpoints to the digital marketplace and digital payment options has enabled a dramatic transformation in how consumers access a wide spectrum of choices.”