Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Epsilon's Ashish Sinha on transforming customer experiences, driving shifts in the adtech-martech space

My priority is to keep my people inspired about the possibilities they have to change the world of marketing. And to continue to find purpose in our ability to create happy clients and happier consumers

Published: Dec 7, 2022 05:21:53 PM IST
Updated: Dec 8, 2022 03:26:40 PM IST

Epsilon's Ashish Sinha on transforming customer experiences, driving shifts in the adtech-martech space1.  Collaborating with marketers to transform customer experiences can help drive impactful results. As a leader, what is your strategy to keep these collaborations innovative and personalized?
I personally see the art of understanding the customer journey as the path to achieving customer satisfaction. We create trust as a foundation to make sure our collaborations with marketers are effective. We are also very cognizant of the type of data that marketers get access to when they’re communicating with their customers. We make sure we help them provide transparency on how data is gathered and used. We also understand that customer journeys are never linear, and our platforms are built to help marketers succeed in this complex world for human-brand interactions.

We are looking at personalization in a rather realistic way and focusing on what can be achieved to make that happen. Our AI driven platforms make it simpler to create customer engagement and drive personalization. The customer experiences created on Epsilon platforms mean fewer generic ads, more personalized communication, and product recommendations. We focus on financial incentives as well, as tailored discounts and offers are more meaningful when they are personalised.

2. What are your thoughts on the role of technology in the marketing space and how is Epsilon driving shifts in the adtech and martech space?
Marketing and Technology are partners, and today each is responsible for the other to succeed. In a world that is dominated by tech driven customer behaviour, technology helps in strengthening an organisation’s brand value. They create the platform and channel ecosystem for data to help their business thrive. Marketing partners with tech functions to ensure that focussed targeting and compelling messages help land effective advertising and consumer experiences. The kind of marketing technology used by an organisation should enable trust and proof that it can guide the brand’s reputation throughout its journey. To optimally use technology in marketing is to know how to create meaningful customer experiences and to know how it works. It is important for technology to be a partner that prioritizes the brand’s business interest and sees the value of human interactions that marketing traditionally owned.

At Epsilon, we strive towards creating and using cutting-edge technology that help us in understanding our clients, connecting brands and people, and creating the highest levels of trust by protecting data and privacy. With the phasing out of third-party cookies, marketers need newer ways of connecting with their customers in ways that are safe and meaningful for all. The Epsilon software and data platforms enable this seamlessly, and to the highest levels of performance.

3. What are your business priorities for the next 6-12 months?

We are a powerhouse of engineering and analytics talent, and over the 7 years of our existence in India have become an integral part of platform builds and business delivery in all our international markets. My priority is to keep my people inspired about the possibilities they have to change the world of marketing. And to continue to find purpose in our ability to create happy clients and happier consumers.

I am a huge believer in the power of women in tech. Personally and professionally, I will continue to advocate the win-win of leveraging this demographic in the techno-business world, while making  it possible for all my associates at work to see the benefits of working and winning in an ecosystem that’s designed for everyone to succeed, irrespective of gender.

As leader of Epsilon in the region, I now also hold accountability for business growth across APAC-MEA. It’s an exciting challenge to take the heritage of our success over the past 50 years to clients who have the vision and charter to revamp their marketing infrastructure to succeed in a  world that demands collaboration between tech, data and creative functions to achieve disproportionate business success.

4.  Epsilon has been recognized as a Great Place to Work and recently, as one of the Best Workplaces for women. How can organizations create an inclusive environment for their employees?
At Epsilon, Inclusion, Passion and Accountability are our defined core values, and they all complement each other to set up our people for success. Creating an environment of empathy, belonging and collaboration among our employees is imperative for us. An inclusive culture, a flexible workplace, equal opportunities and growth are something that we strive to create every day. Of course, this hasn’t happened overnight, it’s been a journey and having a learning  plus growth mindset helps all of us. The approach that has worked for us is to break down representation not just from an overall organizational perspective but also get into the details of every process. This includes everything from hiring, development, promotions, ratings, compensation, and a lot more.

Building an inclusive framework and adopting a holistic approach at a system-wide level are a must to make lasting change. Start with identifying strategic issues and developing solutions around those. For instance, we must recognize the different stages of an associate’s life and provide them equitable access to opportunities. So, we have our SheRises program which aims to empower women returning to the workforce after a career pause. Our insurance covers for spouses, children, parents/in-laws and same-sex /live-in partners. And we extend maternity and paternity leaves to surrogacy and adoption.

Lastly, what’s equally crucial to drive systemic change, that is also sustainable, is getting everyone involved in the process. Because each of us one has a role in creating and nurturing an inclusive culture, in and outside of work.

5.  How can organizations engage their tech talent and drive retention?
Continuous learning – skilling, re-skilling, upskilling – is essential in ensuring organisations remain agile and stay ahead of the curve in today’s competitive job landscape. Continuous learning is also a significant value driver for employees, helping them strengthen their capabilities to create and experience successful and meaningful careers.

I believe the way forward to upskill a heterogenous workforce is personalised learning. We have employees from across age groups working in different levels across multiple business units. Every individual can have a different learning style and preference. And this is where organisations can truly make a difference by providing personalised learning experiences to employees, tailored towards their growth. Epsilon employees, for instance, have access to Marcel classes, a platform providing curated learning including on-demand/live classes, articles, podcasts, and videos. Utilizing MOOCs such as Udemy and Pluralsight, we provide our employees with the relevant resources and encourage them to own their learning at their own pace. 

Community learning is another great way to promote a culture of knowledge-sharing, creativity and innovation. Engaging sections of the workforce, who share similar interests, to brainstorm and ideate can be extremely effective for the associates, as well as the organization. With our analytics summit, INNOMATION, and our EPIC Hackathons, we strive to achieve the same with the analytics and data science, and tech communities in Epsilon. We also have multiple rewards and recognitions systems in place acknowledge the contributions of our employees.

Finally, employees who are clear about their roles and responsibilities and how it aligns with the organisational goals are more committed to their work. It is important to make employees realize the impact of the code they are writing so that they find meaning and purpose in what they do.

The above inputs are shared by Ashish Sinha - Managing Director - Epsilon APAC & MEA

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