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Kushal Manupati | Zilingo

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How has your approach to customer engagement/retention/loyalty changed due to new MarTech tools and solutions?

My approach for any customer engagement campaign is to reach the customer at the right time with the right message and using the right channel. The current generation of MarTech tools have ensured exactly that. Near real-time messages delivering the most relevant content wherever the customer wants to see that message.

With all the new MarTech tools and solutions now available, what’s one of the key pitfalls to avoid in the procurement process?

It is impossible to get one solution that will be the best at everything and one needs to accept that integrations are an integral part of the solution. Beware of a platform that promises everything under the sun, MarTech is an orchestra of multiple platforms.

How have you best managed to integrate legacy systems with new MarTech solutions?

Understanding the legacy data infrastructure is the single most important part of any legacy system integration. I have rarely encountered ill managed platform integrations, but I have seen ill managed data integrations few times.

How has your organisation / team dealt with the challenge of the marketing industry and wider digital world evolving at such a fast pace?

I have always encouraged my team and organisations to keep learning about the advances in the industry through constant interaction with peers, pioneers and of course the platforms/brands. This is the only way to keep up with the pace.

Currently, what are you primarily looking for in your digital marketing efforts? Awareness or engagement? Why?

Awareness and Engagement both. In any digital marketing strategy, both Awareness and Engagement have their own roles to play. Awareness has a direct impact on the top line and Engagement has a direct impact on the bottom line.

What is your key takeaway piece of advice that you would give when speaking to others on how to evaluate and select a MarTech stack?

Every step of digital transformation is heavily impacted by people and selecting a MarTech stack is not an exception. No matter what tools and solutions we select, my suggestion is to ensure there is buy-in from all the stakeholders, from the CTO to a junior most end user who will be using the tool on daily basis. It’s always about people.

How did your MarTech journey begin? Please let us know your top 3 findings and discoveries.

When I started my MarTech journey, I did not know that I was getting involved in MarTech. My intention then was to migrate my team from Microsoft Access based database to a half decent CRM platform. One thing led to another and I ended up setting up a CRM platform with a Marketing Automation platform, Computer Telephony Integration, Data visualisation and other internal platforms seamlessly integrated to optimise the customer journey.

My realisation then, which is still true:

  • Have a deep understanding of the data systems (legacy and new) and never discount this aspect
  • Know who the key stakeholders are and involve them in the right stages of the evaluation, implementation and integration
  • Do not fall for a one stop shop solution, embrace the diversity of multiple platforms into your stack

For you and your team, which is currently recognised as the larger challenge – MarTech integration or MarTech strategy?

As of today, my larger challenge is the MarTech strategy. As I am relatively new in this role/company, I want to get the vision right, setup the right strategy and then think about the integrations.

Have you mainly chosen to adopt established MarTech or have you also looked into the emerging opportunities? Which?

When I evaluate platforms for a particular use case, I have always shortlisted a mix of established and emerging tools. Maturity of the platform/technology does play a role, so is latest innovation in the market. In some cases I have gone against mature platforms to allow speed and flexibility and in some cases I have gone with a mature platform/technology as there were significant synergies with existing components of the stack.

What do you predict as being the top MarTech trends for 2020?

  1. Messaging channels (WhatsApp, WeChat, Messenger etc) automations and 2-way communications, will become a key differentiator for the marketers and platforms
  2. Faster implementation and reduced dependence on experts/engineers to go live, will define the growth trajectory of the solutions in 2020 and beyond

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