Riding the Digital Wave: Do’s, Don’ts and Duh-s

|September 28, 2015 0
Engaging customers and employees through digital means is more than just a tick-in-the-box. What makes it a trick worth mastering?

Pratima H

PUNE, INDIA: It’s a world where 30 second commercials have been shadowed by 4-second skip options. The same world where Yammer, Chatter, Jive are as mainstream names as some well known CRM, ERP suites.

There is some undercurrent to the wave that the global enterprise social software market (ESS) is turning out to be as it is on its way to jump from $4.77 billion in 2014 to $8.14 billion in 2019 – A CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 11.3 per cent from 2014 to 2019 as MarketsandMarkets forecasts.

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Social is not just another alphabet in the new acronyms we have gotten used to. When Forrester found that Facebook and Twitter stay as marketers’ top social ad platforms (to the tune of 80 per cent and 60 per cent respectively) followed by options like YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest; it insinuates at the irreversible ways people have changed.

People, whom we call customers and employees at distinct doors – are not talking, listening and chatting the old-fashioned way anymore.
Understandably, 79 per cent of organizations could be improving the experience of technology-empowered customers as a high or critical priority for their business in 2015, as per a Forrester prediction.

Ok, so digital is in. Then what is out? Privacy? Precision? Control over sprawls? Tab on unwanted social fiascos? Branding strategy?

Or is it possible to saddle the digital horse the right way?

Digital. Well, the mention of words like Hoopz and Krrunch leaves you watching Akash Sureka, Practice Head & Vice President Mobility, Persistent Systems and his team erupting with excitement and energy. There is definitely more to this adrenaline than the fact that these two are fresh platforms that have just bolstered the company’s digital kitty.

May be it’s about what new the team intends to do with this digital wand in the enterprise space. May be it’s about the blistering pace at which digital advertising is sprinting ahead. May be it’s about some nuances that Akash seems confident of having captured well in time. Let’s find out.

Tell us about the two new additions in your basket.

We acquired Hoopz, a start-up in the web discovery technology space, in 2014. Hoopz is a cross app data discovery platform which helps the print publications go digital with the help of targeted advertising; this platform gauges the viewer’s preferences and tastes and posts relevant ads on the screen while the viewer is reading the news on his mobile device. Krrunch is an online grievance and redressal management platform, which is more cost-effective and less time-consuming than the current methods employed by companies. Apart from being brand or sector agnostic, the platform can also be employed by BPOs to provide services in customer management to their clients.

Akash PersistentAkash, Persistent
What makes these two platforms more than just two more ponies in your digital stable?

Hoopz is an enterprise advertising platform. We are primarily targeting customers in Telco, Media and some B2C verticals. With this we can bring in real-time targeting and monetization aligned with digital advertisements. What Facebook and Google use for their own properties is a different flavor of engagement and advertising and we are trying to enable these platforms to third parties and raise engagement to a new level altogether. This transforms the way enterprises can handle social engagement.

Precisely how?

Today’s customers’ expectations have changed so we need an entirely new and well-tailored way to collaborate with enterprises. If the entire workflow between customer and relationships can take on social workflow flavors, it not only brings an organization closer to a customer’s way of thinking but raises productivity and cuts down costs. We have seen good adoption happening, specially in media domain, messaging apps and emerging Internet companies.

How would a platform like Hoopz handle the intrusive-advertising paradox?

Most of our ads are based on context-level engagement and we integrate with customer’s digital properties after the context part is well taken care of. Our ads are deeply based on behavioural learning which increases the like-factor and conversion rates. It also depends on how an ad is presented to a customer. That’s where native ads take a different significance.

What about Krrunch’s strengths, specially on enterprise-levels and incumbent CRM scenarios?

CRM has been mostly for sales and marketing management but when it comes to transparency from a customer’s point of view, what the world needs is a bridge with the customer and not just a dashboard for representatives.

Social media and branding has of late taken new contours, specially after episodes like the Starbucks one or the Lenskart one. How does one steer the infectious-power of this medium without any dangerous slips?

Open platforms like Facebook and Twitter can have a big impact specially when it comes to negative turns. Unless you are proactive as a brand, it is not an easy road. What we have learnt as an industry is that no customer is small, no voice or comment is trivial. Enterprises need to realize that product quality and experience have to be consistent. With Krrunch we are trying to bring in both social and enterprise angles and it also covers grievance management. One has to give customer scope for real-time communication. Once you start opening up a relevant platform like this and customers would naturally start reacting well ad this would mean less noise and more relevance.

Do you like the app-only route that some brands are keen to take?

It is still early to comment on this direction because of the demographics and dynamics we have in front of us. We have a large set of PC users and people are still not comfortable with the idea of too much clutter on their devices. In India, smartphone penetration is still on its way. Companies cannot ignore this segment unless they have a precise category of customers to chase.

What’s the secret sauce that Persistent adds to these platforms?

We work to maximize revenues and there are some IPs for automation, better conversions, value maximization and accelerated engagement for digital ingredients.

If you were to recommend some Don’t-s for a digital branding aspirant, what would you say?

First, move digital with less one-sided platforms and switch over to more engagement-oriented ones. Second, try to use digital platforms to maximize revenues with automation orientation and cost reductions. And last but not the least; do not take your customers for granted.

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