The importance of digital and using technology to leverage the medium has been reinforced by the Covid-19 pandemic, where businesses were forced to change and adapt to a new normal, but what remained at the core of that change was technology.
Under Rubeena Singh’s leadership iProspect India has seen tremendous growth that too while fighting a pandemic. The recent account wins include giants such as SBI and ZEE5 Global among others.
The agency believes in extending a human touch to the realm of digital marketing, by simply aligning creativity and technology, and that is what this story is all about.
Medianews4u spoke to Rubeena Singh, CEO – iProspect India, the superwoman leader who certainly needs no introduction! And her team of technology experts that she fondly refers to as the ‘magicians’ at iProspect India; Vineet Sawant, Director of Technology and Abhishek Balsara, AVP – Analytics & Tech.
My conversation with Singh was around the overall growth of iProspect India in the recent years, she dived deep into how the agency has been constantly leveraging technology to provide solutions in the simplest way; without any complicated integrations.
As the captain of the ship, what has been your vision and mission for iProspect India and how has it evolved over the years?
Rubeena: Our mission and vision have definitely evolved over the years and with the evolving environment, one has to change. The one thing that has stayed constant with regards to our mission and vision is that we continue to remain focused on driving business results for our clients. And that’s what iProspect has strived for constantly, to provide innovative solutions and to leverage digital to its fullest for our clients.
I think over the past few years digital has become an integral part of a consumer’s life and especially in the current COVID-19 scenario, digital transactions have increased rapidly. In this highly digital and integrated world for businesses to succeed, we need to adopt integrated strategies to make a real difference in the market.
The consumers also want integrated brand experiences because they are exploring a lot. Integrated marketing can help marketers understand consumer behaviour touchpoints, customer lifetime value for the customer and also garner a higher ROI for the marketer.
iProspect has evolved over the last 18 months as a data-driven integrated marketing agency. Apart from all the services that we already had, we have added content and technology to provide integrated solutions to our clients.
The evolution of a data-driven integrated marketing agency in the last 18 months has been enabled by the suite of tech solutions the agency provides… so what would be your elevator pitch for the tech services at iProspect?
Rubeena: Today consumers are very demanding, they want personalized experiences and those experiences can help brands develop that deep relationship with their customers and improve their business. And that is the first big opportunity that iProspect brings to its clients. We have built our proprietary by customer experience management and help clients optimize this opportunity.
I think in today’s environment, from a brand’s point of view there is extreme competition and from a consumer’s point of view they are increasingly switching between brands that are sending discounts and offers. As I said before consumers conduct huge research online before they decide what to buy and it’s not always a brand it’s sometimes the offers and that type of discounts that exist. In a consumer-driven market with less brand loyalty to ensure that brands are engaging with customers that are most likely to deliver maximum profitability and for that you want the most profitable customers for your brand.
Our MarTech solutions help marketers plan and execute these marketing campaigns, by collecting and analyzing the result of these campaigns, and measuring them, and tracking the marketing performance and applying these insights for future campaigns. All of this is done in a multi-touchpoint integrated digital environment.
We all say technology has added a lot of efficiencies and streamlining of work which is repetitive in nature. What we have done is on the reporting, monitoring, etc all of that is automated with all of that it enables us to have real-time reports which are given to clients. It allows our teams to be able to free up their time from doing this kind of work, and actually spend their time in strategizing and innovating for clients.
My next question is to you, Vineet, which are some proprietary tools that you are super proud of creating at iProspect and also tell us how have they benefitted your clients?
Vineet: Our tool iOptimise provides near-real time view of your campaign’s performance. It’s a personalised reporting tool that can be used for tracking campaign performance visually.
Let me share how we used this tool. So we used this tool for a client in the Airline industry. Our approach was to auto-create campaigns for over 300 routes over which it operated on by dynamically setting up the fares without any intervention and optimize accordingly.
Another tool that we created is, Prediction Labs. Using AI and ML technologies via GCP suite Prediction Labs is able to tackle advanced analytics use cases like building a Recommendation Engine, Propensity modelling to target high value, high intent customers, Sales and Demand Forecasting, Supply Chain management, Inventory management etc.
We used Prediction labs for our BFSI client in the Stock Market.It helped them achieve a steady conversion rate on lead generation on the remnant inventory database. The current conversion rate stands at 9%.
iCapture is a smart web CMS which works together with iCreative to dynamically create personalised landing pages on the fly.
We used iCreative & iCapture for one of our BFSI clients in remittance business. While this proprietary tech solution gave the user a personalized digital experience, it also saved the time and cost invested in manually managing landing pages. We also saw a significant decrease in the total costs incurred in the campaign. On the business side, we saw an increase of 36% in overall traffic on website which resulted in increase of Conversion rate by 25%
Take us back to the days when you were creating these suites of tech solutions… what were the technology insights that you brought to the table?
Vineet: The more I work with technology, the more my belief gets stronger that simplicity and flexibility are the “magic tricks” that really matter the most.
You don’t need heavily complex solutions to your problems, rather a simpler solution will be easier to implement, maintain and upgrade.
When I look at other tech suites available in the market, and I see how unnecessarily complex they’ve grown to be over the years, I realize how they’ve become rigid, restrictive and force businesses to work as per their way instead of other way around.
A good piece of tech solution is the one that’s easy to understand, simpler to implement and flexible to work according to business needs.
…and what were some of the learnings from creating and implementing these MarTech solutions at iProspect?
Vineet: Most important learning is that although most businesses of a category would have similar needs, individually they all have unique challenges and thus one size fits all solutions won’t do them a real justice.
If one wants to make a truly successful MarTech solution that brings success to their clients, then customization and personalized problem solving are the key points the proposed solution should follow.
Wow! That’s some serious tech-gyaan without using any high-funda tech jargons… coming back to you, Rubeena, tell me when these suite of tech solutions were being built… how much of these nuances could you understand and what were some insights that you provided to Vineet and his team of magicians?
Rubeena: I have always been intrigued by technology and even in my previous role at Moneycontrol I had the opportunity to kind of understand that a little better. One thing is true that digital and technology go hand in hand. As digital is becoming more mainstream, and the market is maturing, several market and business news cases are arising out of technology solutions. My contribution to the suite of tech solutions at iProspect has been to be able to define the marketing and the business problem that we are trying to solve for, and then work with my team to be able to build a solution.
For example, everybody today wants data unification and consolidation to build a single view of customer, so defining that problem and then working into build it. You know it’s a multichannel environment that we live in today and therefore omni-channel is very important. This will not just help clients consolidate networks, but also ensure a significant human journey or the fact that looking at insights today, personalization is becoming very important and it is the need of the consumer actually. So, defining that problem working with the team on that and building a strategy for retention and repeat purchases to get the same customer to buy more and more from you and that’s why I have identified these problems statements of marketeers and based on that we launched Solution Labs at iProspect.
Digital is evolving and we needed to keep pace with the changing ecosystem and the users, and also our clients, my approach has always been like, you have to be future-ready and with the kind of data and tech solutions that we have at iProspect we are ready to embrace the market as we are moving ahead into the future. I can’t be more grateful to the company for supporting my decision to kind of launch this practice, because we have had that experience over the past one year and today which is coming very handy and we already have the solutions in place so it’s not starting from scratch.
So true! And look at your decision of creating these tech solutions has held you in such great stead. None of us prepared ourselves for a pandemic, and you are miles ahead of the competition! Now coming to you, Abhishek, how is iProspect using the power of analytics to provide solutions to its clients?
Abhishek: We personalize remarketing with the use of technology and analytics.
The goal of personalized marketing is to truly engage customers or prospective customers by communicating with each as an individual. Using a mix of right technology, time and resources by creating a Single Customer View and implementing Smart Segmentation we can overcome the challenges in Personalized marketing.
We understand that when employing user behaviour or interest data to provide more relevant ad content it’s important to handle that information appropriately and to consider how targeting users with certain content categories impacts their overall experience.
We effectively use predictive and augmented analytics. I feel Augmented Analytics Is the Future of Data and Analytics. Augmented analytics uses machine learning/ artificial intelligence (ML/AI) techniques to automate data preparation, insight discovery and sharing. It also automates data science and ML model development, management and deployment.
In your opinion, which are some of the more popular or common tech tools that a marketer in today’s time should definitely learn and understand in order to leverage them for a world-class digital strategy like iProspect does for its clients?
Rubeena: I believe Marketing Technology is a community of forward thinkers who are responsible for devising solutions to the most pressing marketing needs and operational challenges, that’s what a marketeer or technology is supposed to do for you.
You need people to think of the possibilities and really fire their imagination and to break the silos and work in a very agile manner that creates and increases customer satisfaction. That is my understanding of marketing technology, that’s how I look at it.
I feel most marketers inclusively are very good at understanding the customer, and the customer journey, whether they are offline or online marketers and that is the heart of what they do. I think they just need to partner with agencies, who understand the technology the agencies have and the customer journey to make it work. To work in a collaborative manner what you will achieve is great success because the marketer knows the insight and the required outputs, but you have to let expert do the magic.
I often introduce my technology team as magicians and they can solve any problem, as they are here to ease your problems and not add to the list of things you have to do. So, that is how we approach it and that works very well with our clients right because they can tell us what their business and marketing problem is, and we understand it and build a solution for it. We take the solution to them , which is sort of is an easy plug and play solution that they don’t have to go back to their technology teams for any tech jargons or any complicated integrations, that’s not been our approach. Our approach is to be able to solve the marketeer’s problem.