MarTech Interview with Raviteja Dodda, Founder and CEO at MoEngage Inc.

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MarTech Interview with Raviteja Dodda, Founder and CEO at MoEngage Inc.

“Being able to detect where the user is in their lifecycle and reach them with the right and relevant messaging at the right time is super-critical for any e-commerce business.”

Could you tell us about your role and the team/technology you handle at MoEngage?

I am Founder and CEO at MoEngage Inc. Customer obsession is the key to growing any business today. However, customers’ touchpoints have increased significantly in the last few years and journeys have become more complex. Today’s customer expects brands to provide a seamless and personalized experience not just across digital touchpoints like website, email, SMS, mobile app, but also across offline touchpoints as well. To achieve that, brands need to equip themselves with the right technology partner – that’s why brands come to us.

Today, 125 enterprises in 35 countries use MoEngage to build 1:1 personalized and highly relevant conversations with their customers across all digital channels. This helps them to engage and retain users, improve conversions, and boost loyalty. MoEngage’s Intelligent Platform helps marketers get a unified view of their customers, analyze behavior, and segment customers into micro-groups based on their behavioral attributes. Furthermore, brands leverage MoEngage’s AI and Automation capabilities to map customer journeys and provide hyper-personalized offers, updates, recommendations, and other communications across web, mobile, and email – thus delivering a seamless Omnichannel experience.

Today we are a global company with 250+ employees, from 8 different Nationalities. And they are all working coherently to grow MoEngage into the world’s most trusted customer engagement platform.

Customer Intelligence is a disruptive ecosystem. How do you analyze your product’s viability and its acceptance among customers?

That’s right. Talking about product viability, it’s important for us to be customer-obsessed because our product is not “nice-to-have”, but mission-critical for brands that trust us. MoEngage acts as a single source of truth for many brands as we help them process customer data, and analyze their behavior and gain meaningful insights. Armed with these insights, our customers are able to implement a data-backed approach to make their communications more relevant and personalized for their end-users.

As a result, our customers can often attribute improvements in business metrics, directly to the MoEngage product. Our customers often see improved push notification delivery rates, higher retention rates, better conversion rates, and ultimately higher lifetime value of their end-users. For example, Tokopedia witnessed a 60% improvement in first-month user retention, OYO increased the CTRs for campaigns by 8x, and Gaana witnessed a 120 percent uplift in subscriptions for premium account drive up to 10% DAU (Daily Active Users) on the app. As you can see there’s a direct impact on business metrics, so it is a viable product.

The second part of the question was around acceptance among customers. There are two aspects to this. One is customer reviews and the other is analysts’ opinion of MoEngage. Regarding customer reviews, I am immensely proud that our customers have rated us the highest vendor for mobile marketing in the 2019 Gartner Voice of Customer Report. We have not just topped overall ratings, but also received top marks from customers for support, service, evaluation and contracting. This validates that customers have accepted MoEngage and are happy with their choice.

It’s not just customers, even independent analysts like Gartner have featured us in their prestigious Magic Quadrant for Mobile Marketing platforms, twice in a row. We are the only Asian company to be featured in the Magic Quadrant as well.

What makes your partnership with Bigbasket unique in the current Mobile Marketing and Messaging ecosystem? Which other industries and geographies are you currently targeting with your technology?

The use case is very interesting for bigbasket. As you’ll know, they are one of India’s leading grocery and household essentials app. They have millions of users coming to their app daily to purchase home supplies. What’s important for bigbasket is to understand each user more deeply and provide a highly personalized online shopping experience so their users keep coming back to the app. What this means is that bigbasket should be able to deliver the right message or offers, to the right user, at the right time – and MoEngage will help them do just that.

Leveraging MoEngage’s journey builder feature, Flows, bigbasket will be able to automate unique workflows for their app users and deliver a consistent experience. bigbasket will also leverage our AI Engine, Sherpa, to automatically optimize the message content and deliver it at a time when it is most likely to be read by the customer.

Which other industries and geographies….

We are currently serving brands from 35+ countries and have offices in the US, India, Indonesia, UK, Vietnam, Thailand, and Berlin. These will continue to be our focus markets. We have an interesting mix of digital-first, mobile-first companies like E-commerce, Gaming, Travel, Fintech, Edtech, streaming services, etc and large brands in Telecom, Banking, and Retail.

How do you compare your customer base in the APAC market with that in North America/ EMEA? What makes APAC so vibrant and dynamic? 

I think the biggest difference is scale and diversity. For eg: One of our customers, Gaana, uses MoEngage to engage with 100Million active users every month, who speak 30+ different languages across cities big and small – while the entire population of Canada is about 37 Million.

So I would say that the mobile-first brands here operate and engage their end-users at a scale that very few brands in the Americas or EMEA can match.

The other difference is in the rapid pace of mobile growth and shifting focus towards engagement and retention. With rapid modernization and mobile subscriber base, performing transactions via mobile phones is a booming market in APAC, which we do not see happening anywhere else in the world right now. As of July 2019, 416 million people in Southeast Asia had access to the internet, and internet penetration now stands at 63 percent.

This number continues to grow quickly as well the number of internet users has increased by 10 percent in just the last year. Just as interestingly, mobile subscriptions are at a whopping 853 million, which means there are 1.29 mobile subscriptions for every person living in the region.

So far, most of the commentary around e-commerce and mobile commerce has been on the rapid pace of mobile penetration and mobile commerce. But that’s changing and brands are focusing a lot more on engaging their users, retaining them for a longer time and increasing their lifetime value. This is corroborated by data from our platform itself. Brands such as Tokopedia, Bukalapak, TravelokaTiket.com send billions of push notifications, SMS, emails, and other communications through MoEngage to millions of their end-users.

So, we looked into data from our platform to understand how the trend is shifting towards user engagement, retention, and lifetime value (LTV) in the APAC market. In just the last two years, we have seen a 20X increase in Monthly Active Users (MAU), and 60x increases in avg no of transactions per user in APAC – highlighting how brands are successful in getting more and more people to use their app every month.

Marketers rely on automation and customer data to design personalized messages and campaigns for various channels. How does MoEngage empower B2C and E-commerce platforms deliver these in real-time?

Context is the essence of e-commerce. Being able to detect where the user is in their lifecycle and reach them with the right and relevant messaging at the right time is super-critical for any e-commerce business. And our platform has shown tremendous results in this area. With the recent launch of MoEngage Analytics, we have bridged the decade-long gap that existed between analytics and engagement tools.

Using MoEngage Analytics + Engagement modules, e-commerce businesses can not only learn more about their users but also trigger intelligent campaigns that engage with them (users). This helps brands not only to save time, money, and effort but also deliver a more consistent and seamless messaging experience to customers.

Talking about automation and cross-channel engagement, using MoEngage Flows, e-commerce businesses can build user journeys that engage users across their lifecycle – from activation to retention. For example, Tokopedia, Indonesia’s e-commerce unicorn is using the Flows to create onboarding journeys that have boosted retention on their app by up to 60%.

Our industry-first product ‘Push Amplification’ has been a boon for e-commerce marketers as it can increase the delivery rates of push notifications by up to 8X in some cases.

Some of our latest offerings like Predictive Segmentation using models like RFM analysis (recency, frequency, monetary), has been created with e-commerce in mind where contextual and timely engagement is crucial. Using predictive segments, marketers can find answers to questions about their app users like ‘Who are my best spenders,’ ‘Who are the most active,’ ‘Who engaged with me recently,’ or even ‘Who is at the risk of churn.’

Also, MoEngage Dynamic Product Recommendation (DPM) – an industry-first feature that uses Sherpa, our AI engine to automate and deliver relevant product recommendations to users based on their previous activity and purchase patterns.

And again, these product features have a direct impact on our customers’ business metrics. Nostragamus, a fantasy sports app has achieved 50% uplift in push notification delivery with MoEngage’s Push Amplification+. SIVVI.com, a leading e-commerce player in the Middle-East, increased sales by up to 10% with product recommendations delivered via MoEngage dynamic emails and push notifications.

One epic moment from the decade (2011-2019) that changed your outlook into tech landscape –

Yes, the rise of mobile, and its impact on how brands engage with customers. Mobile has seen a tremendous uptake in the last decade, making customer journeys more complex and adding more consumer touchpoints. Also at each of these touchpoints, there’s data available for brands to leverage and engage with their customers in a meaningful and trustworthy way. The question is how do you harness this data to create a unified customer profile and provide a truly seamless experience for your customers across web, mobile, email, and even offline channels.

This led to the creation of a new category where brands realized they cannot rely on solutions that were built for the desktop world and needed solutions that were built for the mobile-first world, with robust AI and Automation capabilities. This logically drove brands towards platforms that could leverage capabilities like AI, segmentation, and cross-channel engagement to harness the customer data and drive seamless experience to customers across channels.

What are your predictions for your MarTech markets for 2020-2024?

– The algorithms for AI will get more powerful. Marketers will find various applications and use-cases for AI – to solve more complex marketing challenges than they are doing today.

– Customer engagement will no longer be just between brands and humans. From connected cars to smart homes, the rise of connected devices will likely create a new layer of machine-to-machine communication but with the user still as the controller. For example, service alerts for car owners on their mobile apps, reminders to turn off electronic appliances while not at home, and such use-cases have already emerged, and we can expect to see many more.

– Wearables, foldables, AR, VR devices will become mainstream creating a host of new touchpoints for brands. These will continue to evolve and play an important role while engaging users. Messaging apps that have already emerged as a viable Marketing channel for brands will continue to grow.

– More development will continue on the hardware side. Foldables, AR, VR devices will become mainstream, creating a host of opportunities for brands to tap into.

– Voice and chat which are already more than capable of delivering basic information to users will become essential channels in the marketing mix. A report by TechCrunch early this year stated that voice assistants in use will triple to 8 billion by 2023 Marketers. Marketers will have to find innovative ways to factor voice their marketing campaigns.

Data protection and privacy laws will get more stringent. Customers will start expecting more from brands for the data they are willing to share. A cut-and-dry approach to marketing will no longer work. Marketers will have to raise the bar when it comes to marketing to customers.

Thank you, Raviteja! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.

Ravi is a Founder and CEO at MoEngage Inc.

Ravi has been a passionate entrepreneur for more than half a decade, founding two companies before MoEngage. He co-founded Pipal Tech Ventures, which built DelightCircle, one of the largest shopping mobile apps in India at that time.

MoEngage Inc. logo

MoEngage is an Intelligent Marketing Cloud, built for the Mobile-first world. With MoEngage, companies can orchestrate campaigns across channels like push, email, in-app messaging, web push, and SMS, with auto-optimization towards higher conversions powered by machine learning.

Traditionally, marketing clouds are expensive to implement, hard to learn and rule-based. At MoEngage, we have built an enterprise solution that is easier to use, elegantly designed, fully integrated and is learning-based.

MoEngage is the leader in the mobile engagement market, with presence across Asia, Europe and the US. MoEngage works with Consumer businesses across the world including Fortune 500 brands like Samsung, Deutsche Telekom, Hearst, Prudential, Vodafone and Internet-first companies like Flipkart Group, Tokopedia, Traveloka, Gaana, and Oyo.

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The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.

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