Rajesh Jain, Indian technology entrepreneur who has pioneered various facets of the dotcom industry in the Asia-Pacific market speaks to MarTech Series about his entrepreneurial journey and what drove Netcore’s vision and evolution over the years, making it one of the leading martech platforms globally; catch the complete Q&A:
Welcome to this MarTech Series chat Rajesh, tell us about yourself and what inspired the Netcore Cloud platform? How has the core solution evolved over the years, and what is Netcore Cloud all about as it stands today?
Building out email deliverability and cloud solutions when the fundamentals of martech systems were being set in place would have been a challenge…take us through some of your key learnings as a martech innovator through this time?
I am a tech entrepreneur based in Mumbai. I kickstarted Asia’s early dot-com revolution in the late 1990s by creating IndiaWorld, the country’s first Internet portal…I then started Netcore Cloud (Known as Netcore Solutions back then) in 1997, which today is Asia’s largest martech SaaS company.
Netcore Cloud has a lot of history due to the multiple pivots through the last 23 years. After some early failures, we began our journey helping brands enhance their communication with their customers via SMS and then email in 2007-8. In 2014-2015, ‘MarTech’ had just started emerging as an idea and there was an interest among brands to automate their customer journey to move from traditional manual campaigns and create a unique journey for each customer. Towards this, we started building a full-stack solution that catered to Indian and global brands.
Marketing Technology News: MarTech Interview with Bernadette Butler, CEO and Co-Founder at StoryTap
If we look closely, we can see three layers from where we started to where we are now: the communications layer, the customer engagement layer, and the customer/product experience, which includes personalization, in-app nudges, and contextual walk throughs. One recurring theme in all of this has been the use of artificial intelligence (AI). It has aided marketers in making more informed decisions and developing more effective campaigns.
So, to summarise some of the key learnings over the years, there are two critical drivers for marketers today. The first is omnichannel personalisation, where brands create unique experiences as customers interact across multiple channels.
The second reason is that while the first era of MarTech was focused on point solutions, there is now a gradual shift towards full-stack solutions today, with the need for a unified customer view as the driving force. So, instead of data being siloed and brands having to incur integration costs, they can now data in one place and have a full stack that works seamlessly.
In a nutshell, omnichannel experience is what customers want, unified customer view is what brands like, and martech full-stack coupled with AI lies in between. As a result, it should be marketers who decide on action and AI that assists with predictions. So, with this in mind, we at Netcore Cloud have built a full-stack solution to make marketers’ lives easier. This was the impetus for us to go beyond the communication layer and create a full-stack solution.
On the whole, how have you seen the APAC and India region innovate in the martech space over the last few years, a few top marketing technologies that have your attention today and why (from this region!)?
Email, in my opinion, is the most exciting technology that will have an impact in the future as well. It’s because email, which has traditionally been a one-way communication channel between brands and customers, is now becoming interactive and therefore 2-way. For example, micro websites inside emails using AMP can have forms that can be filled out to capture customer preferences in the email itself. It is also beneficial to customers because they do not have to perform any additional clicks. Response rates can rise as a result.
Here is how I would summarise the shift from Martech 1.0 to Martech 2.0:
What are some of the biggest trends and thoughts you have for the future of the global martech industry?
Today, marketers spend about 10% of their budgets on MarTech and 90% on Adtech. But marketers are realising that the cost of Adtech acquisitions is going up. Also, the industry will witness a significant shift of focus and budgets from Adtech to MarTech because of the leaky adtech spending.This change would be as significant as what Adtech had brought in when it moved budgets from outdoor, print, TV to digital media.
Marketing Technology News: MarTech Interview with Nick Mattingly, Co-Founder and CEO at Switcher Studio
This switch to MarTech will mean a shift to retention, growth, cross-sale, expansion and customer revenue expansion. In the upcoming MarTech era, there will be a significant overhaul in how brands build relationships with existing customers. And marketers will need innovative solutions to the ABCDE challenges in martech – Attention Recession, Branding (for retention) for the existing customers, churn (of best customers), data (silos), and engagement (limited).
For instance, to solve issues with attention recession, brands must look at messaging plus converting one-way communication processes to two-way conversational messages. For retention, brands should look at email moments (short informative sequenced emails), daily emails that go in at the same time to build brand recall.
When it comes to churning the best customers, brands can look at velvet rope marketing. Here one can create a separate business unit to cater to the best customers and focus on loyalty instead of just loyalty programs. For instance, airlines create differentiated experiences for their business class and first-class customers as these segments are significant to them and are essential to win their loyalty.
Finally, engagement is an important area where we need to see innovations. One such innovation that we at Netcore Cloud are identifying are atomic rewards. This focuses on how one can move upstream from transactions to attention, engagement and habits. That’s where brands should create micro-moments and incentivize customers.
These are the drivers for the next-gen martech era….
Some last thoughts, takeaways, digital ad tips and best practices before we wrap up!
Some best practices for marketers to consider are:
Firstly, brands must stop overspending on Adtech and rebalance the budget to include MarTech as well. By doing so, they would reduce acquisition costs with the increased focus on customer retention and experience.
Secondly, since 20% of consumers tend to be responsible for 60% of revenue and over 100% of profits, marketers must identify their best customers and establish a separate business unit to create unique experiences and maximise their revenues.
Third, they must think upstream of transactions and focus on attention, engagement, and habits – because this is where brands can earn great loyalty.
And finally, brands should concentrate on driving referrals, as very few companies consider incentivizing their best customers to recommend the brand to others.
These four initiatives can help brands thrive in the coming martech era and build a platform for exponential forever profitable growth.
Marketing Technology News: MarTech Interview with Jeff Lortz, CEO at Creator by Zmags
Netcore Cloud is a SaaS platform that helps B2C brands and marketers create AI-powered new-age digital experiences at every touchpoint of a customer’s journey. By providing actionable analytics, real-time reporting and quick to implement software, Netcore Cloud takes the guesswork out of customer engagement, enabling highly personalised digital experiences that are easily scalable and translate into improved customer acquisition and retention. Brands using Netcore Cloud can build a unified view of their customers, enable omnichannel personalization and optimize their user experience.
Headquartered in Mumbai, India with 11 offices across USA, Singapore, Malaysia, Nigeria, Indonesia, UAE, UK and Germany, Netcore Cloud serves 5000+ customers across the globe. It delivers 12+ billion emails and tracks 100+ billion marketing events every month. Netcore Cloud is a trusted partner across industries with some of the most respected brands like MaxLife Insurance, ICICI Bank, Standard Chartered, Flipkart, Myntra, Miss Amara, Airtel, Disney Hotstar, Canon, Puma, Tobi, EaseMyTrip, PizzaHut and McDonald’s.
Rajesh Jain is the Founder and Managing Director at Netcore Cloud
Episode 107: How New Age Technologies Can Drive Better eCommerce Sales with John Bruno, VP of Strategy at PROS
Episode 106: The Need for Predictive Systems in B2B: with Viral Bajaria, CTO and Co-Founder, 6sense
Episode 105: Biggest Sales Enablement Trends and Challenges with Mert Yentur, CEO and Founder at Pitcher AG