On Marketing Technology
MTS: Tell us a little bit about your role and how you got here. (what inspired you to start a martech company)
I founded Wingify back in 2009 with an aim to build tools that simplified decision-making processes for marketers. During my college days, I dabbled in a few start-up ventures. All of them leaned towards the B2C side of things and all of them failed to take off. This is when I realised that I was good at building things but not so great when it came to marketing them. As I tried to teach myself more and solve this problem, I found myself looking at things from beyond an engineer’s perspective. This is when I decided to embed myself in the world of marketing and start something that could solve some of its problems through technology.
MTS: Given the massive proliferation of marketing technology, how do you see the martech market evolving over the next few years?
The raging debate when it comes to marketing technology is whether businesses should invest in one big platform that takes care of the entire marketing function to an extent or engage smaller tools that solves a particular problem spectacularly. Quite often, the bigger platforms are unable to do justice to the core of a specific use case which smaller tools are built to address. The nature or scale of a business often decides which tool or platform gets picked up. For instance, making a mobile app does not make sense to every business and the website remains to be their primary touchpoint with customers. They can still reach out to their customers through email or web push notifications. This creates an interesting scenario where marketing technology is evolving in both these directions where there are takers for broad as well as specialised tools.
MTS: What do you see as the single most important technology trend or development that’s going to impact us?
It would be quite easy to comment that AI is the next big thing in marketing technology. However, it is only one part of the bigger picture. The evolution of technology is directly influenced by shifts in consumer behaviour. If there’s one thing the modern consumer has a strong dislike for, it is being marketed to. We are inundated with marketing messages from all sides, at all times. This gives an upper hand to platforms like Netflix and tools like ad blockers which shield the user from this onslaught. With demand for content steadily increasing, this tension between consumers and businesses is probably the biggest challenge that martech has to solve.
MTS: What’s the biggest challenge that CMOs need to tackle to make marketing technology work?
Marketing does not exist in a silo. It shares a symbiotic relationship with other functions like Customer Success, Sales and so on. Today, every smart team is equipped with their own stack of tools. And, with so many tools being used not just within the function but also along with it, CMOs must find their way through the clutter to make these agree with each other.
MTS: What startups are you watching/keen on right now?
I’m very keen on how the entire Privacy space is evolving. Users are increasingly concerned about how they’re being tracked online. This is where it becomes important to develop tools that do not compromise consumer data. If you look at the technology of web push notifications, it is a permission-based medium that do not require users to share any personal information including email ids. It is a simple solution that addresses a grave concern.
MTS: What tools does your marketing stack consist of in 2017?
Here are some of tools we use across marketing teams in Wingify –
- Hubspot – Marketing Automation
- SEMRush – SEO and PPC
- PersistIQ – Outbound email marketing tool
- ReIntent – Contact search and management platform
- io – Outbound email marketing
- Hootsuite – Social media marketing
- Optimonk – For popups to capture leads
- Perfect Audience – For retargeting
- Hootsuite – Content distribution
- Email Hunter – Influencer reachout
- Grammarly – Writing and copy editing
- BuiltWith – Lead Gen & Internet Tech Trends platform
- Clearbit – Lead enrichment & discovery
- Olark – Live Chat tool
- Intercom (Within Product) – Live Chat and Communication tool to engage with customers
- Ghostery chrome extension – Website Tech information
- Similar web chrome extension – Website traffic information estimates
- Datanyze chrome extension – Website information
- Google Analytics – Analytics and tracking
Of course, we use our own products VWO for A/B Testing and conversion optimization, and PushCrew for Push Notifications.
MTS: Could you tell us about a standout digital campaign? (Who was your target audience and how did you measure success)
One of our recent campaigns that stood out was the VWO Outbound Marketing Programme. Our goal was to generate high value enterprise opportunities while increasing brand awareness among the targeted enterprise industries.
Using BI tools like Builtwith, we discovered accounts for which VWO could be of high utility. Once we generated a list of prospective accounts to target, we utilized data from our in-house Market Research team and third-party prospecting tools like ReIntent to populate the target accounts with appropriate contacts. These included stakeholders who were C-Level, VP, Director and Managers.
We measured the performance of the campaign on parameters like Accounts contacted, Number of follow-ups made, Number of Accounts responded and Number of opportunities created. The key indicator of success was the Total Revenue Potential from Channel. We have generated around $750k worth of opportunities.
We saw much higher conversions (understandably) from inbound leads to our website’s lead-gen forms. All we knew was they previously engaged with our web assets and indicated interest in AB Testing and/or CRO.
What stood out most in the campaign was Hyper personalisation. We personalised landing pages for accounts. Using geography information, we talked about events specific to the prospect, and provide relevant names from our clientele. We utilized case-studies and brands from our clientele which were highly relevant to the prospect’s industry, and quoted trends from their respective industries.
MTS: How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a marketing leader?
AI has been crucial in increasing the level of automation in our day to day activities. However, an aspect which it still cannot step in for is- Creativity. Good marketing thrives on creativity. We still need the Creative Marketer to work on positioning or developing messages that touch people. So, while AI seamlessly takes over the logical and mechanical elements of marketing, the inventiveness and originality rest with us.
This Is How I Work
MTS: One word that best describes how you work.
MTS: What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Hacker News, Twitter, 9GAG 🙂
MTS: What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?
Having an Executive Assistant. It is one of the smartest work related decisions I’ve taken and it is definitely not just a hack.
MTS: What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)
Here’s a list of all the books I read in 2016, http://shelfjoy.com/paraschopra/books-ive-read-in-2016. Currently, I’m reading The Firm and The Sellout.
I divide my time between my Kindle and paper books. Beyond books, I usually turn to Hacker News for reading.
MTS: Tag the one person whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
Ben Thompson – Author & Founder – Stratechery
MTS: Thank you Paras! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Paras Chopra is the founder and CEO of Wingify, India’s most successful bootstrapped software product company. Wingify’s products include VWO and PushCrew, both highly profitable B2B marketing tools.
With headquarters in New Delhi and offices in Pune and New York, Wingify boasts of some of the best tech talent in the country, working in a diverse, inclusive, and fun workplace with the aim of being the best Indian software product company.
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.