On 14 Dec, we held an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on GrowthHackers. Our Head of Marketing, Almitra Karnik, spent almost an hour and a half answering questions asked by a group of enthusiastic marketers around everything – from user retention strategies to B2B SaaS demand-generation ideas to growth marketing tips. The questions and answers will remain on the growthhackers AMA page, so do check it out if you’d like to read the full transcript.
Fortunately, we managed to answer every question during the event. Here’s a quick read on our favourite questions.
Taru Bhargava: Hey Almitra! I see that you have not only worked for traditional companies such as Cisco and EMC but also with pure SaaS brands such as Twilio and CleverTap. What are the similarities and differences from a marketing standpoint and what’s been your approach to handling both?
Hi Taru – Great observation.
Marketers today need to use not only innovative growth hacks to grow their business but also look at the fundamentals of marketing such as 4Ps, etc. If you can truly combine these approaches without losing focus on the customer, then you can achieve phenomenal growth.
Anuj Adhiya: Two Questions
a. What would you say are the top 3 things that need to happen within the marketing organization (be it people, process and/or something else) for marketing functions to truly tie to revenue growth and acquisition?
Hi Anuj –
b. What are the biggest traps that you think people fall into when trying to execute around this?
Vanity metrics is one big issue when your systems are not aligned or you are using too many tools that don’t talk to each other. Also don’t have inbound vs outbound contribution set in stone. What works for other SaaS businesses might not work for you. So learn for yourself!
Javier Feldman: Can you talk about one growth experiment that was either a very big win or provided a critical insight?
Danielle Olivas: What are the main mistakes that you think most app developers make while trying to market their apps?
Hi Danielle – There are many! But here are a few I like to highlight:
John Phamva: 3 Questions
a. What tools are you using at CleverTap for experimentation and analytics right now (other than your own product)?
b. Where does your data live, ie, what is the “source of truth”?
Our data lives in Hubspot, CleverTap and Salesforce. We try to tie these together through API calls to reflect changes in deals, custom events, etc
c. What collaboration tools does the team use?
We use slack, google messenger and of course phone and email
Amit Sharma: What are the less-used but highly valuable channels/trends in marketing?
Here are my top 3 picks:
Alok Chitre: What is the culture that marketing teams need to imbibe to support data-driven marketing teams across geographies?
Hi Alok. Here are 5 things I highly recommend.
Roxana Siu – What are some in-app messaging strategies that you recommend and have worked for you in the past?
So good to see you here. In-app messages are extremely contextual and a great way to engage with your users. So make sure you make the most of it.
1. Segment your messages: To make sure customers pay attention to the message they receive, it’s important to send personalized messages to certain segments rather than blasting a common note to every single app user.
2. Celebrate Customer Milestones: As customers reach milestones, celebrate their activity with a personalized message. At CleverTap, we have seen that adding the name of the user in a message helps increase click throughs by more than 10 percent.
3. Engage Customers as they Come or Go based on time: Have you considered when your message should appear? This tip might surprise you because it’s not necessarily something that everyone thinks about. CleverTap helps gets insights based on industry so our customers can find the most opportune time to send the messages.
4. Create Original, Concise Copy: Your message should be original and short. You don’t have a ton of space, so you should only use a few words. This is especially important if you’re including an image. You don’t want the message to look crowded.
Neeru Sharma – I saw your Linkedin profile and it seems you moved back to India after almost a decade in silicon valley. What were your reasons? Would you recommend this move to folks who are thinking on similar lines?
Hi Neeru! That’s a question I like to always answer and can go on for 90 mins:)
Tanushree Shenvi – What are your top User Acquisition channels?
Hello Tanushree – I am glad you asked this! Our top channels are referrals, organic and PPC. We invest a lot in customer case studies and referral marketing since we strongly believe that our customers are our best spokespeople. We give incentives to promote the product and also our customer success teams make sure that these relationships are continued way beyond the sale. With content distribution and aligning keyword strategies with our product value proposition, we are able to own and drive growth around specific keywords.
Bhaskar Sarma – Hey Almitra, glad to see you here. What is the one mobile hack that successfully drove growth in the short to mid term?
Hi Bhaskar… Here are a few actually…
Rohit Srivastav – What are some best ways to implement Push notifications?
Hello Rohit – That’s a great question. Push is very popular and we see many of our customers use it all the time. As reported by VentureBeat, segmented campaigns that are triggered by specific user behaviors can perform up to 2,770% better than the same campaigns ‘blasted’ to the entire user base.
Pooja Sriram – What should mobile marketers keep in mind as they approach 2018?
I see some of these influencing marketing decisions a lot in 2018.
Agneesh Bhadury – Hi Almitra, What B2B demand generation ideas have worked best for you?
Hi Agneesh – We have seen a phenomenal YoY growth because of very targeted activities around events, Analyst Relations and PR. Some concrete tactics that have worked for us are:
Jeff Aboud – What are your takeaways for marketing newbies?
Hi Jeff! Here are 4 key areas that new marketing enthusiasts should focus on:
Neeraj Thakur – Hey Almitra, good to see you in here! What is the difference between push and in-app messages? Any tips on using them in an omni-channel marketing strategy?
Push notifications are the simplest way to gain attention from a wide audience – all at once. They also elicit a response almost as soon as the message lands. In-app is extremely personalized and the CTRs on that can be substantially higher than push. However, you need to be more sensitive to the messages here and be highly relevant.
Certain use cases respond better to certain channels. Suppose you want to target a user who is not completing a transaction, use channels of communication that bring that subtly to their notice and drive the action to completion. Similar messages across channels will help them to focus on one activity and take that seriously. Omni-channel no longer applies to just connecting the physical and digital worlds. It is now used to align various channels in the digital world itself.
Sunny Singh – What are the top three ways your make it convenient for your customers to be loyal? How can we leverage these when it comes to a marketing software like hootsuite, buffer and crowdfire ?
Hi Sunny – A universal strategy will not work for all brands but the ones you have mentioned can definitely benefit from focusing on these 3 phases:
a. Acquisition: This is all about making sure that you understand where your users are coming from. Products such as Segment and Branch are ideal to figure out the audience segment that is likely to come from a specific source. You can tweak and double down on sources that work for you
b. Retention: Our customers have often mentioned that retention costs almost 9X than acquisition. These costs are not only the marketing costs but also sales efforts, competitive displacement conversations and lost brand value due to a bad experience with your product. I highly encourage marketers to focus a lot of their tactics on this since negative brand = lost $$.
c. Engagement: When you use push or emails that are not only personalized but also based on user action, you will see at least a 10X increase in response rates. This is where you have an opportunity to upsell and cross-sell your service by suggesting complementary products or where you can encourage current evangelists to promote your product to their network. We have seen our sales pipeline grow due to referrals and case studies all the time.
Vijay Mandeep – Hey Almitra, Glad to see you here. What can today’s CMOs do to better improve top-line revenues and be successful?
Hello Vijay. Today’s CMOs are not only responsible for traditional marketing activities but with SaaS business on the rise, can contribute a lot to the top-line and bring predictability to revenue forecasting. However, the need to make sure to:
a. Capture Relevant Data: Perform data-mining across existing silos to develop a single, centralized view of the customer.
b. Align with your Customer’s Expectations: Optimizing segmentation to tailor offers to the individual customers rather than mass marketing indiscriminately, and reducing costs at the same time.
c. Make Real-time Data-Driven Marketing Decisions: Getting to monetization faster by increasing the favorable outcomes and reducing the unfavorable ones using AI/ML. Enable effective engagement with consumers based on their buying history, preferences, frequently, location and much more.
d. Build a Culture of Innovation: Outlining all the possible touch-points with which your customers interact and all the data your customers create through these interactions. This exercise will not only help you understand your customer better, but also outline all the ways in which your company shapes your customer’s experience of your brand.
e. Contribute to ROI and improve KPIs and Business Metrics: Creating dashboards that give visibility into business metrics like ROI for specific marketing channels, the time it takes for a customer to start paying and marketing-influenced models that show deeper analysis than first and last touch attribution.
Divya Sharma – Hey Almitra! What are some of the growth hacks you have successfully used at CleverTap?
Hey Divya..We maintain a working growth document that the entire team and leadership add to to think out-of-the-box. Beyond the proven marketing activities, here are some we have experimented with:
Aditya Behere – What is CleverTap focusing on in 2018? What kind of insights can the community look forward to thanks to Behavioural Analytics in the next year?
Aditya – That is something we are very excited about. We are focusing on a lot of interesting offerings that will bring immense value to customers. At CleverTap, we look at our customers/prospects and the market to adopt and prioritize features so we can continuously provide differentiated value to our users.
a. AI and ML: The ability to prescribe and predict outcomes is huge for marketers. This is something we have experienced in many of our conversations with analysts and customers. We will continue to build on this offering.
b. Building diverse user experiences: Building a one size fits all approach is something that doesn’t work. Your customers are different. Why should their experiences be the same? Capturing the right mobile moment and creating new ones to hand hold your users to the next step of their app journey will be a huge opportunity.
c. Personalization at scale: In order to identify micro-moments and build messages according, requires a platform that processes millions on data points in a fraction of a second. Hence we will continue to focus on our architecture to make it more robust and scalable.
d. Build long-term relationships: This is what we truly believe in. Our customer success team has always been a big differentiator for us. To make sure the customer is able to adopt and see value ASAP is their charter. We fundamentally believe that our job does not end at selling the product. In Fact, we take it as a commitment to make sure our customers are successful. They win – we win.
Zeneya Asrani – What are your thoughts on AI and ML and how that applies to marketing? Is it just a fad?
AI and ML are here to stay!
Keyur Shah – Can you tell us about a CleverTap customer and how your AI/ML offerings help them create better engagement strategies?
We have a few customers who are power users of our ML and AI offering. One of the biggest brands in APAC with over 50 Million downloads uses us heavily to look at different segments of users from the probability of conversion. Based on predictive modelling they then create differentiated personalized marketing campaigns and invest $$ so they get the optimal ROI. This helps them to quickly get users to see value in their services with targeted offers so they are always working on the segment that is most likely to bring the most $$ in the least possible time. This ability to have all this data helps them perform intelligent A/B tests and see results in no time.
Glen Harper – When you started CleverTap, what was the opportunity that you saw as untapped (there are clearly a lot of analytics companies)? I’d love to get some context on that initial vision and if that continues to be CleverTap’s main focus or whether you have shifted significantly as the market has evolved?
Hi Glen – The plethora of point solutions that solve one specific problem leads to complexity and makes the marketers life painful. As a marketer, we struggle with:
We are building a powerful mobile marketing ecosystem that enables marketers build differentiated experiences for their users. Using a strong tech platform that processes billions of data points in milli-seconds and gives marketers access to advanced customer insights, CleverTap helps solve challenges around omni-channel marketing, marketing automation, and personalization at scale. Also the opportunity to build this solution and marry that with advanced AI/ML techniques is the most exciting past of this journey.
CleverTap, an Intelligent Mobile Marketing Platform helps you to better understand your users as they travel through various digital touch-points across your brand and interact with multiple experiences that marketers create for them. This ability to know your users and process billions of data points in milliseconds is crucial in building differentiated and personalized brand interactions at scale.