In recognition of International Women’s Day, we wanted to spotlight some of the remarkable women in marketing that we have had the pleasure of working with. One of these women is Meera Iyer, former Medlife CMO. We had the chance to speak to Iyer recently regarding how COVID-19 has impacted the company and the efforts they undertook to be more proactive — including embracing a holistic approach, using data-driven and predictive models, and building capabilities that address changing customer demands.
In 2020 a whopping 94% of Fortune 1000 companies said they saw supply chain disruptions from COVID-19, according to global management consultancy Accenture.* Now, companies are on the rebound and ready to turn massive disruption into meaningful change. The winners will be companies that are quick to change demand forecasting models, improve visibility into their supplier base, or simply pivot.
It’s a mammoth task and one that Medlife — India’s largest e-health platform — has tackled head-on. The company offers home delivery of medicines and lab diagnostics and allows consumers to book in-home and online doctor consultations.
When lockdown hit, demand shot into the stratosphere, and the team was overwhelmed at first. “Organically, we suddenly had a jump of 100% in our orders, and we had customer cohorts coming back [into the funnel] after lapsing over two years ago,” recalls Iyer.
The company assessed their stock and adjusted customer segmentation. The combination of reliable service and relevant messaging resulted in a 2x increase in conversions and click-through rates (CTRs) that were 3-4X higher than average.
Appearing as a guest on the Reimagine Growth podcast miniseries, Iyer shared how her company harnessed data about the supply chain to get deep insights on their customers that helped reduce friction, build trust, and elevate messaging.
Companies have always sought to achieve a near-perfect balance of supply and demand. It’s an elusive goal, and in a pandemic it’s nearly impossible. But a creative approach, harnessing data and teamwork, allowed Medlife to achieve optimal order fulfilment and customer satisfaction in challenging times.
Iyer highlights how a sharp focus on three factors allowed them to maximize service and optimize the experience, ensuring their brand would be remembered as a company that came through for customers:
They also broke new ground at the time, working with doctors and pharmacists to identify substitutions for some 12,000 medicines in short supply, Iyer explained. It started with research that allowed us to “match substitutable products with 100% accuracy and to be 200% sure about it.”
As mobile and apps account for a significant percentage of orders, the team also worked to re-engineer the flow — in the app and across the customer journey — to update and inform customers about their product choices.
With the Medlife app, the process of uploading a prescription through payment (or doctor diagnosis, if consumers don’t have a prescription) and product delivery takes just three taps.
Customized communications — critical to meeting customer needs for trustworthy and accurate information about COVID-19 — accompanied customers every step of the way.
But it was also important to avoid wasting marketing dollars targeting customers they couldn’t serve. “It was critical to ensure that we spend marketing dollars where it will actually result in incremental revenue during this time, rather than burn cash,” said Iyer.
Another focus was ensuring the match between communications and customers. It’s all about driving customer connection by using the channels that customers prefer. And according to Iyer, marketing automation allowed the company to drive CTRs that were up to 4x the average.
“Working with CleverTap allows us to segment customers the way we want them through a list of attributes that we can feed into the system,” Iyer explained. “It also allows us to customize communications and channel delivery, sending customers a push notification if they have the app, or an SMS or email if they don’t.”
What’s more, working with CleverTap helped Medlife unlock new ways to add value by offering convenience with a personal touch. “As a rule, messaging that is personalized always does way better compared to something generic,” Iyer explained. “And we were able to reach out to our customers, calling their name out and talking to them about the products that they regularly buy from us.”
Being able to communicate at this level elevated the conversation and cemented customer loyalty, she adds. “Our conversion rates, our engagement rates, our followers: everything soared through this entire lockdown period, and I think it was because we put in a genuine effort to make a difference in people’s lives during this time.”
TL;DR As marketers work to manage the current pain points and prepare for a better tomorrow, they benefit from turning issues into opportunities. Medlife is a textbook example. Faced with broken supply chains, the company aligned messaging and marketing to shape customer demand.
On the supply side, the company did the research alongside doctors and experts to identify substitutions for in-demand medicines and essential items. They also did their homework by checking stock levels and only marketing goods they were 100% sure could be procured and delivered.
On the demand-side, Medlife harnessed segmentation to ensure it prioritized the most valuable customers. And they used granular user segmentation based on recency and frequency to identify and group customers who were most likely to add value to the business.
They cemented their position as a trusted and reliable brand by harnessing marketing automation to power personalization, prioritize valuable customers, and avoid over-promising.
To learn more about how Medlife is reimagining growth, tune into the entire interview.
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