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Susan is an independent digital communications and user experience strategist. She helps companies discover their brand voice and grow their business.
Shubharthi is currently part of the strategic marketing team at Regalix. His expertise mainly lies in the account-based marketing and programmatic advertising space.
Priscilla is a content writer who has worked for Infosys Technologies and other technology startups in India and abroad.
Moulishree is a freelance journalist with over 7 years of experience, she writes research-based analytical stories on technology and business.
Avanish is a Bangalore-based journalist who writes on business with a specific focus on technology companies.
Priyanka has covered every aspect of the IT industry as a tech journalist since its early days. She is now an independent writer, working on subjects like digital marketing, enterprise technology and high-performance computing, among others.
A freelance content writer, S. Sahu was the former editor of TCS's house magazine at Tata Consultancy Services. He developed tech marketing collateral for the company and helped compile and edit books and journal articles on TCS's technology innovations. He also ghostwrites print and online publications.
Prajwala is a Bangalore-based freelance journalist who writes on social issues, stories of human interest, and art and culture, among others.
Rajesh Nanarpuzha is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at IIM Udaipur. Previously, he has worked as a brand manager in Dabur, and as a business consultant in the retail and consumer goods domains at Cognizant and Tata Consultancy Services. Rajesh has an MBA from IIM Indore and a doctorate in marketing from IIM Ahmedabad.
Priyokumar Singh Naorem
He is a passionate UI & UX designer who thrives on creating engaging creative solutions.
A freelance illustrator, artist, graphic novelist and designer. She has designed and illustrated several book covers. Her personal illustrations so far have attempted to seize the fleeting absurdity and mood of places, things and people she encounters in a childlike, intuitive and expressive manner with closure, beauty and innocence – the things that she desires.
She is an artist and an educator who has taught and lectured at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Oxford University, the Victoria and Albert Museum among other institutions. Her installations, paintings, thread work and sculptures have been exhibited in Saatchi Gallery - London, C24 Gallery - New York, and Museum of Contemporary Art – Lyon, among other notable galleries and museums from around the world.
A commerce graduate from Delhi University, Parul pursued a masters in fine arts from Nottingham Trent University in the UK. As an artist, she is interested in line as a subject which has led her to follow architectural lines in built environments. She says she is also interested in how we perceive the environment that we inhabit and what happens when a subtle shift is made in things which we have been used to seeing in a certain way. We present six of her artworks here.
Shweta Malhotra is a graphic artist and designer from Mumbai, based in New Delhi.
After working with ad agencies and design studios for close to 8 years, she branched out on her own and currently works independently.s Her overall design aesthetic is minimal, bold and graphic, a response to the maximalist visual language prevalent in India.
Rithika Merchant (b.1986) received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Parsons the New School for Design, New York in 2008. She has exhibited extensively since her graduation. Recent exhibitions include a duo show “Reliquaries: The Remembered Self” at TARQ, Mumbai; “Language of the Birds: Occult and Art” at 80WSE Gallery, New York; and group shows at Summerhall, Edinburgh and Artry Gallery, Kochi. Her work has been included in multiple group shows at Stephen Romano Gallery and The Morbid Anatomy Museum, New York. Born in Mumbai, she now divides her time between Mumbai and Barcelona.
Aniruddh Mehta is an artist based out of Mumbai, India. Trained in graphic design from the London College of Communications, Aniruddh is a self-taught illustrator and currently works as an independent freelance designer. He believes in finding the right balance between art and graphic design. He has worked closely in collaboration with Bhavishyavani Future Soundz, Qilla Records, Taxi Fabric, Adidas, Dell and United Colours of Benetton. He also goes by the moniker, ‘thebigfatminimalist’ and his style ranges from bold minimal forms to more intricate pieces exploring patterns and geometry.
Paramesh is an artist who enjoys working in both the realistic and abstract style of painting. He loves working with water color. Featured in this issue are a set of water color works that he has created exclusively for us on the subject of digital transformation.
Based in Mumbai, Chandrashekhar Thakur is a Senior Art Director and Illustrator at Truebil.com and the Founder of HAPPiNESS For You. He loves working with new styles of art and considers illustration to be his forte. Chandrashekhar has completed his BFA from DY Patil College of Applied Art.
Concept and Direction
Head of marketing at Regalix, Nimish drives research in emerging technologies and customer experience, and takes a keen interest in creative arts.
Fractal Analytics, a leading advanced analytics solution provider in India, has been using an elaborate account-based marketing (ABM) practice to go after select large companies including many in the Fortune 500, and it enables its customers to do the same. Driven by artificial intelligence, machine learning and analytics, Fractal helps its clients strategize and implement ABM to drive growth. Arpan Dasgupta, Fractal Analytics’ Partner-Financial Services and Vice President, Global Consulting, spoke to Digital CMO about the trends and technologies that are driving ABM today, how ABM has changed the way companies work, and how businesses are embracing this emerging marketing practice.
Interviewed by Moulishree Srivastava
/ / How has the ABM function evolved over the past few years?
ABM itself is not a new concept. It has been practiced in various shapes and forms over the years as a part of B2B selling. But what has really changed is the coming of digital that has enabled ABM to operate at a whole new level.
ABM is evolving in three different dimensions. The first is the number of channels in which you can engage. Earlier it used to be email, but today it has expanded to the company's website, search engine optimization, social media, and to a lesser extent, mobile.
The second dimension is the nature of the engagement. The degree of personalization at scale, which was not possible earlier, has become possible today because of AI.
The third dimension is automation. There are many marketing automation platforms, like Salesforce, that enable algorithmic targeting, where you send the first message, and then have the algorithm decide on what the second message should be.
/ / What are the technologies and trends driving ABM today?
If I were to rank them depending on what we are seeing in the market, I would say marketing automation platforms, which is a fairly recent phenomenon, has really gone up the ranks rather quickly. From the AI perspective, which is driving personalization, platforms such as Fractal’s Customer Genomics that do digital personalization are also helping drive ABM.
/ / Why has ABM become more critical in the current scenario?
ABM has become a force in B2B sales and marketing today primarily because there is way too much clutter and irrelevance in the marketplace. In the good old days, you could send an email to multiple companies and expect a fairly decent click-through rate. But now some of the large organizations, who are our clients, have told us that they get as much as 50 vendor emails a day. There is no way that they can open all of them, and in most cases, they just ignore them. Therefore relevance and personalization are absolutely critical if you want your prospective target to open your email. ABM helps you in hyper-personalizing your message, so your target is more likely to open it.
/ / How well, in your opinion, are businesses coping with the change that AI is bringing into ABM?
Very few companies are coping with it well. Building capabilities into this whole AI function is still in flux. The reason for this is two-fold. One is the data. Data is a big constraining factor for anybody trying to get into AI. Data tends to rest in multiple sources within an organization. The CRM system doesn't talk to the transaction system, and the digital system does not talk to either of these. So bringing all of them together requires an initial investment that very few companies are willing to make. But we certainly see a lot of companies starting to invest in it.
The second constraint is on the tech side. Technology needs to be adapted to drive real-time decision-making, and real-time technology has not yet fully evolved.
There is a third element to this, but it is not consistent across companies. Companies need to have a very solid measuring system and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) if they are doing algorithmic, account-based marketing at scale. For example, how do you do attribution, and allow for ownership of outcomes? The process and governance around this are not yet fully developed.
/ / What are the more popular channels of communication in ABM? How much weight is generally given to mobile and social media?
When you use ABM, you are targeting your customers in multiple channels. This could include email, web, mobile and social media. Attribution―to see which channels are really working―is not something that too many companies are doing.
In the few companies that are doing it, and of which we have been part, mobile has played a very small part. It is an emerging channel that people have not yet fully tapped into. But social media is working well with a contribution that could be in the range of 10-15%.
/ / What are the trends and technologies that you think will drive ABM in the future? How should businesses gear up for this?
I think three to five years down the road, many of the challenges that are currently being faced will have been addressed.
For large vendors like Oracle, Salesforce and IBM, who have significant market shares, the challenge would be to sell more within their own accounts, thus expanding their revenue per customer. I expect the big push to come in mobile apps, which is going to be a major channel for one-on-one marketing. It will help break the clutter on email today. It’s growth that is likely to happen in the coming three to five years.
For smaller vendors―startups and small businesses that have one or few products―I think it is going to be a lot more challenging to break the clutter. You might see a complete change here; since emails and social media are not working that well, these companies might end up going back to traditional ways of marketing, which is face-to-face marketing and phone calls. To make this possible, AI will play a significant role, but in a different way altogether.
Priority, intent, content and treatment―these are the four key factors that every vendor will have to consider. Let’s look at them one at a time. Priority, or who should I call right now; who is in the market to really buy my product and services? Who is that one person that I should talk to right now? If you were to call, what should be the intent of your conversation? Is it purely to sell? Or is it to invite them to an educational event? What is it that you want to accomplish? That has to be clear. Next is content. If you were to sell, what would be the one product that you should talk about? And the fourth factor is treatment. Treatment is the way you tailor your message according to your understanding of the customer.
These four factors are the four building blocks of every conversation that a salesperson or a call center agent will have. And since they have only about a minute to capture the prospective client's attention, they have to get all of this completely right, and that is where I see AI playing a key role.
Transitioning to an ABM organization
Marketing, at its core, is a process of understanding consumer needs, to design goods and services that satisfy these needs better than existing competition.
ABM will help you deliver a real-world experience in the digital space
Abraham Alapatt, President & Group Head, Marketing, Service Quality, VAS & Innovation, Thomas Cook (India)
AI has huge potential to transform ABM meaningfully
Apurv Bhatnagar, Associate Vice President, Kore.ai
ABM is a marathon, not a sprint
Anamika Gupta, Director and Head of Account Based Marketing at Fujitsu America, Inc.
Investing in ABM should be a no-brainer for B2B enterprises
Virender Jeet, SVP, Sales & Marketing/Products, Newgen Software Technologies Limited
The right type of events can play an integral role in your ABM plans
Nerissa Traola, Director, Demand Generation, CA Technologies
In ABM, personalization is not an afterthought – it is part of the strategy
Yashdeep Vaishnav, Director, Marketing Cloud, Salesforce
I would say ABM is a big cultural shift for companies, and AI is only a small part of that
Todd Berkowitz, Managing Vice President, Tech GTM Marketing, Product & Sales, Gartner Inc.
ABM is more cost-effective than traditional marketing
Jennifer Toton, Vice President, Marketing, RollWorks
Companies that have invested time into developing their account strategy are likely to benefit from ABM
Chandra Sekar, Vice President, Marketing, Avi Networks
ABM is a journey of understanding a prospect's business pains and challenges and addressing them
K. P. Unnikrishnan, Senior Director & Head, Marketing, APAC, Palo Alto Networks
ABM is akin to fishing with a spear instead of casting a wide net
Sumit Srivastava, Head, Corporate Marketing Analytics & Operations, LexisNexis Risk Solutions
The return on investment of ABM is far more than a generic broad-based marketing approach
Samik Roy, Country Head (Dynamics), Microsoft India
One-size-fits-all content is not good enough for ABM
Paul McMeekin, Director, Marketing, ACI Worldwide
ABM can seem thankless before it turns to gold
VC John, Regional VP, Marketing & Communications (BFSI), Accenture
ABM is important, but how it gets implemented becomes the differentiating factor
Subhendu Pattnaik, AVP & Head, Global Marketing and Demand Generation, Cigniti Technologies