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Contributors

Writers

Priscilla Thomas

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A content writer who has worked for Infosys Technologies and other technology startups in India and abroad.

Avanish Tiwary

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Avanish is a Bangalore-based journalist who writes on business with a specific focus on technology companies.

Priyanka Bhatacharya

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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. 

S.Sahu

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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 Hegde

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Prajwala is a Bangalore-based freelance journalist who writes on social issues, stories of human interest, and art and culture, among others. 

Rajesh Nanarpuzha

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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.

Designer

Priyokumar Singh Naorem

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He is a passionate UI & UX designer who thrives on creating engaging creative solutions.

Artists

Dyuti Mittal

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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.

Sumakshi Singh

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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.

Parul Gupta

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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

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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

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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

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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 Jolad

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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.

Concept and Direction

Nimish Vohra

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Head of marketing at Regalix, Nimish drives research in emerging technologies and customer experience, and takes a keen interest in creative arts.

Enquiry

+91 9560509289

aishani.majumdar@regalix-inc.com

Know when a new article is published

In a recently published study by Regalix – State of Product Marketing 2017 – it was seen that marketers were more focused on acquiring new customers than engaging and retaining existing ones. The report goes on to say, “Sales and revenue generation continue to be the overarching concern of marketers. As a result, relationship metrics like customer engagement have received less than their share of attention.”

Here, Asoke K. Laha, Founder, President & CEO,InterraIT Inc. and President & Managing Director of InterraIT India, talks about how B2B service providers can engage with their customers for better retention and improved business performance.

InterraIT is the largest privately held offshore consulting company with operations in India. The company offers a comprehensive portfolio of IT and IT-enabled services with a distinct focus on providing product engineering services, ERP solutions, web-based custom enterprise applications and mobile application development.

Interviewed by Priyanka Bhattacharya

 


 

/ /  In today’s context, how important is it for B2B businesses to have a digital marketing strategy in place?

Marketing is extremely important for B2B companies, just as it is for B2C. Traditional marketing techniques will only get today’s B2B marketer so far. B2B customer relationships are not about one-off transactions but rather are built on long-term relationships nurtured by demonstrating capabilities and showcasing credibility. This is where digital marketing leaves a lasting impact.

Routinely creating industry-relevant content and disseminating it throughout the customer journey at multiple touch points (Search, Social Media, Digital PR and Landing Pages) provide maximum impact for a firm’s digital marketing strategy.

It is crucial that today’s marketers engage prospects and customers by providing them with useful content (case studies, white papers, etc.) that helps customers improve their business performance and positions you as an expert who they can rely upon.

/ /  Research shows that most B2B vendors or solution providers focus on customer acquisition rather than engagement and retention. Do you think as a B2B solution provider, you need to focus on keeping your existing customers engaged?

Absolutely!

Unfortunately, not all B2B companies tread this path. Many B2B marketing teams focus on customer acquisition and prefer traditional tactics like direct mail and trade shows, instead of engagement through social media and content marketing. This needs to change! If you think that you have an amazing sales and account management team and there’s no need for digital marketing, you’ll realize your mistake sooner or later.

You have to understand that engagement is extremely important. B2B customers are people and have feelings too. They are not rational bots. Even though they are extremely busy, they still want to be engaged, amused and fed with great ideas. Your B2B customers will care more about your products or services, and buy more, if they know more about them. Greater understanding leads to greater confidence in your products or services. This can be achieved by feeding them about your true differentiators, unique business processes and past customer stories throughout the customer journey via mails, social media and digital forums. After-sales service and upgradation help you grow closer to the customer, understand their priorities and provide solutions in subsequent phases of consulting services. This also helps in getting more referral business.

Your customers will become your true evangelists once they have all the facts about how beneficial your brand is. This will make them want to share those facts with others and spread the word.

/ /  What is your strategy for engaging and retaining existing customers? Research shows that it is more cost-effective and profitable to retain existing customers.

For B2B companies in general, a strategy for engaging and retaining existing customers is extremely important, since the customer pool is significantly smaller, as compared to B2C companies. Hence, it is relevant to focus on keeping the existing customers happy and retaining them for longer periods.

InterraIT has been able to retain more than 70% of its original customers all over the world. This has been possible because of our proactive customer relationship strategy. For InterraIT, being customer-centric is embedded in our culture. Customer orientation is part of our overall marketing strategy and the company’s messaging.

/ /  What kind of technologies are you using to understand customer behavior pattern and needs?

In an increasingly customer-centric world, the ability to capture and use customer insights to shape your solutions is crucial. We, at InterraIT, utilize technology at several levels to understand customer behavior. We use analytics and big data in this field. We also leverage statistical analysis and insights from market psychology acquired by our team over the decades.

We use advanced marketing automation platforms to understand, manage and measure customer behavior at multiple touch points. This has helped us remarkably improve our lead generation and sales program and maximize the impact of our marketing investments across all channels.

Reporting dashboards, next-best-action analytics and similar solutions have allowed our account managers to compare performance and see what pricing and engagement models are working for other similar clients.

Also, our customer support teams have deployed systems based on artificial intelligence that are capable of capturing and interpreting reams of data to provide answers to the most frequently asked questions.

/ /  How are you using analytics and AI to improve your customer engagement strategy?

We have a dedicated AI and analytics team to examine customer issues and priorities. This has added significant value to our customer engagement and relationships.

We have derived a lot of value through analytics. This has led to improved lead generation and lead scoring, higher customer lifetime value through decrease in churn, reduction in dispute occurrences, better cross-selling and upselling, and an improved pricing structure.

AI tools like predictive analytics and chat-bots have helped us provide efficient customer support, and improve customer loyalty and satisfaction. AI tools have been deployed by us to allow marketers to create personalized campaigns, help sales teams to identify customer buying patterns, and analyze and identify the characteristics of past high-value customers.

With the power to measure, analyze and anticipate customer needs and drive revenue, analytics and AI technology cannot be overlooked.

/ /  While B2C companies use loyalty programs to retain customers, as a B2B organization, do you feel it is important to use loyalty programs and rewards to retain customers?

B2C is a more commonly acknowledged ground for loyalty programs but it is increasingly taking hold in the B2B domain. We try to provide hyper-personalized services to our customers in this area and also try to focus on education, awareness and interactive consultancy, so that retaining clients becomes a natural, almost organic process. If you treat your customers like family and take care of them accordingly, it becomes a genuine bond which far exceeds market exchanges and buying needs. We try to become their friends and partners and answer questions and resolve doubts even when no concrete sales are in the foresight.

There are many benefits to implementing a B2B loyalty program, since it helps develop greater insights regarding your customers’ needs and expectations. Loyalty programs also help create brand advocates or evangelists who spread your name online and through word of mouth to their partners and associates. These programs offer businesses like ours an opportunity to enhance engagement with clients and build a stronger relationship with them.

Loyalty programs can be used as an opportunity to sign up clients for newsletters, emails and webinars, giving businesses another reason to engage with their customers.

/ /  Can you describe some interesting activities you have done to keep your customers informed and engaged, and ensured better chances of cross selling and upselling?

Apart from our consistent content marketing programs through newsletters, emails and webinars, we at InterraIT have implemented the following methods to increase engagement, loyalty and upselling opportunities.

  • Arranging member events: Our vision is to build long-term and sustainable business relationships with all our clients. In this regard, in-person events provide us with a great opportunity to recognize our clients, strengthen ties with them, introduce our latest service offerings and encourage feedback on customer experience. We arrange free and paid conferences, trade shows and retreat events for our B2B clients and prospects to increase loyalty and educate them on industry related issues.
  • Partnering with third parties to provide customers with extra benefits: We have strategic partnership with multiple technology vendors in different domains. These partners allow us to offer their product solutions to our clients through an affiliate relationship. This way we can build all-inclusive packages comprising our services and affiliate products at huge discounts, resulting in a win-win situation for our customers. Our customers don’t have to go through the pain of shortlisting multiple product vendors, negotiating discounts and evaluating technology features since we do all the heavy lifting for them. In short, we walk an extra mile for each of our customers ensuring excellent customer experience, engagement and satisfaction.
  • Personalized content for loyal customers: As mentioned before, our mission does not end with closing a deal. We serve to improve our customers’ business throughout the customer relationship journey. To enable this, we research, analyze and create industry relevant content, specially crafted to help our customers improve their businesses. We create “customers only” webinars, dashboards and tutorials to identify gaps and opportunities, and introduce technology solutions to help them improve their revenues. This way we build trust, deliver excellence and create cross-sell opportunities for ourselves.

/ /  InterraIT’s rules for engaging existing customers:

  • Have a consistent brand voice: Throughout the customers’ relationship with InterraIT, they deal with multiple departments at the company but we ensure that no matter who they talk to, they get a consistently seamless experience and unanimous brand voice. You cannot effectively communicate with your customers if you don’t have consistent messaging and brand voice.
  • Care for your customer as much as you do for your own business: We at InterraIT don’t sell to entities for the sake of it; we build long term relationships with our customers. We emphasize creating loyalty, and understand that closing a sale with a customer is not the end. It is the beginning of a relationship that never ends. It’s only when customers realize that being in business with you is actually good for them that the thought of moving to competition becomes a distant possibility.