SME Featured South Asia

Peer Connexions, B2B e-commerce platform, launches in India

Mumbai, India – Peer Connexions, a B2B e-commerce platform, has launched in India. The platform, which is already operating in markets Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and Sri Lanka, marks its entry into India through launch partner, Tech Data, the global distributor and solutions aggregator for the IT ecosystem. 

Among the capabilities that the new e-commerce provides are detailed technical, commercial information and product catalogues, pricing and inventory status, and the ability to register and transact on a common platform. And just like any e-commerce platform, Peer Connexions will be offering a wide range of promotions and special price offers and also loyalty benefits. 

“E-commerce has transformed the way we work and conduct business in India. As part of Tech Data’s global digital transformation, this platform is a key go-to-market initiative to better support our channel fraternity,” said Sundaresan Kanappan, country GM for Tech Data India. 

Jaishankar Krishnan, co-founder of Peer Connexions, commented, “We are excited to announce the launch of our B2B collaboration platform in India. The platform aims to digitally transform the way distribution channels engage with each other and increase transparency and ease of doing business for brands, distributors and reseller partners. Peer Connexions is proud to have the support of Tech Data as one of our launch partners, and is in the process of adding more partners and brands on the platform over the next few months.”

“We are confident that with the wide range of features and services available on the platform, it will quickly become the preferred platform for doing business for all channel partners.”

SME Featured Southeast Asia

Airwallex launches virtual B2B Visa debit card in Singapore

Singapore – After officially entering the Singapore market in January, global fintech Airwallex continues to progressively roll out key offerings in its global payments suite with the launch of its new Airwallex Borderless Card and integrated expense management solution.

Available to all Airwallex customers in Singapore, the Airwallex Borderless Card is a virtual multi-currency Visa business debit card that enables businesses to easily make online card payments anywhere that Visa is accepted, from Singapore and to the rest of the world.

Singapore-based companies can now instantly generate and issue virtual multi-currency business debit cards to promptly pay third parties, such as vendors and other online merchants with Airwallex’s market-leading foreign exchange rates wherever Visa cards are accepted. 

In addition to the Borderless Card, Airwallex is also launching its Expenses solution in Singapore. Singapore businesses will be able to streamline their expense processes with a single integrated platform to manage spending, seamlessly upload receipts for approval, reconcile expenses, and gain real-time visibility over card transactions.

Airwallex and Visa first announced their global strategic partnership in February 2020, and have since introduced the Airwallex Borderless Card to businesses in Australia, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States. 

“We’ve seen many of our global customers benefit from our cards offering, including significant cost savings on USD Software as a Service (SaaS) card spend and international transfer fees. We are so pleased that we can now offer Singapore businesses all the same benefits, providing them with greater flexibility and control over their cross-border card payments,” said Arnold Chan, Airwallex’s head of growth for Singapore.

“Today’s virtual cards and expenses launch is another significant step towards a full rollout of our global payments offerings in Singapore. We strive to become an integral one-stop-shop for any Singapore business requiring support with business finances across the entire transaction lifecycle, and by doing so, empower them to manage and grow both their local and global operations exponentially,” added Chan.

Kunal Chatterjee, Visa’s country manager for Singapore & Brunei, said that with Singapore being a global hub for commerce and SMEs looking to transact with counterparties globally, it is crucial to empower them with convenient and seamless cross-border payment solutions. 

“At Visa, we remain committed to working with our partners and being at the forefront in providing innovative payment solutions, helping businesses streamline their payment processes and improving the efficiency of international payments,” said Chatterjee. 

Over the coming months, Airwallex plans on expanding its card functionality, including enabling physical cards for business owners and for their employees’ work expenses, and digital wallet integration. 

Airwallex was founded in Melbourne in 2015, and in just six years, the company has secured more than US$800m in funding and a valuation of US$5.5b. Last April in Hong Kong, the fintech launched an SME support initiative worth HK$2.5m, where they provided a series of exclusive offers to help businesses recover and reopen from the pandemic while managing costs.

Platforms Featured South Asia

Reselling platform in Jarafa launches reseller, wholesaler marketplace in Bangladesh

Dhaka, Bangladesh – Jarafa, a reselling platform has announced the launch of its reseller and wholesaler marketplace in Bangladesh. It aims to link wholesalers and resellers via its website and app so that all they have to do is click to generate money.

Anyone in the country can sell and buy things from anywhere in the country. Both B2B and B2C business models are maintained by Jarafa. Jarafa also shared that it will  be offering a financing program in the near future that would involve bank loans. 

Jarafa’s chief mission is to develop an eCommerce environment that will allow digital businesses to grow and expand throughout the country. Ultimately, Jarafa aims to become a one-stop tool that helps businesses sell their products through Facebook and other social media platforms.

Md. Fahad, CEO of Jarafa, said that the Jarafa team will work tirelessly and sincerely to facilitate the creation of a social commerce ecosystem that is safe and secure. By using this strategy, digital commerce and entrepreneurship will both be boosted to a larger extent. 

“With the best technical and financial support available to our resellers and wholesalers, Jarafa hopes to reach a strong and stable position in the next 2-3 years,” the company said. 

Marketing Featured Global

AZK Media appoints Julie Cooper as senior content and communications specialist

Australia – Global B2B integrated media and marketing firm AZK Media has announced the appointment of Julie Cooper as its senior content and communications specialist.

Cooper’s appointment sets to strengthen the agency’s cross-border capability across the UK/EMEA, US and APAC, following 90% of clients expanding their engagement with AZK Media across new global regions in the past 12 months.

A seasoned communications professional, Cooper was a senior journalist at The CEO Magazine, where she was responsible for producing, managing and scaling content for a vast suite of B2B organisations in the cloud, SaaS, AI, BI, martech, adtech, health and retail sectors. A multi-platform journalist with agency and marketing experience, Cooper has interviewed some of the world’s biggest names in business.

Azadeh Williams, founder and managing partner at AZK Media, said that through Cooper’s appointment, it further strengthens the agency’s innovative solutions that integrate inbound marketing, communications and public relations for its growing global client base.

“We’ve found our clients are not only getting exceptional value from our solutions in the APAC region, but we’re also delivering significant ROI across the UK/EMEA and US. This means our clients no longer need to juggle three different agencies across borders, they have peace of mind they’re working with one, exceptional agency who can scale their efforts fast,” Williams says.

She further added “Given this demand, Julie’s international background is a perfect fit. She has an exceptional ability to break down the complex nuances of high-tech media and marketing messages so they resonate across multiple borders and attract the attention of our clients’ customers, prospects and the press.”

Williams also added that her executive network is also rare, having interviewed a multitude of C-suite leaders around the world in technology, business, health, law and finance. 

“Solutions-driven, bright and passionate, Julie understands the intricacies of B2B marketing and what it takes to deliver premium results to our clients,” Williams concluded.

Speaking about her appointment, Cooper said that she is excited to switch gears and put her focus and expertise towards helping clients build their brands, amplify their messages and expand their reach.

“Articulating marketing messages across B2B sectors must be done with great care and precision, and AZK Media’s innovative approach and strategic capability is exactly what B2B organisations need to help transform and gain a competitive edge on the global stage,” Cooper said.

Meanwhile, AZK Media’s Senior Partner, Wayne Williams, said that Cooper’s appointment is timely as more B2B companies start accelerating their cross-border and regional expansion strategies post-pandemic.

“With travel restrictions easing, fresh trade opportunities emerging, and B2B businesses having more flexibility to set up and expand in new markets, the need for our innovative services has never been greater. We’re excited Julie has joined our team, and we look forward to her transformative contribution to our solution offering in this fresh period of growth,” Williams said.

SME Featured Southeast Asia

GrowSari bags US$45m investment from KKR to bolster national expansion

Manila, Philippines – GrowSari, a local B2B platform in the Philippines aimed at serving sari-sari stores or local mom-and-pop stores in the country, has announced that it has signed a definitive agreement with global investment firm KKR where KKR will be investing US$45m to GrowSari to support its national expansion, as well as strengthen its financial service capabilities.

At present, GrowSari is present in 220 municipalities across the regions of Luzon and offers over a hundred types of different services including making bill payments, telco reloads, and wallet top-ups, as well as procurement services for common retail goods and pharmaceutical medicines.

According to Reymund ‘ER’ Rollan, CEO and co-founder of GrowSari, as they are accelerating their presence nationally to more municipalities and cities in the Philippines, the investments will be focused towards expanding in Visayas and Mindanao this 2022. He added that this will bring them a step closer to their mission of creating a positive socio-economic impact to the lives of more MSME owners and the communities they serve.

“In addition, we are doubling down on our capabilities to improve the overall customer experience and look to expand our ability to provide sari-sari stores access to credit and basic financial services, which is a key pain point for MSMEs who have limited access. The industry, operational and financial expertise and network of KKR will be a great complement to the passion, dedication and strong culture of excellence that GrowSari has built over the year,” Rollan said.

Meanwhile, Louis Casey, growth technology lead in Southeast Asia at KKR, added, “GrowSari is aligned with one of our core technology investment themes in Southeast Asia, which is supporting MSMEs with software and financial services. Reymund and the team at GrowSari are excellent operators who have built an impressive flywheel that is powered by a number of proprietary applications. They have also built a very efficient and repeatable go-to-market motion that is underpinning their impressive growth. We look to leverage our global experience, regional connectivity and flexible capital to help GrowSari achieve its ambitious growth objectives.”

Prior to KKR’s investment, GrowSari had raised funding from global financial and strategic investors, including Temasek-affiliated Pavilion Capital, Tencent, the International Finance Corporation, the Gongkowei family-controlled JG Summit, Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc., Wavemaker Partners, Saison Capital, and the Investment & Capital Corporation of the Philippines.

Technology Featured APAC

Optimizely unveils integrated B2B commerce and content cloud solution

Singapore – Digital experience platform (DXP) provider, Optimizely, has announced that it is launching an integrated version of its B2B Commerce Cloud and Content Cloud products. The integration allows the two products to be easily implemented together, aiming to help brands to reach audiences with more sophisticated content strategies and work more effectively across large teams of marketers.

The integration makes use of the B2B Commerce Cloud as a headless commerce API to make B2B data and capabilities available within the Content Cloud. Optimizely’s B2B customers will be able to use the Content Cloud to manage all the pages, templates, content, and assets of their site. The firm also said that the new integration will bring an out-of-the-box and combined site search engine which searches products in the B2B Commerce catalog while searching content in the Content Cloud and then combining the results. 

Furthermore, firms will be able to manage their product catalog in B2B Commerce but have all the products available for use in the Content Cloud. The integration will also enable brands to build and manage multi-sites in the Content Cloud while leveraging the shared data for customers, products, and orders in the B2B Commerce Cloud. 

“Optimizely Content Cloud has a long history of providing marketers with extensive tools for content publication and creation of exceptional digital experiences. With the integration of B2B Commerce Cloud, businesses can extend these tools to B2B customers, enabling the delivery of optimal digital experiences across audiences,” said Justin Anovick, chief product officer of Optimizely.

To help customers get the most from the combined products, Optimizely said it will be releasing a B2B-specific sample site that includes numerous Content Cloud templates and blocks that can be used to accelerate customers’ build time. Customers can use the provided assets or reference them as examples before customizing their own. The sample site will address the time-to-market metric that many B2B customers find critical when selecting their technology vendors

Additionally, Optimizely has named a preferred implementation partner for the B2B Commerce Cloud – Content Cloud integration in Nishtech Inc. According to Optimizely, Nishtech has first-hand experience with the new integration and can be contracted to guide customers and their agencies through setting up and utilizing the new integration.

Just this December, Optimizely has entered into an agreement to acquire Welcome, a marketing platform that carries capabilities in content marketing platforms (CMP), marketing resource management (MRM), and digital asset management (DAM) in a single solution.

Marketing Featured APAC

The Hoffman Agency launches consulting arm PR+ to improve B2B media exchange

Singapore – Integrated communications agency The Hoffman Agency has announced the launch of PR+, a premium media consulting arm targeted to help the exchange between media practitioners and B2B tech brands in the Asia-Pacific region.

The regional PR+ media hub will lead media relations and editorial support in collaboration with local market media consultants in each market in the network, including Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Indonesia.

Said consulting arm forms part of the agency’s integrated marketing communications (IMC) offering introduced in June 2021, and draws on expertise in Asia-Pacific media and content across the network.

According to the agency, while there is an evident communications industry’s rush to adopt new services beyond PR, there has been a loss of focus on the craft of media relations, and that there remains a significant misalignment between B2B technology brands and the media, which PR+ will help resolve. 

Some of the issues PR+ intend to address include the inability to clearly articulate what brands do, jargon-heavy communications regardless of audience, an overload of product announcements and messages, a tendency to talk about product and brand out of context, andand unrealistic coverage expectations.

Caroline Hsu, managing director for APAC at The Hoffman Agency, said that PR+ aims to improve the ability of media relations to tackle business challenges such as international expansion, attracting investment and new customers, and growing the workforce.

“Addressing the gap between brands and media is key to achieving this, and it means putting content at the center and ensuring stories are grounded in the real world, with genuine value for journalists and their audiences,” Hsu stated.

The PR+ counsel will include workshops to audit client assets and identify key points that are’ relevant to current business affairs. Furthermore, other initiatives include story and story bank development, the creation of straightforward, engaging content that eliminates jargon; and the launch of media intelligence that includes C-suite spokesperson training, guidance on achieving coverage in top-tier media, and on running international media programs.

Alessandra Tinio, director of brand communications at The Hoffman Agency, commented that the agency’s specialization in technology and experience in distilling worthwhile stories from complex and outwardly dry subject matter sets a solid foundation for PR+.

“As an agency, it is our duty to act as a true partner to clients, not simply as additional arms and legs. That means looking at the story from the media’s perspective and building a realistic understanding of the process of securing meaningful coverage,” Tinio said.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Neobank YouTrip to enter B2B space

Singapore – Local-based neobank YouTrip is planning to enter the adjacent B2B payments space. This was first revealed by YouTrip when they announced the brand’s major plans last September which included unveiling their goal of a brand refresh for 2022. 

The brand reiterated its foray to the B2B space alongside the new funding it secured, bagging US$30m in a series A funding. The fresh funds put its total funding at over US$60m since it launched in 2018. The company said that the funding will also be used to accelerate its entrance into the wider Southeast Asia region. 

At the core of their B2B offering is YouBiz, a corporate credit card which will offer higher spending limits while transacting at exchange rates in over 150 currencies with credit terms offered to selected business account users. Within its sighted B2B alignment, YouTrip will also allow companies to issue corporate cards to employees, with all expenses streamlined into one platform.

YouBiz will be rolled out in Singapore in the first quarter of 2022, and with plans to bring it to five other Southeast Asia countries in the next twelve months.

For Caecilia Chu, CEO and co-founder at YouTrip, the latest funding gives them the resources to strengthen their multiple growth engines in order to stay resilient and well-primed for expansion into new markets.

“We have transformed tremendously as a company since our last funding round. From a mobile travel wallet, we have grown to establish a strong foothold in new territories such as overseas online spending to meet the extraordinary shifts in consumer behaviors. We believe there is untapped potential in cross-border payments, and our market-leading position in this space puts us in a good place to serve more of our users’ payment needs – from travelers, to online shoppers, and now, businesses,” Chu explained.

Meanwhile, Arthur Mak, co-founder at YouTrip, commented , “We’re very excited about the B2B payments opportunity. It is a segment with a deep market, as companies increasingly operate in a distributed and borderless manner and we expect their cross-border payment needs to go up. By incorporating our company’s core strengths of offering the best exchange rates and an extremely easy to use interface into YouBiz, we help businesses save time and cost, so that they can focus their energy and efforts in finding growth.”

SME Featured Southeast Asia

Zilingo launches new solution in PH for digitization of SMEs’ distribution

Manila, Philippines – B2B tech platform Zilingo which offers commerce solutions to businesses and retailers, has launched Zilingo Digitize in the Philippines. The new solution is a cloud-based SaaS to help brands & distributors digitize their distribution needs. 

Zilingo Digitize adds to the line of product offerings of the tech platform which includes, among others, Zilingo Trade, which aims to bring a seamless process in the bulk-buying and -selling of ready-made (RMG) and made-to-order (MTO) goods as well as Zilingo Factory, an MES software for the garment industry that helps factories increase efficiency and reduce waste.

Shiela Mauricio, the platform’s country manager in the Philippines, said that Zilingo is reimagining the entire supply chain and is aggregating all parties within the same platform by offering services and software that can help businesses do better. 

“This has been the brand’s focus since day one,” Mauricio said.

Meanwhile, Dhruv Kapoor, the co-founder & CTPO of Zilingo, said that the company remains committed to bringing new tools, technology, and innovation that will unleash the entrepreneurial spirit in the Philippines, boost exports from the country and build greater supply chain transparency to reduce cost and wastage.

“With the internet and technology becoming an integral part of our lives, we see a massive opportunity to empower MSMEs across the country and Zilingo is dedicated to being a catalyst for progress and innovation,” said Kapoor. 

The platform further comments that with its direct access to raw material suppliers, manufacturers, and brands, it is able to offer MSMEs the means to achieve product quality, quantity, and availability, and better pricing models.

Main Feature Marketing Partners APAC

Why B2B digital marketing needs a unique approach

You might think that marketing is the same whether you’re targeting consumers or other businesses, however, it’s important to approach B2B marketing with a tailored approach. Businesses and organizations have different motivators for end-user consumers and often require a unique strategy around messaging, positioning, and creative.

Target audiences in the B2B space are making major purchases and partnership decisions on behalf of their organization. The money they spend isn’t their own, so they are often more price-sensitive while seeking a product or service that they can trust. Time and efficiency are important to them, and so the path to purchase should be as frictionless as possible.

Here are the top 3 things we recommend when shaping your B2B digital marketing strategy.

Always testing

Testing is vital for identifying niche target audiences. While you may choose to test what you already assume, it can also help to uncover new opportunities and learnings. Channels, messaging and targeting can all be investigated to optimize campaign performance. There should also always be some element of testing going on, whatever you do. It can be tempting to test early and run with it. However, macro factors, whether they be political, cultural, or technological changes, can influence purchase behaviors and so we recommend an ‘always on’ testing approach.

Clear frameworks to test and learn, in order to identify what is being tested, is highly important. As an agency, Agnes Media builds rigorous testing frameworks to ensure insights are robust and reliable.

The B2B digital media landscape can be competitive and expensive to play in. When each purchase is major, leads become more valuable. Testing helps to mitigate costs by providing constant feedback and creating a more targeted approach. Opportunities can be identified so that media spend is more finely tuned.

Ensure your brand is always testing whether it’s a new channel, tactic, style of messaging, or creative format to ensure you are always maximizing efficiencies from your budgets while identifying what resonates with your audiences. This will then improve ROI, provide valuable insights for the wider business that can be applied elsewhere while driving business growth and market share.

Know where to be

Content is key to ensuring your brand is front and center during the discovery phase of your prospects. B2B customers are usually very busy decision-makers, so it is important you’re providing quality content and engaging them by using the right channels. Regardless of the industry, trade publications can play an important role in reaching your core audiences. These sites are often connected to engaged social media profiles and mailing lists, meaning your message has a greater chance of being seen and remembered.

Customized content can be developed that aligns your brand to the needs of your audience. There are a variety of content syndication partners we recommend who put your branded content in front of a highly targeted audience and generate relevant leads in the process

Link in the sales team

For most B2B performance campaigns, the data ends once a lead is generated and the sale continues offline. It’s common for this lead to then be owned by a person in the sales team. To get the most out of your campaign, it’s vital that a process is established for getting sales team feedback, so that manual optimizations can be made. 100 leads that are wrong are less valuable than one high quality lead that is spot on.

It is further worth noting that due to the value of one lead, media budgets need to align with this. If a lead is worth $10k to a brand then that business should invest more than $10k to seek multiple leads and the CPL (cost per lead) will decrease over time.

The best way for connecting lead generation feedback to sales is to utilize a scorecard and to manually update it. For example, downloading a whitepaper might be automatically worth +10, but having a phone call with someone who has registered their details and finding out they are the decision maker in their business should be scored even higher. When the sales team are encouraged to share feedback on leads generated through digital channels it ultimately benefits them as their leads will only get stronger and stronger, as the marketing channels are optimized to drive the greatest outcome.

Marketing to business customers requires a unique approach. It’s tempting to apply a comfortable B2C strategy to your business campaign, however, this is expensive and inefficient. From capturing their attention to generating and nurturing the lead, B2B campaigns need to consider the attitudes and behaviors of both key decision makers and influencers and how these differ from a B2C prospect.

This article was written by Charlotte Ward, director of Agnes Media.
Agnes Media is a measurement-first marketing agency that drives profitable business outcomes through effective and data-based marketing efforts️.