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Marketing Featured Global

CleverTap completes acquisition of customer engagement platform Leanplum

Mumbai, India – Retention cloud CleverTap has announced the completion of its acquisition of Leanplum, a global multi-channel customer engagement platform. The acquisition was first announced on 19 May this year and was completed in a span of three weeks.

Through the acquisition, CleverTap will combine the product stack of both organisations and extend its solutions and technology to all its customers and prospects worldwide. As part of the acquisition process, Momchil Kyurkchiev, co-founder at Leanplum, has joined CleverTap’s leadership team as chief strategy officer.

Speaking on the acquisition process, Kyurkchiev said, “The martech landscape the world over is evolving at an exponential rate and hyper-personalised digital engagement at scale is the need of the hour. I am sure that together, Leanplum and CleverTap will address this need and continue to drive innovation in this space. CleverTap and Leanplum individually have had a robust presence in terms of geographical reach, industries, and categories. Collectively we will now become a dominant force with a large global footprint.”

Meanwhile, Sunil Thomas, co-founder and executive chairman at CleverTap commented that through the acquisition, their customers now have a wide variety of product features and options to choose from their product line-ups including A/B testing, segmentation, campaigns, journeys, among others. He also commented that at the same time, the acquisition provides a much bigger growth, exposure and learning opportunities for employees and collectively they will now become a dominant force with a large global footprint.

“As we expand globally, we are looking to retain as well as grow 100% of the Leanplum customers by bringing all combined capability on one platform in due course. We also plan to increase our headcount in the US and Europe. Together, we aspire to be recognized as a SaaS talent powerhouse built on a strong people-first culture driven by values and equality,” Thomas stated.

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Platforms Featured South Asia

CleverTap unveils first purpose-built database for digital consumer brands

Mumbai, India – CleverTap, the modern and integrated retention cloud company, has unveiled TesseractDB(TM), the world’s first purpose-built database designed to dramatically improve user engagement and retention for digital consumer brands. TesseractDB(TM) brings true technology innovation to growth marketing leaders looking to deliver in-context, timely, personalized messaging and recommendations across all user touchpoints.

TesseractDB(TM) transforms massive amounts of first-party user data in a privacy-friendly, accessible, and affordable way to power real-time user personalization. Leveraging machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI), it offers limitless scale and enables digital brands and businesses to harness data and context for every interaction. User engagement and retention start from Day One when a user launches an app for the first time.

Sunil Thomas, co-founder and executive chairman of CleverTap, shared, “Today, we are excited to unveil TesseractDB(TM), the data technology that powers the CleverTap platform. It will allow global growth marketing teams to achieve true omni-channel customer engagement,” 

“In the last 40 years, MarTech vendors have cobbled together generic off-the-shelf data technologies in an effort to solve issues for end-user messaging. These technologies have been limiting, and as a result, brands simply cannot fully unlock their own user data for real and meaningful relationship building. To transition away from the spam and transactional communication that is so prevalent in MarTech today, we must make user data available, affordable, and easily accessible. This is why we invented TesseractDB(TM).” Thomas added,

When it comes to the MarTech industry, TesseractDB(TM) represents an enormous leap forward in technology because it removes all data limitations. Using TesseractDB(TM), digital brands can offer each user a magical onboarding experience and continue to deliver delightful experiences throughout their journey.

In addition, TesseractDB(TM) enables CleverTap to offer technology, features, and capabilities including, unlimited data look back periods without any limitations, high speed, scale, and throughput, rich, granular first-party user data storage, built-in real-time machine learning and AI, and hyper-personalized engagement and recommendations.

Meanwhile, Momchil Kyurkchiev, chief strategy officer of CleverTap, commented, “Until now, data look back and access limitations, created by overages and cost, prevented brands from unlocking the full potential of first-party user data for engagement. This is a deep tech and science problem. With TesseractDB(TM), CleverTap provides the industry’s most versatile segmentation and data processing engine for mobile engagement,” says 

“TesseractDB(TM) is designed to provide MarTech professionals a cost-effective and efficient way to capture unlimited data streams and deliver actionable insights and analytics to drive personalization and engagement,” Kyurkchiev adds.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Retention cloud company CleverTap acquires Leanplum

Singapore — CleverTap, the modern and integrated retention cloud company, has announced it has signed definitive agreements to fully acquire San Francisco-based Leanplum, a multi-channel customer engagement platform with the deal is expected to close in Q2 of 2022.

Sunil Thomas, co-founder and executive chairman of CleverTap, said “Our combined strength will be a game-changing force for user engagement, retention and monetization, creating tremendous value for our customers. I am very excited to welcome Leanplum to the CleverTap family.”

The two companies will work with digital brands to help increase their users’ engagement, retention and lifetime value by making every user experience hyper-personalized, relevant and contextual at scale in real time. As more businesses become digital-first, brands need to serve their users with delightful moments where they are, when they want and on their preferred channel. CleverTap and Leanplum will bring real-time hyper-personalization, A/B testing and increased scalability to its omnichannel engagement, analytics and segmentation product lines.

As a result, growth and marketing teams globally will now be able to utilize the only end-to-end user engagement and retention cloud platform, enabling them to break down user communication silos and increase the overall lifetime value of each user.

Momchil Kyurkchiev, co-founder and chief product officer of Leanplum, said, “When we started Leanplum, our vision was to meet customers’ real-time needs at the cutting edge of technology. We have succeeded in that, but as the market has matured, to fully meet the increasing demands put on brands today, we needed to bring in the best analytics, segmentation, and engagement tools, to help our customers build valuable, long-term relationships with their customers. This is why joining forces with CleverTap makes the most sense, and I am excited about the combined capabilities we will now bring to Leanplum customers worldwide.”

Simultaneously, Sidharth Malik, CEO of CleverTap, shared, “This coming together with Leanplum marks a monumental moment across the marketing technology landscape. Our ‘better together’ vision is about integrating our cumulative strengths around people, process and technology to cement our position as the global leader in the user engagement and retention space.”

This buyout will establish CleverTap as a success-driven company with development centres and customer-facing and success teams across North America, Europe, Latin America, India, South East Asia and the Middle East. Combining the product stack of the two organizations, this acquisition will enhance CleverTap’s capabilities and take its total customer base to over 1000 customers in more than 100 countries around the world.

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Marketing Featured South Asia

CleverTap names Anand Venkatraman as new COO

Mumbai, India — CleverTap, an integrated retention cloud company, has appointed Anand Venkatraman as its new chief operating officer.

Venkatraman has over two decades of experience in building and augmenting global teams and P&Ls across various sales motions. He joins from Freshworks where he held the position of senior vice president and general manager of Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa. In the said role, he led and scaled businesses and evolved global partnerships to independently drive business across 40+ countries, scaled the technology marketplace and embedded Freshworks deep into the worldwide startup ecosystems. Prior to that, he also held leadership positions at Akamai and Microsoft in APJ and India.

Sidharth Malik, CEO of CleverTap, said, he is warmly welcoming Venkatraman to CleverTap adding that Venkatraman’s appointment is an indication of their ambitious growth plans to be the gamechanger for user retention.

“With his successful track record in taking businesses globally, building highly engaged teams, and establishing creative approaches for customer success. Venkatraman will strengthen the Clevertap Management Team to help scale the company to the next level by bringing in excellence in execution,” Malik said.

Meanwhile, Venkatraman commented on his appointment, “I am excited to join CleverTap as they emerge as the Retention category market leader, in not just India and South-East Asia but also in markets like North America, Latin America, Middle East, Turkey, Africa and Europe. I am looking forward to being a part of their journey in taking the Indian SaaS story to the world.’’

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Technology Featured APAC

CleverTap names former Freshworks CRO Sidharth Malik as global CEO

Mumbai, India – CleverTap, global user engagement and retention cloud, has expanded its core leadership with the appointment of Sidharth Malik as global CEO. The company said the new leadership comes as it accelerates its international growth and builds new capabilities in customer retention for digital consumer brands.

Malik brings with him a track record of building and leading dynamic organizations in competitive markets. He is a former chief revenue officer at Freshworks, a SaaS provider of customer experience solutions, where he was instrumental in scaling the business from a single product to a multi-product platform with a global footprint. Under his direction, Freshworks unlocked new markets and strengthened its position in the CRM space.

CleverTap said Malik’s appointment marks a new chapter in its own success journey. Under the leadership of CleverTap Co-Founder and Founding CEO Sunil Thomas, the company has penetrated new markets and according to CleverTap, achieved US$45m in annual recurring revenue in less than six years of monetization, with a 235% compounded average growth rate.

“CleverTap has grown phenomenally, and through the more than 10,000 mobile apps leveraging our platform worldwide, we’re empowering mobile brands and businesses to touch the lives of over a billion people every day,” said Thomas.

With Malik’s appointment, Thomas will then assume the role of executive chairman. He will be focusing on scaling innovation and strategic direction for CleverTap, while Malik will help provide leadership for organization-building and day-to-day business execution.

“Sidharth’s passion, insights and leadership skills, coupled with his experience in helping take a world-class SaaS startup from India to the world, make him the right leader at the right time for CleverTap,” commented Thomas.

Vikrant Chowdhary, recently appointed CleverTap’s first-ever Chief Growth Officer, said Malik’s proficient management skills, combined with more than 20 years’ experience across all organizational functions, equip him to drive superior business results in a short timeframe.

“It’s so heartening to have Sidharth come on board as CEO to partner with me as we scale the business for faster growth, while Sunil focuses on innovation and strategic initiatives with a founder’s mindset,” said Chowdhary.

Earlier this month, the company acquired Patch, a technology that enables businesses to brand and embed communication channels, including in-app voice, chat, and push notifications directly into consumer apps. 

In September this year, MARKETECH APAC partnered with CleverTap to hold an APAC-wide roundtable featuring marketing leaders from the grocery, QSR, TV, fitness, and publication industries, among others. The leaders discussed how brands’ consumer acquisition and retention strategies evolved amid the pandemic.

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Main Feature Marketing Partners APAC

APAC roundtable gathers region’s marketing leaders, discuss current state of consumer acquisition & retention amid pandemic

We know that the consumer is ever-changing but the fluidity of their behavior has taken an entirely different meaning this pandemic – with unprecedented changes that unfolded such as the constraint on physical interactions and the economic plunge of markets, this completely overhauled how brands and businesses engaged with their target consumers. 

Last September 21, MARKETECH APAC, in partnership with CleverTap, gathered marketing leaders from all over the APAC region representing different industries, for the roundtable “Business Growth Levers from Acquisition to Retention” to discuss how the pandemic has shaken brands’ current playbook on consumer acquisition and retention strategies. 

Growth and marketing heads from the edtech, grocery, TV, airline, fitness, fintech, fast food, and publication sectors each shared their unique challenges and how their teams adapted to emerging brand new cohorts, shifting priorities among consumers, with new desires and motivations at the front. 

Watch live the highlights of the roundtable and hear straight from APAC’s marketing heads the notable changes this pandemic on consumer acquisition and retention.

The rise of new consumer segments amid the pandemic

The areas of educational platform, publication, and fitness witnessed the arrival of new consumer personas borne out of the heightened digital lifestyle. 

Marisha Lakhiani, CMO of Mindvalley, a learning platform for self-help and entrepreneurship, shared that during the period, the platform suddenly attracted younger users, a group it didn’t predominantly draw in before. 

Meanwhile, for global fitness brand Les Mills International, it found that its main fitness consumer now favors a split between in-gym and home digital workouts.

“The consumer’s new normal is 60:40 in terms of live and digital fitness; so if they’re doing 5 workouts in a week, 3 of them they want to do it in a club, in a live environment, and 2 they want to do as a digital workout,” shared Anna Henwood, CMO of Les Mills International. 

As for publications, Philippines’ Summit Media saw these changes most evidently on how consumers shifted their patterns in finding and consuming content. Specifically for its parenting brand, Smart Parenting, Facebook used to be its biggest acquisition channel, but over the current period, the channel has not been giving the volatility that’s expected, according to its Growth Lead Iza Santos-Cuyos.

During the roundtable, David Lim, the vice president for marketing of grocery platform HappyFresh, pointed out that whatever strategies that may have served marketing teams pre-pandemic can now be officially considered bygones.

“As a marketer, whatever we have learned in textbooks, on websites, [and] on webinars can be forgotten in the past 18 months…because if you just look at acquisition, everything has changed,” said Lim. 

Lim adds, “I think when it comes to the topic of acquisition, everything has to be extremely localized. We have to look at each market on its own, we have to look at each cohort on its own, and then link it back to how they retain, how they come back month after month in a very granular [manner], much more granular than before.” 

For acquiring consumers, improving SEO and search strategies have been the common thread, while forging strategic partnerships showed itself to be the redeeming factor among marketing teams to both acquire and retain consumers in the current market climate. At the roundtable, marketing leaders also emphasized the importance of first-party data.

For Mindvalley and Summit Media, it has been the same go-to response – focusing and investing more in search and SEO. 

“We identified the customers that we are actually retaining and try to acquire them, so like micro-acquiring a particular audience,” said Mindvalley’s Marisha Lakhiani. 

Summit Media’s Iza Santos-Cuyos shared that as they bolster their search strategies, the publication realized that it is in fact attracting a different set of cohorts on search versus those coming from Facebook, bringing them to conclude that they cannot now discount Facebook altogether while focusing on search.

“What we learned from doing that is to devise a separate strategy for audiences acquired on Facebook versus those acquired on search,” said Santos-Cuyos. 

Brands forming strategic partnerships to cushion drastic market changes

The fast-food industry took one of the biggest hits during the pandemic, with the phased-out in-person interactions blowing the footfall for dine-in. 

In the roundtable, KFC Malaysia’s CMO May Ling Chan shared that partnering with food delivery platforms acted as a safety net, where within the e-commerce scene, the QSR sector has not been the fastest in adoption. 

“I think what happened during the pandemic was [the] growth of food aggregators. For us, I think that’s the biggest part of acquisition that we see,” said Chan. 

Online food delivery has seen an unprecedented rise in adoption by both brands and consumers. According to a report by Statista, in Asia, revenue in the online food delivery segment has been projected to reach US$223,372m this year. 

Singapore’s supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice echoes the same gameplan, where its convenience store Cheers inked a tie-up with top delivery platforms GrabFood and foodpanda in order to answer to the surge in need for on-demand and fast delivery of food products. 

Vivek Kumar, NTUC FairPrice Group’s director for strategic marketing & omnichannel monetization, cited ‘Supper moments’ which Cheers aimed to create through the partnership, where consumers can not only see product offerings in a snap but to “go ahead” and complete their transaction in real-time.

“Supper moments on food delivery platforms is quite a unique opportunity. [When] restaurants are closed and you [still] want your beer and your nachos and your croissants, and stuff like that, this is the place to go to.” Kumar said.

He adds, “We can’t wait for the customers to come to us. We can create the right occasion [as long as] we understand the customer’s needs. We must give them very friction-free shopping experiences where they can complete their mission – you can’t leave it midway.”

The fast-changing consumer patterns pressing the importance of first-party data

Global cross-border payments platform OFX was also one of the brands that participated in the roundtable and its Global Head of Digital Acquisition Shad Haehae shared that as the pandemic pushed the stronger need for brands to know their customers a lot more, this made the platform re-evaluate the quality of data it obtains.

“We’re a money business, and people send money for particular reasons, so those reasons have changed,” said Haehae. 

OFX previously relied on third-party data for insights, but Haehae shares that as a business, OFX figured that it needed to be smarter on this front.

“We adopted new partnerships, new types of technologies [not just] from [a] martech [and] adtech perspective, even from a data perspective. We’ve done a lot of consolidation on platforms and data.” 

The same is the case for TV and radio operator giant, Astro, in Malaysia. 

“So it’s a balance between providing value to the customers to [keep] them from churning [and] aggregating our first-party data with social data, and with data that we have in the network to go after customers a lot more aggressively than we have in the past,” said Norsiah Juriani Johari, Astro’s vice president of marketing. 

For Les Mills International, they eventually leveraged first-party data which it successfully included in its marketing strategy because of the direct-to-consumer journey it now has via its own fitness app. Predominantly, its consumer was a gym member which Henwood admits the brand had no prior visible data of as well as on how its products looked like. 

With digital fitness now ingrained in people’s exercise routines, Henwood shared that content has become its differentiator, which is what makes “people stay.”

“So how we film our content [in] the lockdown, how we do that more and more so it’s really engaging with the customer, and how we [connect with] different personalities through [our] content – that’s been a big part of our retention strategy,” Henwood shares. 

For Cebu Pacific Air, meanwhile, one of the Philippines’ leading airlines, answering to pandemic-induced shifts meant working inward and letting the team adapt to new ways of implementing marketing strategies. 

Alongside relying on new consumer segments during this period, Michelle De Guzman, the airline’s marketing director, said, “Even the ways of working that we have as a marketing team, it has changed as well when it comes to user acquisition and retention.”

She shares, “We have also developed agile marketing sprints – and that was not something that was done before, but [has become] very important on what we do now.” 

Consumer acquisition & retention in 2022 and beyond

While overcoming each of the hurdles in their industries, marketing leaders agree that staying on top of the game is all about being continuously aligned to the shifts – from the minute to the massive transitions – in consumer and market behavior. 

HappyFresh’s David Lim believes that we cannot apply the same methods of acquisition anymore, and in 2022, one of the beliefs and assumptions that their team has is things would not be the same as pre-covid.

“Every country has [its] own announcement, every country has [its] own waves of covid with different government announcements. I think when it comes to the topic of acquisition, everything has to be extremely localized,” said Lim. 

Building trust among consumers also remains a vital factor in the consumer engagement journey, says Katherine Cheung, CMO of edtech Snapask. 

“One key factor that we have in Snapask on user retention and how to retain customers to our platform is of course by building trust. We have to bear in mind that since the pandemic, people have so much more free time, as most of the regions are still experiencing lockdown and they are not allowed to go out from time to time. We have to bear in mind that users have so much more time to invest in your product,” Cheung said.

FairPrice’s Vivek Kumar’s advice to leaders, “As a marketing leader, we need to create that vision and then keep people involved in the journey, so that becomes their objective and their mission and not just [acting according to] marketing teams’ wishlist – the moment that silo happens, we have lost the battle.”