Technology Featured Global

Zoho announces unified platform ‘Zoho Marketing Plus’

Austin, Texas – Global technology company Zoho has announced the launch of ‘Zoho Marketing Plus’, a unified platform that brings together marketing activities across campaign ideation, creation, execution, management, and measurement, providing stakeholders across the entire marketing organisation with a single, shared view of critical information for improved collaboration and results.

The new marketing platform increases the effectiveness of digital marketing strategies by giving marketing leaders a deeper understanding of customer preferences and behaviours so they can deliver dynamic, high-value customer experiences that drive brand affinity and customer happiness.

According to Zoho, CMOs require their teams to leverage technology solutions that capture customer insights in ways that add value both to the business and customers. Through automation and business intelligence, the platform synchronises engagement data to help marketing teams better understand customers, make more informed decisions, and ultimately drive better results, growth, and revenue.

Mani Vembu, chief operating officer at Zoho, said, “Consumers and digital marketing continue to evolve at warp-speed, and marketers are struggling to keep up. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to properly manage multiple campaigns, channels, customer profiles, data, and ROI.”

He added, “The complexity of data and personalization at-scale only raises pressure on marketers and CMOs to deliver effective campaigns and revenue. By eliminating redundancies and confusion arising from multiple siloed solutions, Zoho Marketing Plus maximises productivity and teamwork, allowing marketers to stay nimble and collaborative amid evolving customer needs. When marketers aren’t bogged down by operations, they can deliver creative campaigns that promote meaningful relationships between the brand and customers.”

The unified platform includes a vast array of integrated capabilities aimed at helping digital marketers achieve greater results through simplified processes, tighter collaboration, shared assets, and consistent data.

Technology Featured ANZ

HubSpot partners with ticketing platform Humanitix

Sydney, Australia – Global customer relationship management (CRM) platform HubSpot has announced joining forces with ticketing platform Humanitix to reimagine how marketers and event organisers manage their customers’ ticketing journeys. 

HubSpot users can synchronise their contacts and ticketing information via the new Humanitix integration with HubSpot. The new feature leverages HubSpot’s custom objects to enable event organisers to collect leads and track existing registrations throughout the customer journey, all within the HubSpot CRM platform.

“The partnership will significantly streamline the ticketing process by providing a single source of truth across the attendee and guest experience. Not only will this save event organisers and marketers valuable time, but it will also provide them with access to key customer data to help inform future customer communications and marketing efforts,” HubSpot said in a press statement.

Kat Warboys, APAC marketing director at HubSpot said that with the events industry emerging from the pandemic as one of the hardest hit, streamlined processes are no longer just a ‘nice-to-have’ but critical for the revival of the events sector.

“Just as the pandemic changed the face of the events circuit in Australia, it also altered customer expectations. As a customer relationship management platform, HubSpot is committed to providing event organisers and marketers with the tools they need to surpass these expectations at every stage of the customer journey through thoughtful communications, value alignment and human touch,” Warboys said.

Meanwhile, Adam McCurdie, CEO and co-founder of Humanitix, commented, “Selling tickets to help support disadvantaged children around the world is what gets us out of bed in the morning. Empowering our event partners to maximise that social impact at scale comes part and parcel.”

He added, “The integration with HubSpot is game changing for us. Not only will it allow our partners to seamlessly synchronise customer data across both platforms, but it will also free them up to provide a level of customer service unmatched in the event ticketing industry – not just in Australia, but globally.”

Technology Featured Global

HubSpot relaunches Service Hub to aid companies to prioritise CX

Sydney, Australia – Customer relationship management (CRM) platform HubSpot has relaunched its software service ‘Service Hub’, a customer service software enabling companies to prioritise their customer experience. Through the revamped software, it allows companies to deepen customer relationships while driving team efficiency and connecting to the front office.

First introduced in 2018, Service Hub allows teams to transform feedback insights into actionable customer journey improvements, while customisable tools and views help drive team efficiency.

Sabina Sobinina, director of success for JAPAC at HubSpot, said, “Consumers tolerate poor customer experiences and end up feeling overlooked and disappointed far too frequently. Combatting this is why we originally launched Service Hub, which has since evolved to include all new features that strengthen the customer experience and provide authentic interactions that not just satisfy the customers’ needs, but delight them too.”

Some of the features of Service Hub include customer portals for ticket conversations going between customers and reps, service level agreement (SLA) management tools that help companies prioritise incoming requests, mobile inboxes to keep teams productive on the go, and beta offering of inbound calling.

Sobinina added, “We know almost every customer is more likely to make repeat purchases with companies who offer excellent customer service, which is why it’s so important that teams have a unified understanding of customers. We’re genuinely delighted to further empower businesses to deliver genuine, connected, customer-centric experience.”

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

AquaOrange rolls out Zoho CRM in Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand – Software company AquaOrange has announced their successful rollout of Zoho CRM across 600 businesses in Thailand. The company is one of Bangkok’s authorized Zoho CRM service providers specializing in rolling out CRM applications.

AquaOrange has mainly catered to small and medium-sized B2B customers, while also providing consultancy, training, and an onboarding service in addition to implementation. The Zoho CRM is a customer relationship management software that helps businesses manage customer interactions. It is a cloud-based CRM solution that can be accessed anywhere and on any device.

According to AquaOrange, the popularity of the Zoho CRM platform has grown tremendously and has become the go-to CRM solution for many businesses in Thailand.

Shahan Farid, CEO of AquaOrange, said that the Zoho CRM interface is easy to use and intuitive, so even if customers are new to this type of software, it should not take long before you get used to it. Farid added that in most instances, it only takes a few hours before you become comfortable with the interface.

“Zoho CRM application completes Sales cycle ensuring no Leads and potentials are lost by efficient workflow follow up with easy to view dashboard reporting,” Farid said.

The Zoho CRM works in helping clients in the sales process, salesforce, marketing automation, quotation management, opportunity management, forecast, and deal management.

Marketing Featured Global

PRM Marketing Services announces transition to accelerate existing business globally

Singapore – PRM Marketing Services (PRMMS) has announced that it is transitioning its business to focus on providing services concerning customer and channel partner marketing, including B2B2C, customer relationship management (CRM), partner relationship management (PRM), as well as incentives and rewards, to a more global focus.

Their global strategy will be focused on the markets of Asia-Pacific (APAC), Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), as well as North America.

PRMMS is led by CEO JB Ray who has been spearheading its CRM and PRM business since 2003. Said transition marks a major milestone for the company in accelerating its loyalty and relationship marketing business independently which has been growing for two decades across APAC markets.

Speaking about the transition, Ray said, “Formation of PRMMS is a strategic move guided by innovation, growth and our ambition to be the disruptor in CRM, PRM and Incentives and Rewards category. We envision the future is about ecosystem led b2b2c solutions and we are not stopping until we help transform and enable the industry to be efficient and effective in managing customers and channel partners.”

As part of the transition, PRMMS has also confirmed several key management updates, namely Carolin Chan as VP for strategy and marketing, while Binesh George has been appointed as chief technology officer. Chan and George have been with the company for 15 years.

Speaking about his appointment, Chan said, “I am excited about PRMMS evolution and impacts we can bring to markets. I will be focusing to further enhance our capabilities, help our global clients expand to APAC and EMEA markets and strengthen our marketing activities, consistent with our business strategies.”

Meanwhile, George commented, “Technology has been our key enabler and I am looking forward to further accelerating the productization and transformation process of our solutions ensuring security, compliance and scalability needs of our clients.”

Ray further added, “The new organisation structure together with our strategic direction will allow us to develop innovative solutions and redefine how CRM, PRM and Incentives and Rewards will operate in the future in ecosystem led environments and bring strategic benefits to clients, partners and customers.”

Technology Featured Global

SugarCRM introduces integrated ‘playbook’ functionality to support CRM automation process

California, USA – Global software company SugarCRM has recently introduced its new integrated ‘playbook’ functionality which allows support of guided selling and advanced CRM process automation. 

Through the new functionality, the no-code toolset enables business users to easily design, visualise, and automate sales, service and marketing processes. SugarCRM customers can create playbooks and templates for sales plays, sales methodologies, guided selling, service processes, lead nurturing and more.

Said functionality follows the recent acquisition of plug-in solutions AddOptify, a provider of guided selling solutions for SugarCRM customers worldwide. The solutions have aided SugarCRM customers through enabling mid-market companies to translate their customer engagement best practices into playbooks to optimise both the user and the customer experience at every stage of the customer journey.

For the company, the need for sales engagement technologies was accelerated by the pandemic and their use is increasingly becoming a key factor in defining and distinguishing high-functioning customer-centric sales organisations. 

Rich Green, chief technology officer and chief product officer at SugarCRM, said that the new functionality will allow customers to leverage proven playbook capabilities within the Sugar platform to streamline sales processes, improve marketing operations and optimize customer service execution.

“This empowers sales, marketing and customer success teams to boost buyer engagement, drive greater customer trust and satisfaction, improve win rates and increase revenues. It also reflects Sugar’s commitment to offer more no-code/low-code capabilities designed to put change in the hands of non-technical business users,” Green stated.

In the near future, SugarCRM plans to provide additional out-of-the-box playbooks and templates for processes including lead qualification, customer on-boarding, case management, troubleshooting and other human-in-the-loop customer interactions spanning the sales, marketing, and service realms.

Technology Featured Global

Temenos announces availability of Infinity Digital for Salesforce for enhanced customer engagement

Geneva, Switzerland – Banking software company Temenos has announced that Infinity Digital for Salesforce will be made available on their platform, which brings together the worlds of CRM, assisted channels, and digital channels onto a single platform. The solution will be available on Salesforce AppExchange, an enterprise cloud marketplace. 

Infinity Digital for Salesforce offers banks synchronisation between Salesforce Financial Services Cloud and the bank’s core banking systems. It helps banks achieve higher efficiency and streamlining of servicing, onboarding, and origination processes with better personalisation and greater customer experience.

This solution integrates Salesforce Financial Services Cloud with Temenos’ digital banking platform, giving customer-facing teams in banks a holistic view of their customers surfacing both customer engagement and transactional banking data across all channels and transactional systems. 

In addition, Infinity Digital for Salesforce enables banks to serve their customers with tailored offers made possible through relevant, complete, and accurate information at every interaction. Banks can integrate digital and assisted channels with their transactional system and create a unified platform across marketing, sales, servicing, and origination functions to give client-facing teams a complete and actionable view of customer interactions.

Max Chuard, chief executive officer at Temenos, said that they are excited to extend their leadership in digital by combining their open banking platform with Salesforce Financial Services Cloud in a single platform to help banks reinvent the customer and employee omnichannel experience.

“We are aiming to solve one of the most fundamental problems in banking today by connecting the worlds of CRM, transactional footprint and digital interactions. This go-to-market strategy will accelerate our penetration in the digital front office segment. We help banks with complex channel architectures by breaking down silos to reduce complexity and costs, and achieve customer-centric business transformation to provide outstanding customer experiences,” Chuard said.

Meanwhile, Eran Agrios, SVP and GM for financial services at Salesforce, commented, “We’re excited to see Temenos innovate with Salesforce Financial Services Cloud to help banks deepen their relationships with customers through hyper-personalised experiences. With Infinity Digital for Salesforce, customers can connect their core banking systems to their omnichannel experiences, delivering hyper-personalised experiences faster.”

Main Feature Marketing APAC

What’s NEXT: Why brands must focus more on customer retention than acquisition this 2022

As the usage of third-party data gradually moves out of the picture, this affects the way marketers approach industry disciplines, and this is across the board – from changing the way brands implement audience targeting and retargeting, the demands in order to keep every marketing funnel in optimum shape has greatly transformed.

David Harling, the former CMO and now the managing director of MoneySmart, enlightens us on one particular area – growth marketing. In an interview with Harling, he identifies the weak spots as well as strength areas of a brand’s growth marketing strategies now that the digital environment is about to fully transition to a cookieless and first-party data world.

Customer acquisition vs. customer retention

According to Harling, now that the industry is preparing to adopt first-party data strategies, the cost of customer acquisition will now increase, hence where brands are overly-dependent on gaining new customers, they must now shift the focus to customer retention.

“I think one of the main challenges that most brands are experiencing at the moment, and [something] we’ll find more challenging moving into a cookieless world this year is being too overly dependent on customer acquisition, and [not having] put enough focus into customer ownership, retention, and engagement,” said Harling.

This is true and in a particular study of SEA marketers by AppsFlyer, specifically in the area of fintech, it was found that marketers in the region spent over US$244m in gaining new users.

There is no complex reason as to why lessen the focus on customer acquisition other than continued dependence will make the “ability to grow to cost more.”

“And so clearly with third-party data going away, the targeting abilities and the ability to scale and grow customer acquisition will be more expensive. And so the overall unit economics mix of that in order to try and grow would be more challenging,” said Harling.

Balancing performance-based marketing and brand investment 

One of the challenges as well, Harling cites, in growth marketing presently is striking the balance between focusing on performance-based marketing and brand investment, where as of the present, there’s more focus on the former.

In relation to putting more attention to brands’ customer retention efforts, Harling says that it’s important, therefore, to reevaluate ad budget investment to performance-based marketing and brand investment as brands would need to double down on the latter in order to successfully keep and retain customers.

From an internal view, a qualitative study reflects Harling’s insight. According to a report by  NEON leaders, marketers are actually revealing their fears of losing a generation of strategic marketing leaders, all because of the heavy precedence on output-heavy and metric-based marketing.

“I think another big challenge is how do brands begin to be comfortable again with investing into their brand profile. Clearly, that’s harder to account for or to measure, but in terms of future growth, it’s so important to get the balance between performance-based marketing and brand investments,” shared Harling.

He adds that brands must take action despite brand and customer experience taking much more time and being a lifetime value discipline.  

“Being visible and driving awareness around products and brands is as important, but more challenging and difficult to measure. And again, it becomes more important as you move into a customer retention model,” said Harling.

Much like in a sense of doing the big things well so that the small things can take care of themselves–having a good customer onboarding strategy in place, Harling believes, is key, in order to fully make the focus on customer retention work. And effective customer onboarding can be achieved when marketing and user experience work in concert.

According to a recent 2021 study by Qualtrics, poor customer experiences cost businesses in Singapore US$11b annually, where it was found that 51% of customers in the market have cut spending after a single bad experience with a company.

“And so whatever user journeys or platform experience, or product experience you’re providing, you know, marketing and user experience need to work tighter. Once you have a good discipline to get customer onboarding, you’re making the efficiency of your customer acquisition costs stronger because you won’t need to recruit customers somewhere else,” said Harling.

Driving CRM and loyalty initiatives

Within growth marketing, Harling also shares his insights on the top strategies in successfully building CRM and loyalty initiatives. And he swears by the power of the basics –  understanding your customer better.

“Investing into good customer profiling and looking at the exchange of value that you provide to your customers in order to make them comfortable to provide you with certain things,” said Harling.

Certainly all the pivot in marketing disciplines will take place in accordance with the shift to a cookieless digital environment, and Harling believes that investment in tech such as customer data platforms (CDP) will be one of the best approaches as it puts more emphasis on first-party data as a strategy.

“CDP underpins that first-party strategy and drives good sort of contextual engagement, which again, allows brands to become more dependent or I guess grow their customer base and clearly grow their business based on retaining customers,” said Harling.

“The customer experience and customer relationship discipline – I think if you get that right, you have a good ability to profile your customers and get to know them, and I think your engagements in your CRM become more contextualized and more meaningful to get an outcome,” he added.

In addition, Harling also advises that moving forward, there will be much stronger need for the integration of marketing and product teams. While a lot of companies have jumped into the said unification, many are still not doing it right such as having disconnected KPIs and lack of common goals.

“There’s a lot of brands that say, hey, my product team is so integrated with my marketing team. And actually, if you look at it, it’s nonsense, right? And so this [needs] proper integration [and] accountability, and having common goals. I mean, you’d find a lot of these teams don’t have a joined-up or shared KPIs [and] they’re very separate in the way that they’re accountable,” Harling says.

Harling concludes that among targeted marketing strategies that brands can focus on at this period, it is starting to define their first-party data strategy that would prove to lay a strong foundation.

“And so I think any advice I could give any marketer moving into [2022] is really [to] get their heads around first-party data as a strategic driver, and really understand the relationship between good media activation of that data and also good customer onboarding,” Harling said.

He continues, “And then [figuring out] how do you use that data [to] profile your customers, and really begin to prioritize retention-based marketing, to grow your business. And I can assure any brand that takes that strategic direction, although it’s not easy, and requires a bit of time, you’ll find that you’ll grow your business based on good customer engagement.”

“Good loyalty in terms of customers coming back and driving repeat behaviors and repeat purchases – it will be less dependent on the cost of acquisition model, which I think a lot of brands are still strategically dependent on,” adds Harling.

This article is written based on an interview with David Harling, managing director of financial comparison platform MoneySmart.

The article is published as part of MARKETECH APAC’s thought leadership series What’s NEXT. This features marketing leaders sharing their marketing insights and predictions for the upcoming year. The series aims to equip marketers with actionable insights to future-ready their marketing strategies.

If you are a marketing leader and have insights that you’d like to share with regards to the upcoming trends and practices in marketing, please reach out to [email protected] for an opportunity to have your thought-leadership published on the platform.

Technology Featured Global

Freshworks launches CRM suite for startups

Singapore – Following the company’s recently-concluded event Refresh 2021, software company Freshworks has announced the launch of Freshstack, a customer relationship management (CRM) suite built for the unique needs of startups that unifies customer support, sales, and marketing teams. 

The product bundle helps startups personalize marketing to generate pipeline and deliver effortless omnichannel service for faster growth, at an affordable price point that’s easy to deploy and manage.

Said suite combines three Freshworks’ products: Freshdesk, Freshsales and Freshmarketer.

Freshdesk is an omnichannel customer support solution with a new unified inbox and collaboration functionality across support, sales and marketing teams, to help businesses resolve issues faster. Meanwhile, Freshsales is a unified sales intelligence solution with context-driven forecasting and pipeline management. Lastly, Freshmarketer is marketing automation software that enables AI-driven lead generation, email personalization and send optimization.

Speaking about the suite launch, Girish Mathrubootham, CEO and founder of Freshworks, said, “Startup founders should ensure that their developers are focused on building their core technology, not babysitting their CRM stack. From day one, Freshworks has built products that democratize access to modern, easy-to-use software. Freshstack builds on that commitment by helping the titans of tomorrow get going faster today.”

The combination of Freshworks applications helps give startups what they need to instantly get up and running with a CRM platform that attracts new customers, builds lasting relationships with existing users and scales as their customer base grows. Companies can get going with up to US$3,000 in credits for Freshstack, as part of the Freshworks Startup Program.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Astro taps CRM firm Evergent for streaming service sooka

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Multimedia broadcasting Astro has tapped customer relationship management (CRM) company Evergent, to activate monetization for its newest streaming service sooka, launched last June this year.

Through the partnership, Astro will use Evergent’s customer management and monetization tools to support registration and subscription management for sooka. Offering both free ad-supported content and subscription services, sooka unites live international sports programming with popular Malaysian dramas and entertainment programs.

For Euan Smith, chief executive officer of TV and group chief operations officer at Astro, the company’s mission is to provide Malaysians with entertaining and informative content, reaching as many customers as possible through the most popular platforms and devices.

“Through our partnership with Evergent, we are now able to offer multiple pricing options for our new sooka streaming platform while also retaining the ability to unlock new business opportunities as we scale the service. As a result, our customers can choose the pricing model and payment methods that best match their needs, allowing Malaysians to enjoy premium content and live sports anytime, anywhere,” Smith said.

Meanwhile, Vijay Sajja, founder and CEO of Evergent, notes that Astro’s new flexible monetization options, powered by Evergent’s technology, will now make premium content more accessible to millions of Malaysians.

“Through Evergent’s global partnerships, we are able to work together with the most innovative media and entertainment companies in each country or region. Astro is the market leader for Malaysian entertainment and a leader in Southeast Asia, and we are proud to help them further grow their business through the launch of sooka,” Sajja stated.