A Conversation with Padmanabhan Ramaswamy
In today’s MarTech conversation, we chat with Padmanabhan Ramaswamy, the co-founder and managing director of InsightzClub, a consumer insights platform that aims to provide valuable data insights for brand marketers.
Ramaswamy explains how the startup has managed to find success with a content marketing plan focused on developing brand awareness along with his plans for the future of InsightzClub’s marketing.
InsightzClub is a consumer insights tech platform that allows brands to use a wide variety of consumer insights to make more data-driven marketing decisions. We do this with a combination of survey data and other sources like passive data or behavioral data to give a more holistic picture.
Market research has been around for a long time. I had been working in consumer insights, analytics, data science, and ecommerce, so I’d experienced the industry both as a user and as a supplier.
Eventually, my co-founder and I noticed there were still multiple issues in the industry—it was often a service-led model where it’s too clunky, too expensive, or it offers poor ROI. And we thought this was a fairly industry-wide problem.
In 2017, we launched our startup, so we are more than four years old now.
Our latest solution is focused more on passive data. So, we have an app that can passively collect consumer data once it’s installed on someone’s phone. They get rewards for installing the app, and we get access to information about what kind of apps they use, the time they spend on these apps, the geolocation, the usage of things like Facebook, Spotify, Twitch, and so on.
These types of behavioral insights can then be passed onto marketers so that they can make more informed, precise decisions.
We’re placing our focus now on growing the SaaS part of our business. We’ve already launched a few purely SaaS solutions, which is where we expect to grow.
So next year, we’re hoping to expand and set up some local teams that can reach other Southeast Asian markets like Indonesia, Vietnam, and maybe India.
I do take care of our marketing efforts. Since the pandemic, we’ve slowed down our efforts on conferences because the interest levels are better in physical situations. But we are focusing our efforts on other activities.
We also publish a lot of articles on multiple publications about the insights industry.
And we regularly publish PR on our own channels like LinkedIn, Facebook, and so on. We mostly see that as creating some brand awareness because our solutions are not necessarily something you’ll want to buy right away. To be honest, most people won’t read an article and say, “Hey, let me buy this.” It doesn't work like that. I mean, even the cheapest possible solution will not cost less than $10,000. So, it's unlikely that people will see an ad or read an article and make the instant decision to purchase the product.
So, we see content marketing more as creating branding, creating awareness, and positioning us as an expert, so that branding imagery is remembered when we do our sales outreach efforts.
It can be nice to think of the sales process as a simple funnel, but it doesn’t exactly work in that scientific step-by-step way. Our approach to using content for brand awareness has been more effective. We like to think of our articles as making people feel warmer toward the product.
At the top of the funnel are the content pieces that are mostly about creating some brand awareness and interest. And that builds a positive association.
Eventually, we’ll probably consider some paid marketing like LinkedIn marketing and other B2B channels, which could potentially work at some other top end of the funnel.
We do hope that as we go forward and scale that we’ll be able to create more of a so-called automated sales process.
It’s already changed a lot. And I think it's continuing to change.
I guess that the lines are getting closer. Brands want to make sure that they integrate everything—from what they learn from insights to what they do for a media strategy to how they create their content.
Three, four years back, programmatic advertising was quite a trend. A lot of brands tried it; most of them weren't really able to realize much value from it. And it's already starting to undergo a big shift because of the expected transition from the cookieless world.
So, first-party data is going to become much more important. And, ultimately, this can help reduce wastage of media money and marketing money and can improve privacy control for users. So, I think things are definitely changing.
And the landscape is also changing. I mean, a year and a half ago, TikTok was never part of anybody’s budget, but now it’s becoming a part of both free and paid budgets.
In the next few years, video will probably continue to become more and more important.
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