AMA: Marketing Director APAC @ InMobi, Rajesh Pantina
This AMA is an abridged recap of a session from our private community.
Rajesh Pantina is the APAC Marketing Director at InMobi. InMobi is India's first venture adtech unicorn and a leading player in global adtech and media.
Here's what you'll learn from this AMA:
- A crash course on IDFA
- How to measure the success of virtual events
- How to set up the foundations of B2B demand gen engine
- The 2nd-order marketing effects of today's consumer privacy narrative
What is the big deal about IDFA? Who is affected by IDFA, really?
So, to start from the basics:
In the world of apps - each smartphone user is uniquely represented by an ID generated for each smartphone. On Android, it's Advertising ID (ADID) and on iOS it's ID for Advertisers (IDFA). This is the non-PII way of identifying unique users across the globe in the app world.
IDFA is currently the primary field used by advertisers, advertising platforms, and other third-party platforms to tie together various aspects of the smartphone user - app usage, ad engagement, shopping preferences, demographics etc. This helps brands build a complete view of the consumer, which is used to drive personalized targeting and messaging.
This is very similar to how B2B companies or D2C companies leverage the email ID/phone number as the primary field to build a complete understanding of the consumer habits and design campaigns, communications, promotions, and offers
As you see, the IDFA was the most central element to all in-app advertising campaigns on the iOS front. Hence, it affects all brands who have a sizable portion of their core target audience and advertising spends on iPhones.
The regions predominantly affected are iOS dominant markets e.g., NA, UK, ANZ, Japan, Vietnam etc. The new rules by Apple do not deprecate the IDFA per se but just make it mandatory for all apps to take user content for tracking their information across other apps and websites.
An example of a brand that could be affected would be Dyson in the US.
Earlier, Dyson could have used IDFA to dynamically segment and engage with the entire universe of iOS users based on their affinity towards a category that Dyson plays in, nudge all the users who have recently interacted with third-party online shopping stores to make a purchase, and/or up-sell/cross-sell to repeat customers on their app.
But now as fewer users opt-in to the IDFA based tracking, Dyson cannot do the above dynamic segmentation and personalized messaging, but only send broad-based communication about Dyson products to all their consumer segments.
What is your process for leading demand gen efforts targeting B2B enterprise?
There are 3 key steps in setting up a basic demand or lead gen processes for acquiring enterprises:
1) Enterprise Prospect Longlist and Understanding Purchase Lifecycle:
Since you are targeting enterprises, you have an obvious advantage of building a detailed long-list of prospects that would benefit from your product/offering. This prospect long-list should be built in partnership with product/sales factoring in for the industries, regions, and sub-regions, that your product-market fit (PMF) prescribes.
Another exercise that is critical and is missed by many is to understand the purchase lifecycle in detail by accompanying sales teams on calls or debriefing them after a customer-win. This will help identify influencers and their roles in the purchase lifecycle (key decision makers would have already been established in the PMF), how they prefer to be communicated to, and how they consume key updates etc.
This step is extremely important to get right, especially in partnership with your non-marketing stakeholders. This list of prospects and key influencers/ decision makers would mark the basis of all your integrated marketing campaigns and paid strategy.
2) Deciding on relevant earned and paid media channels and strategy:
Based on the above findings, the critical decisions of your preferred channels for earned and paid marketing would kick in.
This could include PR as well, as it could often drive a number of organic enquiries to your website or assist response rate to future outreach. While LinkedIn is an obvious choice on the paid front for targeting enterprises (because of the ability to target job titles and firmographics), your research exercise would also identify other channels that you could invest money in and drive leads for a lower cost (search, FB, etc.).
At the same time, email marketing, website bots etc. might also emerge as highly valuable channels.
If you're a startup, this can be overwhelming and distracting because the customer journey may reveal multiple touchpoints. It is advisable to pick two earned and two paid media channels to start with, before scaling across more.
3) Shaping your Tech Stack:
This step is critical and requires investment in tools and personnel to get the right infrastructure in place.
Examples of key tool-based investments would be:
- Marketing Automation Platform: for database management, file hosting and management, email marketing, social media management (if needed) etc.
- CMS and landing page creation tools: for content management and building SEO and mobile-optimized landing pages for a great experience without much hassle
- Google Analytics and Tag Manager: for measuring events, conversions etc. on your website and relaying them to the MAP, useful in centralized reporting, dynamic audience segmentation, etc.
Most important personnel investment would be a marketer who can double down as a webdev resource - someone who is comfortable with HTML/CSS/JS - someone like this will help you get up and running quickly and make it easier to make changes to your tech stack.
Start there. At a later point in time, you can layer on lead scoring implementation and various other trending tools in the market etc.
Once you get a lead in your system, how does it get to the sales team? Could you share your follow-up process?
Every lead in the system goes through a specific lead nurture workflow that is dependent on their score.
For example, a lead with a low lead score might receive a 3-email drip campaign running them through more content, proof points and finally the pitch whereas a lead with high score (high score = demonstrated high-intent behaviors) might get an email about engaging with an expert to understand more about the company's offerings.
Once the lead responds with clear intent to partner with InMobi, the central demand gen team evaluates the BANT criteria fit. We have an SDR team housed within the marketing function to qualify for BANT.
Those who pass the BANT criteria are then handed over as SQLs to sales teams. These SQLs are then tracked on our MAP/CRM until the conversion happens to determine revenue generated or influenced.
For your State of Programmatic Summit virtual event, what can you share in terms of investment in this campaign and how you judge whether this event was successful?
We look at 3 levels of metrics for online events that we host, and they all have different jobs and definitions for success.
#1 - Registrations
We look at this as a very important metric as there is a certain CAC that is derived based on the registrations and the integrated promotion costs. Another important metric is also to look at the overlap of registrations with your TG (this can be done using simple rules for dynamic lists on one’s MAP/ CRM). This helps us grow and curate our database better.
#2 - Attendance
Here, we want to look at engaged leads as we can determine the number of attendees (which adds to their lead score) and also their level of engagement - how long were they on the webinar, what was their attentiveness score etc. We also run polls within the event to understand feedback specific to each session and speakers. This serves as great feedback on content, speakers, duration of the sessions etc.
#3 - SQLs
We also measure the resultant SQLs from the event either in terms of inbound queries or as responses to lead nurture or outbound campaigns once the event is over. This helps us evaluate the overall ROAS and marketing driven / influenced revenue.
The privacy narrative started by Apple feels like a major industry moment like GDPR. What other industry changes do you see on the horizon?
IDFA, and more broadly, consumer privacy is going to be the major theme for a while. It's just started. These changes have already surfaced and are coming into effect, fundamentally shifting the way digital/mobile advertising is run.
This has led to the emergence of a new market – the identity solutions market –with over 80 players providing across the globe trying to address personalization. For example, LiveRamp's IDL, The Trade Desk's Unified 2.0, ID5, BritePool on the demand side and InMobi's UnifID on the publisher side.
These solutions are all built bottoms-up with the construct of identity creation and management based on user-consent. This will eventually be the future of digital advertising across media - CTV, mobile, desktop etc.
I anticipate that advertising will move towards omni-channel buys, and these identity solutions will play a critical role in enabling that.
So much of marketing works on being able to track people, access to data etc. But it seems that this era is ending. What do you think of the narrative around privacy and how will it affect marketing?
In such a situation, the best perspective that anyone needs is of the consumer's and consumer's alone.
According to Forbes, 91% of consumers say they are more likely to shop from brands that offer them personalized experiences while 71% of consumers feel frustrated when shopping experiences are impersonal.
And you and I would completely agree to this. How many times have we scoffed at an ad that gives us a first time discount coupon while we have been using the platform for a long time or at an email that doesn't show you relevant offers?
According to an Accenture survey on data privacy, consumers want brands to drive more personalized engagement and 73% are ready to share data if brands are transparent about data handling and the value delivered.
Going forward - marketing and advertising will be governed by the currency of data-value exchange.
The more value consumers see, the more they will share. But, brands will have to be extremely careful about how they instill trust among their customers.
Ultimately, consumers have the final say when it comes to privacy controls, but it is also critical to help them understand how data is being used to create personalised experiences that are made to delight.
Rajesh Pantina is the Director of Marketing for InMobi in Asia Pacific and is responsible for the public relations, integrated marketing communications, demand generation and customer marketing initiatives in the region. In his previous roles at InMobi, Rajesh has been responsible for shaping the India marketing strategy from grounds-up, has led the product marketing for InMobi's Performance and Monetization solutions across Asia Pacific and contributed as Founders' Staff in the marketing function. Rajesh is an alumnus of the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad.
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