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A generation for change

Sahil Chopra, Co-Founder, iCube

 Sahil Chopra, Co-Founder, iCubes

Sahil Chopra, Co-Founder, iCubes shares his perspective on Digital India, start-up ecosystem and much more. He also throws light upon the opportunities and challenges in digital marketing. Excerpts:

Please tell us about your organisation and products/services that you offer?

Our business is divided into 2 main categories. At iCubes, we are into Email Marketing which manages the customer retention for the brands and the Affiliate Marketing business is under iCubeswire which manages customer acquisition through web, mobile and rich media.

iCubes is a digital marketing solutions provider which help brands acquire and retain customers through web, mobile, email, videos, rich media and so on. It is a performance based online marketing expert that help companies optimise their sales and provide personalised and behavioural re-targeting with split testing and real-time analysis. We offer fully outsourced Email marketing services including campaign consulting, concept, design and implementation as well as self-service solutions enabling clients to manage their own email broadcast campaigns. Our consulting services include building Email Marketing programs and consultancy to fine tune the campaigns for optimum ROI.

The email workshops that we conduct under the brand name “Email Vidya”, open to public enrolment as well as custom tailored for Corporates, are amongst the most sought after programmes in the Email Marketing domain in India.

Would you give us an example of what your initiative is able to accomplish that perhaps others are not?

I believe the biggest differentiator we could bring on the table is the huge quantum of data intelligence available on our Email and Affiliate platforms. The customer behaviour and the churning of big data did help all our customers to predict user behaviour and position the preferences in a data driven manner rather than the old school intuition model.

How do you see start-up ecosystem in our country?

The start-up ecosystem in India is booming without a shade of doubt. There have been off-course lot of challenges and the market is gradually becoming lot more mature. But I believe we are yet to reach the tip of the potential it has and the best is yet to start.

The start-up ecosystem in India has really taken off and come into its own driven by factors such as massive funding, consolidation activities, evolving technology and a growing domestic market. According to Nasscom, India ranks third in global startup ecosystem with more than 4,200 new-age companies with a projection of more than 11,500 by 2020.

What are the challenges for tech-entrepreneurs in India?

·        To have a business idea which can solve a problem

·        Business model being sustainable

·        Courage to start your own business

·        Is your idea big enough?

·        Hiring right talent

·        Effective marketing on limited budget

·        Financial Security

India faces huge digital divide. How do you see “Digital India” initiative by Modi Government in this context?

I guess the Modi government is smart to understand the potential internet and the digital medium has and what future holds for it. Just have a look at the stats below

Internet users by country (millions):

China 641m

US 280m

India 243m

Japan 109m

Brazil 108m

Russia 84m

Germany 71m

With a population of 1.25 Billion and growing, things are going to be huge when more and more people come online in India. More than just the numbers, the digital medium is more personal, at your disposal and gives quantum of data back in a two-way communication unlike other channels like TV, Print and Radio.

What are your recommendations to the Government for the successful Digital India mission?

The entire ecosystem has to be more fair and reliable and all I would say is that the impulse of Indians is driving the digital world in an outstanding way. The government should create an empowering eco-system for its growth.

Also, to drive Digital India successfully, the govt. should create a consortium where the grievances of corporates can also be addressed.

How do you see the current state and future of Social Media Marketing, both from customers and companies’ perspectives? What does the future of Social Media Marketing looks like in India?

Social media is doing pretty well and I think the future of social media is bright. Facebook over the years have made it more difficult to get good reach for free and Twitter has become far noisier these days. Mobile has changed social too, as we can access content wherever and whenever, however, we also have shorter attention spans for it.

Though, Social media is constantly changing and the only worry here is the message not technology. because communication is not about technology.

For companies social media is very useful to reach out to consumers and hear their voice. But the flipside is that it is totally non-moderated, wherein anyone can jump and say anything without any veracity.

What are the key marketing and building strategies for your business?

Being into business to business side of the show – our major marketing happens through our sales team and which has been the backbone for 6 years now. As our customer’s attrition are minimal, we get many new brands on boarded through word of mouth as well. The current building strategy is technology and we’ve been heavily investing into technology last couple of years.

What are your future plans?

We are focusing more on going mobile and working towards making effective mobile strategies as the world is becoming increasingly more digital and more mobile. We are investing heavily in technology. Our ability to capture big data and apply analytics to throw out useful insights for our customers will be at the core of our value proposition. We continue to build a business that delivers value to customers and to turn them into high-value lifetime customers who keep coming back and support us, in order to reap the long-term benefits of customer retention and loyalty.

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