Kalpit Jain, the new CEO of netCORE talks about how digitization will make traditional ways of doing marketing redundant and also highlights why Indian IT SIs are still not on the same page as netCORE.
As the new CEO of netCORE what will be your major endeavors?
I have been working for netCORE for a long time now and therefore I have the advantage of knowing almost all our employees. We are now aiming to groom and train our existing employees so that they can pull themselves up in the learning curve and understand how digitization is changing the way enterprises are doing marketing, both in India and abroad. This is one of my main focus area as the new CEO.
Increasing our presence in the international market is also a priority now. Western and European markets are well advanced, but places like Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and markets in Africa have a lot of opportunities in store and we are chalking out plans to grab those. We are also looking for partners who can help us capture the market in these areas. Apart from these, we are also investing heavily on research and product development. In India, our company is also focusing on penetrating into tier two cities like Jaipur, Lucknow and Indore.
In short, can you walk us through netCORE’s journey from a mail service enabler to a digital marketing platform provider and then riding the IoT wave?
When we started off we used to offer server services to large and mid-size enterprises and helped them filter emails. In the year 2006-7 we gradually started entering into the mobile technology space. We began to offer enterprise level SMS services. Back in the time, when an ICICI credit card was swiped, its details would come to netCORE’s platform. Then in 2008-9 we started off our email marketing platform which enabled companies to send out large volumes of mails to its consumers.
NetCORE, is now primarily into digital marketing platform apart from focusing on mail infrastructure like mails in cloud, archiving mails and others. Over the past one year we have been putting our engineering team and product teams on our marketing automation platform called Smartech (this helps marketers create better workflows and enhance customer engagement) and second is IoT. We are building end-to-end IoT solutions.
Over a period of time, most of the devices we are using will be all connected with each other, mainly with sensors. We will be capturing data and put the same on to a cloud platform to help analyze better. Strictly speaking about IoT, we are focusing on things like temperature management and vehicle management to begin with.
How will digitization threaten the traditional means of doing marketing?
Now, as technology evolves, digital marketing platforms will grab a lot of attention. People in marketing are not only looking at pure delivery channels but also platforms that will help them engage with customers in a real time basis. Enterprises are today looking for solutions and platforms than can help them understand user behavior to help them determine the kind of communication that is needed to be sent out. User behavior helps understand whether a consumer is comfortable with an SMS alert or an email or ‘push notification’ kind of things if one has a high end device.
Over the years we have been building platforms that help customers connect with their consumers. We are trying to call ourselves as a ‘customer connect company’ where the channels of communication can keep getting added as time goes by.
Now, we see a lot of companies investing and moving their funds in the digital marketing space. The reason digital marketing is gaining ground so quickly is because you are now able to measure the ROI of your campaign more effectively owing to capturing data real time.
Digital marketing also help connect to consumers at a time when they prefer. For instance if a consumer does not like to be bothered with promotional messages, mails etcetera from 11 am in the morning to 7 pm, one can easily shift their marketing campaign accordingly.
Do you see Indian IT channel partners riding the wave of digital marketing with you?
We work a lot with channel partners but only for enterprise communication products. For instance thinks like mail archiving for enterprises are done through channels. Honestly speaking, on the digital marketing side, Indian channels are yet to show keen interest as it requires a very different skillset and the target audience is also very different.
Most of the system integrators speak to CIOs or the IT managers. On the digital side of product we always end up talking to marketing managers or a branding manager. So, we have not seen too much traction coming from IT SIs.
Can you enlighten us about netCORE’s role in the government’s digital marketing initiatives?
We are doing a very large project for the Indian government called Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY). Through this we are helping the government build profiles of people, in rural areas, who are willing to develop certain specific skill sets. For instance if someone from a village in Bihar is interested in learning plumbing or construction so as to get a job, this scheme will help them reach training centers setup by the government. Our role here is to help the government reach out to such potential candidates without having to depend too much on manual labor but by using technology instead.