Marketing spam is a global issue. Marketers have adopted a multi-channel approach to reach out to the consumers on all channels possible. This often results in marketers/brands sending wrong promotions to wrong customers.
A consumer probably receives 15-20 SMSes, 30-40 emails and endless promotional messages on social media platforms on a daily basis. We have no option but to look at the emails with contempt and curse the companies behind these spams.
The time has come to put an end to this. An Indian startup is here to save you from receiving unsolicited mails and SMSes on your phone, and thereby reducing spams and saving the environment.
“As per data, approximately 500 billion emails are sent across the world every day, of which 86 per cent are spam. These are just the figures for email spams. One needs to take into account the extent of spam messages we receive as SMS and on social media platforms as well. New data centres are being built to accommodate this ever-growing data, and this is happening at the cost of trees and environment degradation. This is not a problem that we can solve overnight,” says Amit Gupta, COO of spocto, a Big Data startup that is working towards ‘unspamming’ (a term coined by the startup) the world.
Target at the right time, right place
spocto was launched in April 2016 in Mumbai and is funded by Intelligentia, an IT services company specialising in cloud solutions.
A SaaS-based omni-channel marketing platform, spocto creates detailed analysis of the user behaviour across different channels (SMS, email, voice and social media) to help brands reach the customers rather intelligently.
“A consumer is available to brands on multiple channels like SMS, emails, social media properties etc. But the brand doesn’t know that it is actually reaching out to the same consumer with the same message on multiple platforms; for the brand it is actually feeding messages to different customers,” says Gupta.
“To give an example, we came across a brand that was using a channel to reach out to their customers prior to utilising spocto’s insights. Upon analysing the data, we realised that one of the consumers was sent 10,000 SMSes in a span of 4-5 months. Our role is to control that and make the entire ecosystem more beneficial to both, the consumers and the marketers,” Gupta says.
This is when spocto comes into picture. It creates profiles that take into account the consumers’ multiple digital presence, their interests, habits and behaviour and advices the brand on the same. In this manner, the brand is able to reach out to consumers that are their actual target customers, on a platform that the users are actually more likely to be available and responsive on, thereby, unspamming their customers and making the promotions more cost-effective, he explains.
For instance, if consumer A logs onto Twitter to tweet during lunch hours on a weekday and spocto is able to capture those tweets, then it would know that A is active on Twitter during a particular time of the day. Similarly, if A is reading his or her emails at 9 am when he or she walks into office and logging onto Facebook after working hours, spocto is able to use this information to build a comprehensive customer profile. The profile is beefed up further by analysing A’s interest areas based on his or her social media posts and habits.
“Using this data, we are able to counsel brands interested in A to reach out to him or her on a channel that he or she is most likely to respond to and at a time that he or she is active on that platform,” he adds.
Spam, a pain in the neck
Gupta himself is a victim of spams and he gets a lot of promotional mails/SMSes on a daily basis.
“I order a lot of food online and happened to do so from a popular food chain. But now, I am constantly sent a lot of promotional messages on SMS, emails and social media,” Gupta says.
“Often, the message is actually the same across all platforms. This has made me wary of this particular chain, as I don’t like to get spammed and now I avoid going on this brand’s website altogether. At spocto, we are trying to create a bubble around the consumer in order to protect them from spam,” he adds.
India fares worse when it comes to spam mailing and messaging. A jaw-dropping 94 per cent of the 8 billion emails being sent across the country on a daily basis are spam, according to Gupta.
“We have the data of 80 million consumers in India and because of our advanced analytics system, we are able to identify consumer patterns across all platforms,” adds Gupta.
The firm is currently working with around 100 clients, including behemoths like Cardekho, Mahindra Group, Future Group and BCCL (parent of Times of India).
For spocto, the opportunities are massive. However, the core segments that the company is currently looking at are loyalty programmes and non-performing asses (NPA).
“We were having an interesting conversation with Kotak Bank and they seemed interested in the idea of having spocto profiles for NPA customers for easy traceability. Similarly, in one of our internal discussions, we could figure out a scenario where HR in corporate houses are potential customers as well because today, there is a need to understand what the employees and future employees of a company are discussing on digital platforms as it is important to engage with employees digitally,” he says.
David v/s Goliath
Marketing automation is a fairly large spectrum with big companies like Salesforce, Oracle, Adobe, Marketo and Google operating in it. What sets spocto apart is the service it offers, claims Gupta.
“We provide multi-platform Big Data analytics, which helps different brands select their target group, know them better, retrieve relevant data using big data, and subsequently reach out to every customer individually, based on their preferred channels, time and content,” he comments.
The startup’s ultimate goal is to launch an app where the consumers would be able to state their preferences in terms of interest areas and platforms that they should be able to change on a daily basis, so that the right content is sent to them.
Till date, spocto has received investments of over US$2 million from its parent company, Intelligentia. It is now planning to raise US$7-10 million by December 2016 for acquisitions and technology Integrations.