Categories
HR Tech

Eureka! Unlock the Power of “Remote Intuition” in Zoom/Teams/Google Meet

Written by (tk) krishna thothadri on Digilah (Tech Thought Leadership)

Intuition – The X factor critical to generating ideas collaboratively but not something one expects over a Teams workshop involving a dozen people across five time zones, multiple languages and ethnicities. Unlocking the power of collective intuition had been my forte in the hundreds of workshops I had conducted during the pre-COVID decade. I was a firm believer that the revolutionary efficiency of Zoom/ Teams could never deliver the magical inefficiency of unstructured intuition and ideation. Physical workshops were the Hogwarts of collective intuition, and “Remote Meetings” were the Death Eaters! I had completely stopped doing such workshops.

As COVID dragged on, Teams, Zoom and Google Meet tried to address the issue with rooms, Whiteboard and Jamboard. I experimented with these shiny new toys but quickly realized that remote meetings had become camera-off, mute-on time capsules when people multi-tasked; learning new ways to jam about ideas was an extra behaviour change no one wanted to do.

One year into COVID, I found inspiration from an unlikely source. My middle-school son was attending remote classes and he was sharing ideas with his classmates! His teachers had found a way to keep self-learning and collaborative intuition alive. There were no new shiny toys, just basic stuff- Google Search( text, images, Youtube), Google Slides, PowerPoint, the laptop’s camera, and the Chat inside Google Meet.

I had my Eureka moment- stick with the familiar, just tweak it to make it a little unfamiliar.

  1. Define the challenge and expectations with the decision-maker, not the minions co-ordinating the workshop
  2. Zero meeting time for information sharing; send everything as pre-reads a week in advance
  3. Energy is the key to intuition so break up the workshops into several 2-hour sessions
  4. Child-like output format: create a simple, visually evocative frame that can hold 7-15 words to headline the idea (e.g.billboard, front of pack, etc.)
  5. Create trigger questions and populate the frame with idea starters to fire participants’ intuition
  6. Encourage people to submit their ideas a few hours ahead of the session. Curate the ideas into themes
  7. In the session, invite creators to explain their ideas. Allow them to use a few supporting slides by sharing their screens
  8. Use the trigger questions and ideas to generate more ideas
  9. Do not use the session to operationalise the ideas; stop at overall ‘explore/discard’
  10. Let the core team work through the operational implications and send it out as pre-read for the plenary session with the decision-maker and stakeholders.
  11. Close the exercise with a final 60min decision-making session
  12. Cameras on! Ensure 100% attention throughout the session.

Can this make ” Remote Intuition” scalable, fun and effective? The answer is Yes!

Want to find out how? Let’s chat over a coffee, WhatsApp me at +6593891694

Categories
Mar Tech

DTC Tech Stack: 10 Powerful Ways the World’s Best DTC brands leverage technology to scale [profitably]

Written by Malavika Sharma on Digilah (Tech Thought Leadership)

About 15 years ago, the early disciples of Direct-To-Consumer [DTC] brands, began spreading the word – DTC as a business model was about lower prices, higher margins, and one-to-one customer relationships. Fast forward to today, the DTC landscape is crowded with brands jostling for consumer mindspace. With customer acquisition costs rising and Apple’s iOS ATT update resulting in a reduced ability for facebook and email marketers to track, understand user behavior, target audiences and measure performance accurately – there hasn’t been a more important time than now to leverage and build a powerful marketing technology stack that puts customers at the front and center of a DTC brand’s strategy and mission in order to survive.

Successful DTC brands today focus on building a deep understanding of their customer, strengthen their offerings, educate, entertain, and remind their customers with a single goal to convert visitors to buyers and grow customer lifetime value.

Technology has been at the forefront of a DTC entrepreneurs arsenal influencing daily decisions from understanding a customer’s first order, to building a content strategy leveraging analytics and research, gaining a better understanding of on-site visitor behavior in the storefront, or targeting audiences that are most likely to convert.

Below are ten powerful ways DTC brands leverage technology to scale to 8 figures and beyond profitably.

Let’s dive in.

  1. Building a content first strategy with powerful SEO for brand discoverability

Building a search engine optimized site that is discoverable with high quality content that educates your customers across the customer journey is a good starting point. Additionally, customer journey mapping, with creating a content strategy as a fundamental foundation to communicate with your customer personas and on-site conversion rate optimization yields a flywheel for continuous growth. As we know it a brand without content is faceless, it has no way to get repeat business, grow a customer base and compete against companies with similar products. A real brand has a strong email list of subscribers, authority in their niche and a community of raving fans who consume their content and buy their products again and again. The world’s best DTC brands leverage content to tell their stories to customers and address “why” they exist to serve the customer. Organic content costs less than paid for each marginal visitor – its upfront investment is offset by reduced customer acquisition cost (CAC), more loyalty and a much longer ROI window.

From product pages, blogs to social media the best DTC brands leverage content marketing to build engagement and trust with the brand. Below are ways in which successful DTC brands leverage different technology platforms and applications to provide a full funnel experience by embracing content as a primary pillar.

  • Top of Funnel Content: focuses on educating the audience, entertaining, engaging the customer and addressing a specific pain point or need they are looking to address. Creative assets for paid social such as images, sales videos, testimonials, UGC can be created via technology platforms such as Canva, Snappa, Adobe Spark, Visme, Vimeo and Wistia are great to build rich experiences on the website and creative assets such as carousels, videos, collection ad formats besides create Instagram stories, Instagram reels that particularly work well for DTC brands. UGC platforms Cohley and Pixlee help brands connect with customers and engage them with authentic conversations inviting them to discover the brand. Building on-site personalized quizzes can further improve time on site and grow engagement with your customer.
  • Middle of Funnel Content: focuses on helping educate, informing and building trust with the customer. The focus here is to solve for why your product or service would help fulfill the customer’s needs. Building social proof by integrating platforms like Trustpilot, Yotpo are great. Brands integrate chat via Paloma, ManyChat and MobileMonkey that help DTC brands engage, inform and retain visitors on the website – channels such as Instagram and facebook messenger accelerate customer experience and brand credibility.
  • Bottom Of Funnel Content: this is where the rubber hits the road. Ensuring your store has product optimized pages with a goal to ensure a frictionless path to conversion with one click upsells, a seamless add to cart experience, a secure check-out with a post-purchase cross sell opportunity to grow average order value (AOV), conversion rates (CR) and customer lifetime value (CLV) are big rocks that aid conversion optimisation. Landing Pages that are AMP optimized for quick mobile downloads and desktop optimized separately are important to ensure a rich customer experience and reduce bounce rates, load times and improve conversions. Ensuring message match between ads, content and product offer pages is key not only to ensure a high-quality score when running facebook and google ads but also is key to increase conversion rates and lower cart abandonment. By adopting technology software such Unbounce and InstaPage to launch custom landing pages in a drag and drop environment DTC brands are able to drastically improve customer experience, drive customer retention and prevent a leaky bucket. Apps such as Zipify and Candy Rack are two of the top-rated apps on the Shopify app store that allow you to easily create upsell and cross-sell offers.

Nik Sharma, CEO of Sharma Brands states, “If you invest in SEO today, you will reap its ROI over 12 years”. For some brands, relevant search volume will allow them to scale to tens of thousands – if not hundreds of thousands – of qualified shoppers per month through search engine optimization (SEO).

To do that requires a combination of three factors.

One, optimizing your collection and product pages for high-buying-intent keywords. Two, optimizing those same pages for technical considerations – correct H tags, alt image tags, and load speed. Three, producing additional content for non-buying-intent keywords. By leveraging SEMRUSH, BackLinko and Ahrefs a seamless search engine optimised storefront with organic traffic can be built, growing the stores brand authority while driving conversions.

2. Ensuring a healthy channel mix while building traffic

Once a DTC brand builds a great product that solves a specific need or pain-point of the customer, saves time, money or solves a problem – then the next ideal step is a laser focus on building traffic. Traffic = store visitors. As John Mac Donald, President & Founder of The Good, a conversion rate optimization firm states, “Visitors come to your store only for two reasons – to research your products and understand if it solves their problem or need and to purchase as quickly and effortlessly as possible. Your job as an ecommerce marketer is to get them what they came for with the least friction”.

As an young DTC brand, a focus on growing organic traffic, improving on-site conversion rate through conversion rate optimization and establishing a retention strategy via email and SMS marketing to grow your short-term LTV (60-day LTV) will deliver profitability in order to better prepare you to scale in the future.

Early DTC brands that have seen success aim to push revenue via organic traffic to 20%+ and email marketing to 25% to build for profitability.

Once brands hit 15M+ and are a maturing DTC brand, direct organic traffic should contribute to at least 40% of total traffic. As DTC brands build sizeable organic traffic and continue to grow with a goal to deeply understanding their customer personas, they grow higher quality traffic to drive to their storefront and scale business further by a focus on paid advertising via search and social. A focus on full funnel advertising optimized at an SKU and price point level to win profitable sales, building high converting creatives rooted in analytics focused on time tested principles that accelerate the customers journey should be the focus all with one primary goal – get visitors to make a purchase. Further brands build intelligent remarketing campaigns that separate customers, visitors, browsers, and cart abandoners. Search engine marketing (SEM) is leveraged to make sure that the store “owns their real estate”: the top results for branded searches. Google ads versus Facebook ads shouldn’t be pitted against each other; but instead work together to build an omnichannel presence across search, shopping, and social media. A healthy store has a 40-60 organic to paid traffic mix or an ideal 50-50 organic to paid traffic mix.

None of this is possible to track and measure without using the rich machine learning capabilities and algorithms of the big three – facebook, google and amazon ad platforms and pixels or even first party and third-party data technologies.  

3. Optimizing for the conversion always! Growing revenue per visitor as a goal.

When DTC brands focus all efforts into cutting down wasteful expenditure testing ads with small budgets first, always testing 6-8 creatives and remarketing to existing customers while prospecting to new potential customers only – they see a lift in conversions and conversion rates besides improved return on ad spend (ROAS). When brands test both ads and funnels leveraging the AIDA model and rapidly iterate creative assets to optimize for the conversion, paid advertising finally pays off and allows brands to rapidly scale, grow new customers and drive repeat purchase rates and average order value.

By accelerating on-site conversion rate optimization actions, focusing on bespoke photography and video asset optimization, site speed and mobile optimized AMP pages for quick load times, brands are able to build profitable ecommerce funnels that reduce friction points to conversion such as your offer, return rates, bad reviews, poor product quality, creative, account optimization goals or an incongruent message or visual between your ad and landing page structure. Testing each element of the ecommerce funnel – ad imagery, headlines, copy, blog copy, video, testimonials, social reviews creates a frictionless path to conversion with a coherent message to the consumer. Further conversion rate optimisation does not end with the purchase – post-purchase retention strategies help further drive engagement, cross-sell and upsells that consistently grow brand loyalty, increase repeat purchase rates reducing average time between orders.

By personalizing the customer journey across touchpoints, focusing on product assortment optimization, directing paid dollars to acquire ideal customers and ensuring message match between the ad and landing page, DTC brands are able to greatly impact conversion rates and volume. Marketing software such as Adobe Spark Post, Canva, no limit creatives allow entrepreneurs and marketers to rapidly test creative performance and build stunning creative assets. Conversion Optimisation Software (CRO) software such as Omniconvert, Optimizely and VWO enables brands to conduct RFM segmentation, cohort analysis and launch customer surveys to better understand customer clusters with varied lifetime value, on-site behavior and intent. This helps every marketer to successfully focus on profitable growth.

With heatmaps, rapid A/B testing and software such as HotJar, Microsoft Clarity, brands are able to optimise on-site product page experiences. Further, auditing customer reviews on your store and on Amazon can play a part in strengthening the product offering and service capability.

DTC brands personalize cart recovery by installing LiveRecover. They recover about 20-25% of abandoned carts at minimum. All these actions are an essential part to conversion rate optimisation for the storefront online.

4. Accelerating LTV with retention programs via email marketing, SMS marketing, informative newsletters, community building programs for your brand

If you aren’t leveraging email and SMS marketing, you are leaving a pile of cash on the table. Nik Sharma, CEO of Sharma Brands says, “Good retention is about coming up with plays that keep your product in the top 15-20 things in a person’s head at any one time”. Simply put – email marketing and SMS marketing are those #1 and #2 retention channels!

No other channel matches the ROI of email marketing. For every $1 spent email generates $38. Well performing email marketing has the potential to drive 20%-30% revenue.

Email is the most important touch point between brand and community. It helps convince people to engage, consider, buy and express, take interest, engage and influence buyers. With customer acquisition costs likely to continue to spiral upwards, investing in email marketing to build a direct relationship with the customer and “own” the relationship is critical.

As Chase Dimond, Co-Founder of Boundless Labs says, “I think email’s important for a lot of reasons. First – with the iOS 14 update and cookies going away, it’s going to be even more important to control your audience and really have predictable revenue.

The goal is to get to a point where you can press send and you know that this campaign is going to drive you X number of clicks and X number of sales and the revenue per recipient is this.

And with Facebook and some of these other channels, those are obviously very effective for what I do. We are dependent on top-of-the-funnel traffic, but they’re going to become a lot less precise, a lot less predictable. So having a channel like email marketing where you own, and you control your destiny is going to be super important”.

Marketing automation platforms such as Klaviyo, Privy, Active Campaign and Sendlane allow marketers to not only establish a one-to-one relationship with the existing and potential customers but leverage deep learning to build segments and communicate with your customers to inform, educate and convert more visitors to customers.

By focusing on a healthy mix of both campaigns and flows. Ensuring your core flows welcome series, cart and browse abandonment and post purchase series are always activated. Building a cadence of list hygiene and cleaning to ensure healthy engagement rates – email marketing can become a highly profitable channel.

Merchandising emails with top-sellers and bundled offers to drive repeat purchases help grow a DTC brands average order value (AOV).

Post purchase emails are critical to keep customers engaged, thanking customers for purchases made and launching cross-sell and up-sell opportunities over time grow AOV. Educating your customers about how to use your products leveraging newsletters, build social proof and valuable feedback. Email Marketing helps shore up organic traffic through a continuous stream of existing customers visiting your site to explore new products, engage with your blog and feel part of a community.

With the iOS 15 ATT updates, we will see a potential impact on opens leading to our inability to accurately understand revenue, IP based activity, ability to serve dynamic content, list segmentation, build automated triggers and logic, launch list hygiene and offboard unengaged subscribers. Ensuring UTM tracking is accurate and consistent to enable last click reporting through Google Analytics would be key. Collecting historical data to adequately read without open data would help create a baseline to benchmark against.  Updating segments to utilise recent creation, clicks, purchases and site sessions to build segments of engaged contacts. Auditing all automated flows for use of opens and identify any elements of the program reliant on Geo-IP. Implementing batched re-engagement series for pre-iOS 15 list hygiene would go a long way in making informed and intelligent decisions to boost the health of your email marketing program.

5. Building A Frontline of Defense with Customer Service:

Martech platforms such as Gorgias go a long way in not only reducing churn but also leveraging data to build customer service as not only brand advocates and grow one-on-one relationships with the customer. Customer service is a brand’s frontline of defence. Customers are the first to know when something is wrong, broken, or if anything can be done better. By identifying the needs, concerns, and issues of the customer faster than anyone else, brands can also fix or address problems before it gets any bigger and becomes damaging to the company.

It is important to keep the customer happy. If it is their first-time ordering from a brand and they have a less than stellar experience, they are most likely not going to order again. They will not give any of the company’s second products a try, such as the more expensive purchases or subscriptions. That is why customer service helps in not only preventing any bad experiences but building a trusted relationship. By offering simple solutions from a technical standpoint, such as dealing with refunds or providing a shipping label, the customer is excited that the brand provided them with a solution. Tools like Gorgias help drive stellar customer service enabling brands to leverage data to cross sell and up sell products, retain or win back customers and provide exceptional customer experience.

6. Scaling with Facebook Ads Profitably

Why facebook you may ask? With more than 2.9 BN monthly active users worldwide, facebook is the largest social network. Besides the continuing challenges with Apple’s iOS updates, it is estimated that ad spends would continue to rise by 32% on facebook in 2022 per eMarketer. While CPMs have risen by +47% on facebook in the US and +54% YOY for ecommerce brands – there simply put isn’t a single channel replacement for facebook that provides better or similar returns.

Facebook and Instagram are the highest performing, most efficient channels out there why? This is because of the humongous data they are sitting on. Facebook pixels are over 8 million websites on the internet. facebook knows about their users through their conversion tracking algorithm more than anyone else.

On the buy side of the facebook platform it is important to focus on five key areas to leverage the power of the platform profitably.

  • Feed the facebook algorithm with a variety of ad creatives, testing every part of the ad while leveraging a consolidated account structure, ensure message match and congruence between ad and landing page
  • Set clear prospecting goals only targeting new users to be able to retarget to existing users for scale and profitability
  • Build audience exclusions while setting up retargeting for visitors, cart abandoners, engagers, and varied customer segments
  • Calculate facebook budgets and CPA targets based on profitability goals
  • Eliminate single account ROAS goals while focusing on SKU based goals

Embrace Adobe Spark, Pixlr X, Snappa, Adobe Premier Rush to create outstanding Facebook ads that convert.

7. Always refining the almighty offer to grow AOV and short-term cash multiplier LTV 60 days

Focus on understanding different customer segments and their purchase trends, what they are willing to recommend and what they have returned. If you have excess inventory, BOGO is a great promotional offer to increase customer engagement and generate sales. Free shipping belongs on every customer list. Conversion rates are known to increase when you use free shipping. Free returns set customers minds free and gets them to purchase more. Threshold free shipping can incentivize shoppers to add more items to their cart increasing both AOV and LTV. At all times, merchants must cater for what people really care about – which is almost never a brand or founder story – but something relevant to their needs.

Limited edition and low in stock are great ways to drive urgency besides money back guarantees. Product bundling including starter kits and special edition seasonal items. A membership or subscription program is a powerful way to bring your customers into an exclusive club and generate some guaranteed revenue. If your membership is structured well, you can get your customers to spend more than they would otherwise. Store credits are a great way to get your customers to come back again and incentivise the next purchase.

Bolstering your business with a robust live chat experience, customer service platform such as Gorgias or building a customer review via UGC with Okendo would work wonders for your brand. This would help in driving more traffic by showing reviews in paid and organic marketing channels including Google Ads, Google Search and Google Shopping. The above tactics all go a long way to improve average order value (AOV) and LTV 60 days i.e., a cash multiplier for the brand.

8. Capturing demand through Search Engine Marketing with Google Shopping and Google Ads

If brands want to be wherever their customers are, then this is one of the foundational steps. If someone finds a brand on Facebook or they see the brand on Amazon, one of the next things they’ll do is search for same brand on Google and so as DTC brands, we want to show up there for branded search.

Now you might be asking, if someone is searching for me by name, won’t my organic search do the trick? Because I’m going to probably rank for my own name number one. And the answer is, yes you most likely will rank at the top organically for your own brand name. There are very rare exceptions that you would not. However, there are likely going to be some ads above you.

Branded Search Ads help prevent competitors from poaching a brands customers. Search Ad spend is still growing at 20% per year. Google Shopping makes up 55-60% of all retail paid search clicks per Search Engine Journal. One of the reasons why Google Shopping is so popular is because the return on ad spend (ROAS) is just consistently strong.  

Google Tag Manager (GTM) is the holy grail. Once you install the GTM container pixel on your site, you’ll be able to manage all your pixels from the GTM user interface. Launching Google Tag Manager on site, also makes sure you have a much less chance of accidentally breaking your site trying to add pixels. More importantly it will help you track the holy conversion and other key actions such as add to cart, order value, product or item bought, sales revenue and much more.

9. Launching private label brands on Amazon FBA and leveraging Amazon Advertising

Amazon is quickly becoming a destination for direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands looking to expand their reach and increase their sales. Since third-party sellers joined Amazon in 1999, they’ve grown to account for 58% of Amazon sales.

DTC brands that have an already established store can leverage 300 million active customers across 180+ countries via Amazon. It is one of the most efficient ways to reach new customers with 66% of new product searches beginning on Amazon.

Positive Customer Reviews can boost the brands perception and drive organic traffic to their store thereby improving conversions and sales. This means healthier profit margins.

With Facebook ads costs rising post Apple’s iOS ATT rollout by almost +45-55%, Amazon PPC ad costs could be cheaper depending upon the category. DTC Brands could leverage market intelligence platforms such as Jungle Scout and Helium10 to make real time decisions on their Amazon FBA strategy based on their inventory availability, new product launch strategy, gain competitor insights and feedback from customer reviews to continuously iterate the product and improve product features, packaging and after-sales service. Brands could even launch bundled offers to push excess inventory or plan to push sales during peak holiday seasons to maximize both sales volume and profitability

10. Measuring what Matters

Successful DTC ecommerce brands know their growth is tied to a fundamental set of metrics. Visitors, Conversion Rate, Operating Expenditure, Contribution Margin and Customer Lifetime Value are some of the key metrics that when tracked and measured, lead to informed decision making and a profitable DTC commerce business with more cash in the bank. Other key metrics such as Net Promoter Score, Customer Acquisition Cost, Purchase Frequency, Average Order Value, Time to First Response and CLV to CAC ratio are additionally important metrics to track.

A holistic view of these metrics cannot be attained in the absence of technology driven software such as Google Analytics, OmniConvert, Tydo, Ramp, Settle and more.

Successful DTC brands start with a mission to create world class products that best serve the customer to deliver exceptional customer experiences with customer lifetime value as their north star. Some of the world’s best DTC brands such as Glossier, Beardbrand, Lalo, Qalo, and many more power their DTC technology stack leveraging these world class software applications and platforms mentioned in the article above.

Smarte Digital is a boutique ecommerce growth marketing consultancy with a mission to scale DTC brands that are between 2MN-30MN+ profitably.

Categories
Ad Tech

Shaping the way of digital advertising

Written by Alex Martinez on Digilah (Tech Thought Leadership)

The relationship that people have with the consumption of content in digital platforms is constantly changing.

As an audience, our needs change, the way we consume information and what we expect from the online experience when we enter a website or an app. The truth is that as digital consumers we are increasingly demanding.

All the parts that make up the digital world make a great effort to adapt to these demands.

One of these is to provide a pleasant online experience. What factors can determine this? A well-worked UX (user experience), and that the user finds advertisements according to their interests.

It is on this last point that we decided to work in order to contribute our technological value.

Five years ago, together with Ricard Luquero and Pablo Salinas, we founded Adpone, an advertising technology company with a very clear mission: to shape the future of advertising with in-house technology to achieve high performance.

We developed a technology that is little known to most people: a solution that places premium brand ads on websites from all over the world.

This solution meets the needs of digital players so that they can continue to offer their audiences free and quality content.

What are website owners and advertisers looking for? Let’s break it down.

Publishers want to make the most out of their traffic.

By monetizing advertising inventory

The vast majority of websites generate income through advertising. This can be done in different ways, but it is usually done by placing banners or videos in the body of the website.

By ensuring a great online experience

Journalists and content creators make a great effort to generate original and quality content, and to position it organically in search engines. All this, to build trust in their audiences and make them want to return to the website.

For this to be possible -and at the same time profitable- the advertising they show must be consistent with each content.

Advertisers seek to make good impressions.

By reaching their target audiences

Every advertising campaign has at least two parts. The first is to design compelling creative content. The second, to implement this campaign by placing the ads on websites according to their content. This used to be done intuitively, now it is done through advertising technology.

By placing their content in the right place

Context matters. Let’s imagine that a user is reading a news story about the use of toxic fertilizers in soy production and suddenly a banner of a brand of soy-containing veggie burgers appears. Obviously the impression of the brand will not be positive.

Agencies like Adpone are responsible for placing the ads in the right context.

In short, providing a pleasant online experience, having a profitable website and providing adequate advertisements is possible thanks to adtech companies.

At Adpone, we sum it up as #impressionsmatter.

Categories
HR Tech

Leadership in a digital world

Written by Holly Carmichael on Digilah (Tech Thought Leadership)

The future success and effectiveness of leaders and senior executives will depend on how well they respond to the increasingly important role of digitisation through their business models. Regardless of the sector or size of their organisations, leaders must place technology, not as a function of the business, but right at the heart of it.  

This is a topic we discuss frequently within Criticaleye’s global membership Community of leaders and, encouragingly, almost all have digital transformation high on the agenda.

The relationship between digitisation and sustainability is also top of mind for C-suite executives. The pandemic may have been the tipping point for many on ESG(Environment, Social and Governance) issues, but senior teams are now seeing a convergence between digitial innovation and the focus on creating organisations which are sustainable and responding to climate change.  

Digitisation is revolutionising the business landscape, but what does this mean for the capabilities and leadership styles of executives at the top of organisations? One thing is clear, senior executives have had to adapt quickly. Leading innovation and digital transformation requires flexibility, agile thinking and a mindset that is open to learning from others.

Digital capability

Speed of change is forcing a lot to happen all at once. Technology is now integrated across the whole business. It is not a separate function anymore, such as where the responsibility for ‘technology’ was typically siloed.

The question often arises about the need for technology expertise at the top table. Of course, having an experienced CTO or digital evangelist is important, but building a top team which really understands what new technology can do and will bring to the organisation and customers should be the focus. Our Members generally agree that leaders need to empower teams and technology experts across the organisation, as well as playing a key role in how digital transformation is organised and communicated.

Internally, the use of digital solutions to facilitate remote-team management, ensure wellness, and improve productivity is getting to be an increasingly important agenda item. This is not just to do with automation. It’s about the ability to have real-time data which makes a huge difference when employees are going through uncertainty and rapid change.

Leading digital organisations

The past two years have demonstrated what is possible when organisations are forced to make big decisions quickly. Along with more strategic challenges, such as pivoting business models, leaders have had to revisit their softer skills and ask themselves whether they have a leadership style that is fit for the future. Leaders need to be creative and work differently.

When it comes to technology adoption, these new leadership skills are also coming to the fore. Previously considered ‘soft skills’, we’ve seen a lot more focus from leaders on developing their capabilities in this area. Now more than ever, senior executives need the ability to be open, authentic, agile, collaborative and innovative.

Few executives have emerged from the last two years unchanged. It’s clear that some have acclimatised to the new world – and adapted their own styles accordingly – but they are going to be tested harder, their leadership skills will be under greater scrutiny, so they should take time to reflect on their approach.

Categories
Law Tech

Law and Technology: A symbiotic relationship

Written by Purushottam Anand on Digilah (Tech Thought Leadership)

Law is a tool of ‘social engineering’ which may be used to create, modify or mould social norms. Even the other way round is true as the society also induces introduction, amendment and repeal of laws to reflect the present state of the society. Technology in different forms has always been a part of our society and share a similar symbiotic relationship with Law. Sometimes Law requires innovation and change in the technology, while on other occasions, technology forces changes in law to appropriately regulate interaction of the society with a particular technology. It will be useful to consider one example from each of these categories to appreciate this symbiotic relationship between Law and Technology.

Illustration 1- Card Tokenization

RBI has introduced card tokenization which prohibits merchants from storing customer card details on their servers and mandates the adoption of card-on-file (CoF) tokenization as an alternative to card storage. Enforcing adoption of this new technology will safeguard customers from the security vulnerability of their card details getting stored and misused by the merchants. This will help the customer be safer while online shopping as the actual card details will not be shared with the merchant, instead, a token that is unique to each card, device and token requestor, would be used to verify the credentials. RBI’s push towards technology for implementation of regulations is a big step for a digital, advanced India. 

Illustration 2- Regulation of Cryptocurrencies

Technology advancements, if not backed by the law, remain dubious and reflect uncertainty amongst the masses. Blockchain technology has already revolutionized many sectors of our economy including finance, banking and logistics and supply-chain and has huge potential to change the way value is presently created and transferred through the Internet. Cryptocurrencies, which are based on Blockchain technology, have exponentially grown in popularity and adoption. Though cryptocurrencies are issued by decentralized communities and do not have backing from any government, common people, corporations and even the Governments of few countries seem convinced about the potential of this new technology. El Salvador has in fact declared Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency, to be the legal tender in the country.   

Increasing adoption of this technology by society has forced Governments across the globe to come up with regulations around cryptocurrencies. Most of the countries in the world have either passed regulations or are at some stage of formulating regulations around cryptocurrencies. 

Thus, Law and Technology regularly interact, complement, and influence the progress and development of each-other in a symbiotic manner.

We, at Crypto Legal, assist Blockchain and Cryptocurrency related projects in navigating through the uncertain and complex regulatory regime. Though there is no specific legislation regulating cryptocurrencies in India; however, a cryptocurrency project needs to ensure compliance with all other laws and regulations which may relate to corporate law, banking and payment laws, tax laws and other laws which may apply to the business model of the project. For instance, we assisted a metaverse gaming company is structuring its gaming token and preparing agreement for sale of tokens ensuring that the project complies with applicable laws and at the same time offers incentives to the players in form of tokens.

The symbiotic relationship between law and technology mandates that regulatory regime for any emerging technology like cryptocurrency must evolve gradually through an iterative process between the regulators and the society/community.   

Categories
Digi Tech

“Technology and Digital – A Double-Edged Sword”!!

Written by Christina Min Shyan Tan on Digilah (Tech Thought Leadership)

Just like any tools, they can be a double-edged sword.

During this Covid period, businesses are affected, ranging from sales, operations, finance to cybersecurity, as most businesses now have to rely more heavily on digital technology.

Christina Min Shyan Tan at her desk doing business

In my business of sales coaching, training and consultancy, Digital and Tech have the following :

The Pros, The Positiveness

Borderless outreach

Now I can work across borders seamlessly, reaching out to global participants and customers via virtual meetings and webinars, compared to my original plans of only focusing the local market for a start.

Through digital networking and connections, I have managed to reach out to more than 10,000 contact points across multiple countries and new industries within months, which would definitely be impossible with traditional approaches.

High productivity

With virtual meetings, travelling time is virtually eliminated. This allows back-to-back meetings for optimal time efficiency in a forever time-scarce fast paced business environment. I have managed to save a few hours of travelling time a day and double my meeting output weekly.

I am also able to attend live and recorded business webinars and e-networking sessions off business hours.

With productivity applications being easily accessible, my virtual work productivity has also increased with tech adoption from my customers’ end too.

Increased marketing avenues

My business has not been spared from the impact of the pandemic. I have been working on improving on my resourcefulness and creativity to use multiple lead generation streams.

I capitalise on eCommerce in my business operations and eMarketing in my business development. These include optimising LinkedIn and other platforms for business growth and collaboration, building strong branding and digital presence, turning eConnections to physical connections for business wins.

Sales cycles have also been largely shortened due to more effective communication, information sharing and social proofs in the digital space.

The Cons, The Challenges

Reduction in social interactions

Digital and tech allow multimedia communication via text, email, phone calls and virtual meetings. The constraints of regulations have also pushed us into increased virtual interactions inevitably, reducing (if not replacing) face-to-face socialising which is critical for business networking.

The human touch and connection have weakened with also increased skill sets required to harness strong customer engagements and relationships.

Fatigue on eyes, mind and body

While the digital and tech space drive higher productivity, it also results in screen fatigue.

In my case, I meet customers, hold webinars and conduct coaching and training sessions virtually. I hold 2-full-day intensive workshops consecutively. These inevitably strain my eyes and cause body aches with limited physical movement and prolonged sitting.

Having to focus on multiple participants and engaging them virtually needs extra effort, although if done well, will still not hamper business outcome.

Distractions

The avalanche of digital information across media and platforms can cause information overload. News, social media, professional articles, virtual events and webinars come streaming in and popping up on screen, thanks to the power of data analytics and artificial intelligence.

With the push of relevant information online, they can also be my source of distractions, enticing me to read them. If I am not disciplined and practise discernment and prioritisation, this may result in time-consuming distractions despite their relevance.

Nevertheless, overall “DIGITAL AND TECH JOURNEY” has enabled me to work better despite some downsides.

Ensure that Digital and Tech is our powerful servant instead of a bad master. Control them instead of letting them run our lives.

May we capitalise on Digital and Tech to grow both our people and business.

Categories
Insur Tech

Malaysia Insurtech Ecosystem

Written by Christopher Khoo Teng Soo on Digilah (Tech Thought Leadership)

With the growth of digitalization and enhance usage of fintech in our daily life, such instances also involved the introduction of digital insurance technology (insurtech). The insurance ecosystem in Malaysia has always been dominated and overshadowed by agency model and local agent-centric insurance landscape. As such, such consequence contributed to the lacked in innovation and modernisation but nevertheless, the insurance industry is shifting rapidly, with 2021 and 2022 witnessing some of the biggest shifts in recent years accelerated by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

As it is overshadowed by agency model and local agent-centric, sales and marketing are therefore overseen by each individual agency while underwriting and claims processing are managed by insurance company themselves where such practices are highly inefficient and bound to be replaced by A.I, big data, and machine learning technology. In time to come, insurance premiums could be appraised based on big data and predictive analytics while sales and marketing are bound to be replaced by interactive aggregators platforms. As the present Covid-19 impacts daily activities, physical distancing and other quarantine measures have altered activities previously considered critical to have in person to digital and remote channels which affect insurance distribution.

As the world circumnavigated the pandemic, particularly in health and safety, more people are questioning about life and health insurance protection while demanding better personalized digital solutions. The digitalisation trend that has been progressively expanding ground in the centuries-old insurance industry also triggered incumbent insurers to work more closely with insurance technology (insurtech) start-ups.

Malaysia insurtech ecosystem focuses on underwriting, predictive analytics, insurance carriers and peer-to-peer which provides great opportunity for start-up to venture into the ecosystem and the government had made efforts to push innovative bounds within the fintech industry with the introduction of various digital initiative.

Additional difficulty which arises include the slow and lagging rate of technology adoption and implementation in the insurance processing and management steps. The soaring cost associated with insurance policy concurrently contributed to the arising difficulties as Malaysia total population comprises majority bottom 40 (B40) group and middle 40 (M40).

Source: Life Insurance Association of Malaysia, 2022

Insurance company in Malaysia are expected take measures to deal with impacts of Covid-19 shifting employees to remote setup and developing online customer service channels. Currently, insurers are focused on the next set of challenges, including how to reconceptualize distribution in a more remote world while technology, in the form of automation and personalisation, subjugated the insurance landscape, encouraging insurtech players to further diversify their products and services, and compelling incumbent insurance companies to adapt to technological advancements.

These companies in Malaysia were persuaded and encourage to work with insurtech companies as there were clear prospects to drive collaborations as well as more revenue channels. This has inadvertently and unintentionally created up more opportunities for insurtech players to collaborate simultaneously to ­co-create and develop products.

Digitalisation and personalization the way forward

In the current digital age environment, insurance companies in Malaysia are seeing a consumer shift towards easy-to-use and convenient interactive digital platforms which is further accelerated by the pandemic that forces companies in adapting such measure. Concurrently, with the rise of personalization and customization, policy holders in Malaysia are expecting companies to offer various needs and demands.  

Digitalisation enables the removal of obstacles of time and space, spurred by the pandemic and doing so helps increases higher engagement. Which in turn increase convenient and efficient that makes the process seamless and secure. Instantaneously, introduction of new services such as telemedicine services, Pay-per-use, and bite-sized insurance (microinsurance)

Source: Digital News Asia, 2022

Due to lower cost in infrastructure and cloud implementation in Malaysia, connecting to the cloud-based external ecosystem becomes simpler guided by artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), highly customizable and personalized solution can be tailor suit to individual policy holder.

Moving forward, Malaysia’s insurtech ecosystem could be foster to greater heights based on the improvement of digital banking services for the underserved, better emphasis on financial inclusivity for the B40 community, more cloud-based solutions, improved collaboration between insurtech and incumbents and progress of digital insurance licenses

Categories
Smart Tech

Manual washing machines are back and stronger than ever

Written by Safaa Aouil Ghamzi on Digilah (Tech Thought Leadership)

Ever since humans started wearing clothes, women have been delegated to wash them. This unpaid labour trap has disproportionately affected women from the beginning of time. During the industrial revolution, a ground breaking invention changed the way humans washed their clothes forever. It was the electric washing machine. Whilst millions of people benefited from the time saved, a gap of inequality was forming in the Global South, where many people still handwash their clothes to this day. Lack of access to electricity, water, and cultural norms mean that 70% of the world’s population does not have access to an electric washing machine and is often not a sustainable option. 

Furthermore, 4.2 billion people do not have adequate sanitation and hygiene access globally. Unsafe and inadequate Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene practices are the main reason for disease in low-income countries. The top diseases spread by poor hygiene include body lice, diarrhoea, pinworm, and bacterial skin infections. 

When combining all these factors, handwashing can get incredibly burdensome. Women and children face many health risks associated with handwashing clothes, notably skin irritation and contracting infections and water-borne diseases from direct contact with contaminated water sources. They often lead to health implications further down the line.

The Washing Machine Project was created to combat the issues associated with handwashing clothes. Fast forward three years, we have carried out research in 16 countries and have piloted our novel manual washing machine in Iraq and Lebanon. 

Our ethnographic research with 3,000 families, including 900 in Uganda 800 in Jamaica, Nepal and the Philippines, prove that handwashing clothes are disproportionately placed on women and children as young as 6. For children, this burden is detrimental to their education and childhoods. It is a laborious task that inflicts chronic pain for those who spend up to 20 hours per week handwashing clothes. Handwashing clothes is time spent away from family, education, paid work and risking their health. Something had to be done.

We created Divya, an efficient manual washing machine that saves 50% of water and 70% of the time, resulting in 750 hours saved annually per household. 

It’s a front-loaded washing machine with a 5kg drum capacity that uses no electricity. Divya spins at 500 revolutions per minute and spin-dries clothes with 75% of the water coming out in the dry cycle. The device is made predominantly from off-the-shelf components that can easily be replaced or fixed in poor communities. With Divya, women can now spend their free time pursuing paid work and benefit from an education instead of spending hours handwashing clothes. 

For people who are burdened by handwashing clothes, a Divya washing machine is simply a miracle. Here are some testimonials below:

“I have three girls who stay two or three hours a day washing by hand. We suffer from pain in our hands, back and legs. It’s a fantastic invention.” – Kawsek, a refugee in Lebanon.

“After this washing machine came to us, things got easier for us. We don’t get exhausted anymore. We are very grateful. Thank you.” – Lamiya, a refugee in Iraq.

We have now received orders and interest from 25 countries for our Divya washing machines. Our vision is to create a world-leading organisation that brings together Innovation, Research and Development to solve the world’s most pressing humanitarian and development challenges. Whether it’s washing machines, air conditioning or refrigeration, we want to do it all. 

Donate here to create more Smart Technologies to change lives : https://www.gofundme.com/f/thewashingmachineproject

Categories
Security Tech

Access control in the new normal

Written by Manish Dalal on Digilah (Tech Thought Leadership)

Security risks have become a de facto part of everyday business life, but in the race to plug in gaps created by technology itself, physical security threats should not be ignored. Two years of working/studying/shopping from home have inured many of us to the risks stemming from the conventional physical security measures. But the threat still exists and now includes health risks too.

In the aftermath of pandemic, as organizations reopen their doors to staff and visitors, it’s important to remember that a significant number of people caught the virus from outside or from family members who went out—to work, play, shop, etc. This danger continues to lurk; and will even after the virus becomes endemic (hopefully soon). This means that measures that require contact—fingerprint readers, card readers, keypad readers for instance—are vulnerable, at best.

But beyond worries about contracting the virus through surface contact, there is a pressing need for a more seamless process to vet and permit entry into the workplace. Ideally such solutions should be:

  • Contactless
  • Optimized
  • Seamless
  • Allow screening of visitors for identification as well as concealed contraband items

Solutions that integrate all of the above will offer benefits through higher levels of security, manpower cost savings, time savings and analytics that can provide actionable business intelligence.

It goes without saying that the data obtained in the course of tech-driven access management should be thoroughly protected by multi-layered security. This is not just to placate the woke crowd but to instill confidence in the business itself.

Biometrics has a major role to play in enabling these solutions. At ZKTeco we recognize this and our Safe2Greet solution is an effort to meet all the expectations of the customers highlighted above.

It incorporates a number of our patent pending technologies to create a complete entrance/access control solution that starts by having visitors pre-register their information via a digital invitation sent to their mobile phones and check them in using various hardware options like a self check-in kiosk or a facial recognition reader. On submitting this information, a QR code is generated and sent to the visitor. On scanning this QR code at the entrance kiosk, factors such as body temperature, mask compliance will be verified.

Once this is done successfully the visitor can proceed to the turnstile, where same the QR code can grant access as well. Cronus, turnstile with built-in metal detector also screens for concealed metal objects—an unobtrusive way to avoid violence, as well as deter pilferage—at exit points. The data collected in the process is secured through high-level security that includes encryption and multi-step access verification.

Safe2Greet avoids physical contact, reduces manpower dependence, and raises the levels of health and safety. Biometric driven solutions like Safe2Greet are not the future, they are available now and they’re here to stay.

Categories
Digi Tech

6Cs to Success on Instagram: Are you game?

Written by Anjuli Gopalakrishna on Digilah (Tech Thought Leadership)

Instagram started as a photo sharing app in 2010 and has made its way in the past 12 years into an app that offers multiple content formats: Instagram Stories, Lives, long form videos, Reels, Interaction features and much more. The people who use Instagram daily have grown to around 2 billion in numbers. And 500+ million people use Instagram Stories daily. More than 200+ million businesses are on Instagram. A diversified user base makes it an ideal platform for your brand or business to reach out to your target audience and influence them.

So how exactly can you build your tribe on Instagram and get them to know, like and trust you and eventually to buy from you?

I poured over many successful Instagram accounts, went through 100s of YouTube videos from the internet gurus, tried all the black hat hacks touted out there on the Instagram to grow your following. I studied the exact system the ace Instagrammers followed to try and understand what really works on this platform.

After months of deep dive, I cracked the code and came up with my own 6 C framework to success on this amazing platform. This is a step-by-step framework that will enable you to attract your dream audience, grow your genuine following and influence on Instagram and convert them into paying customers without the overwhelm and anxiety or the need to be glued to mobile phone 24/7. Read on if you want o learn more.

The first C: Clarity

This is the fundamental step. You need to know you ‘why’ to be on Instagram before ‘what’ and ‘how’ to be successful. Why do you need to be on Instagram? Who do you want to serve? What problem can you solve for them? What reasons can you give them to follow you? What’s your niche? Who is your ideal customer avatar?  What keeps them up at night? These deep and fundamental questions are essential to answer to build the strategic foundation for your Instagram success.

From optimizing your Instagram bio / profile to planning your feed content and story highlights, this clarity will pave the way for building blocks of your content messaging and formats.

The 2nd C: Content

Out of the clarity of purpose flows the best content that resonates with your target audience.  There are possibly only three reasons that people consume content on any platform. It educates, it entertains, or it inspires.  Your job is to figure out what might be of use to your target audience. Remember everybody wants to listen to the ‘WIIFM” radio (What’s in it for me). Place your focus on what they need and serve them with that content that fulfills that need. And given the digital world we live in today, it is easy to figure out what your target audience needs, if you care to listen. A simple Google Suggest can be used to glean into the minds of your people. Keyword planner tool, Answer the Public or many such tools are available for you to do your content research and create your content plan.

The 3rd C: Consistency

To build the ‘KLT” factor or the ‘know, like and trust’ factor with your tribe, you need to show up for them consistently. There is no other way to build a community around your brand or business. Mere exposure effect will ensure that you stay top of the mind of your tribe. I see many businesses lose heart when they don’t see instant results from their content lose their motivation to post and share useful content consistently. The steam dies off. But here’s the point you are missing. It is those who may not have interacted with your content, but the silent lurkers who simply watch and consume your content without giving out any signals that end up becoming your customers when their time of need arrives. So don’t be disheartened and be guided by vanity metrics of ‘likes’ and ‘follows’, instead focus on consistently providing value to your tribe and sure enough they will convert.

A strategy of content pillars and category-based system works best to make the job of consistent content pipeline flowing. Think of 10-12 categories that you can place your content in, catering to different needs at different stages of your target audience in their buying journey. There are many content-scheduling tools available out there that can help you to stay consistent with your content. My favorite is Social Bee.io which enables you to manage and automate your content posting for all your profiles in one place and is super value for money for the paid version.

The 4th C: Community

When you start showing up consistently with value adding content, you are bound to start attracting your tribe to your Instagram profile and slowly building a community.  One thing to remember when building your community is that social media platforms are meant for being ‘social’. It is not a place where you just sell or talk about yourself all the time. That would be such a big put off. Instead engage with others, leave genuine comments on other’s content, join the conversations, leave meaningful value adding bits to the conversations and the community will reward you with engagement. Instagram has so many features for you to build a high engagement with your tribe through stickers like polls, ask me a question, emoji slider bars in the Stories. Make use of them all to truly engage and learn from your tribe.

The 5th C: Connection

Once you have active engaged community on your Instagram profile, it is time for you to build deeper connections with your people. Take the effort to connect with them through conversations in the DMs. Instagram Stories allows you to directly start conversations with your story engagers in the DMs. Again, remember to keep the conversation flow natural. Be interested in them and try to understand their needs first before rushing to pitch your product or service or making a sales offer. Just talk to them. Warm them up, nurture them by offering a freebie or something of value so that you can take the conversation to the next level through other channels such as email or even DMs.

It is a slow process. Like dating. You don’t ask the person to marry you on the first date. It takes time and effort to get to know each other, build trust, before you can go for the big ask, the proposal to marry. Take it slow and easy and keep the conversation flow natural.

There are many innovative features available in Instagram DMs to take advantage of. Voice notes, video messages, video calls, saved replies, gifs and even automation for you to engage with your tribe in Instagram DMs. Sky is the limit if you can make use of all the features with your imagination and creativity.

The 6th C: Conversion

Converting your prospects into paying customers is the final and the most rewarding steps in the framework literally speaking. Afterall, you want all your efforts to finally end up making some money for you. This is the step you need to be well prepared for with a well set up sales conversion funnel that makes it easy and friction free for your warm leads to convert and make the purchase. Your landing pages for your products and services must be able to act as your salesperson to answer all their questions or objections. Be ready with your offers and bonuses to get them to open their wallets and credit cards for you.

Now there you have it! The 6 Cs to Success Step by Step framework for you to follow on Instagram. I would like to invite you to join my free online course Instagram Influence Foundations at this link. Once you are happy with my style of teaching and are ready to take your Instagram strategy to the next level, you can take a deep dive with the deep dive online course Instagram Influence Mastery 2022 and beyond with 60+ video lessons. You can take this course anytime anywhere at your own pace. Once you buy it, you get a lifetime access, and all the updated content comes to you for free.

That’s true, we need to keep adding content as the Instagram platform keeps changing and evolving.