Traditional Marketing has seen a sea change in recent times, where with most organizations taking a quantum leap in digital marketing of their products and services. The writing on the wall is clear – ‘Ignore digital marketing at your own peril’. And with this, Facebook ‘Likes’, Twitter ‘Followers’, LinkedIn ‘Discussion Threads’, Blog ‘Hits’ have suddenly become serious business for brands frantically trying to keep pace with today’s digitally ‘alive and kicking’ world!!!
In 2009, when social networks were mostly being used by students and young professionals in India, Payal Sakhuja and Deepak Sakhuja were smart to identify and predict that social-media marketing and lead generation would soon become a driving force in organizations’ marketing strategies in the country. Not wanting to miss the bus, Payal quit her regular job and started Ripple Links, a dynamic full-service demand generation and social-media management company.
Deepak joined her full-time in 2011. True to their estimations, organizations across industries and product offerings are today exploring the online world and targeting netizens for their revenue growth.
Both Payal and Deepak hold MBA in Sales & Marketing. In an exclusive tête-à-tête, they get candid about their motivation, challenges and passion that drives them and Ripple Links.
What was your motivation for starting Ripple Links?
Belonging to a business background, we had always wanted to start something on our own and had a huge urge to do things differently. This was what pushed us towards starting our own social-media management and lead generation company. Additionally, we wanted to bridge the gap between inbound and outbound marketing and be a one-stop boutique provider of social-media and lead generation solutions.
What are your service offerings?
We are into demand generation space, providing social-media marketing and traditional B2B lead generation services. Our unique bouquet of services helps companies devise an eco-system to identify targeted stakeholders, enable swift engagement, minimize turnaround times, thereby strengthening their sales and marketing engine.
What have been your greatest challenges so far?
Our biggest challenge is the industry itself. Social-media is a very dynamic platform where you find new channels being introduced all the time. It keeps us constantly on our toes and we need to update ourselves regularly. Also, we have a diverse clientele who have a different set of requirements – this means that we have to constantly tailor-make the strategies for their products and their numerous campaigns.
How do you perceive the current social-media and lead generation environment in India?
Currently in India, we are witnessing the social-media mode of marketing and lead generation, is just at the tip of the iceberg. While the West and European countries are matured markets in this aspect, the Indian scene is still evolving and is yet to gain a matured outlook. Companies are still exploring various possibilities.
While brands are unanimous in their desire to be visible on social media platforms, they are often at a loss as to how to do it. The Indian market-place still lacks professional-level consultation to define the objectives and return expected from a social-media foray. Also, businesses need to understand that the number of Fans, Likes, etc are not enough and will never be able to give you the right ROI on your money and effort.
How has technology helped in your regular operations?
Being dependent on the best monitoring tools has always given us an extra-edge in our delivery model.
What has been your mantra for customer satisfaction? What has been your strategy to increase the customer base?
• Personal attention: Our clients are ‘priority number One’ – we man their social properties throughout the day and are also available for them 24/7.
• Innovation: We constantly try to come up with new strategies and work as an extended arm of clients’ marketing and sales teams. Our rich experience in lead generation business has given us the Best Hunter Sales team tag.
• Deliver more: Delivering more than expected is our driving force. Our consulting approaches to all social media and lead generation campaigns have helped us earn the trust of our clients.
• Dependability: Our impeccable and seamless services make them dependant on us so that they come back to us for all their requirements. We believe that satisfied customers get you more customers and this has been the case with us so far. We have been very lucky to get more than 75% of our clients through our present clients who have referred us to them.
What has been your learning from your business operations? What would be your advice to those who want to start their own business?
Starting your own business teaches you a lot of things:
• The foremost being that you need to don all roles – that of an accountant, PR, HR and Sales representative.
• Sometimes we do think whether quitting our jobs and starting our own venture was a wise decision. In a job, once you leave the office premises or shut down your PC, your work is done and no questions asked. But handling your own business is a different ballgame altogether. You are responsible to your clients even when you are not online.
• As a start-up one thing that definitely keeps you going successfully is the right set of passionate people (THE TEAM) to run the show with you. We always laugh saying, “Why didn’t we start this a few years back!”, but it’s never too late. So don’t push back the idea of starting your own business and have a strong self-belief. The level of satisfaction of doing things differently on your own terms will get the BEST out of you only when you start your own business. Get more out of this motivated team by visiting them at www.ripplelinks.com