Marketing City

Garima Sinha
Garima Sinha
Head -
Marketing,Ramco
Systems
Company description & strategies in place

Ramco Systems, a part of the USD 952 Million Ramco Group, is a leading software company focused on consulting, products, and managed services business. Started as an R & D division of Ramco Industries Limited in 1992, Ramco Systems was later established as an independent company in 1999. Headquartered in Chennai, the company has 15 offices spread across India, APAC, US, Canada, Europe, Middle East and Africa. The company focuses on providing innovative business solutions that can be delivered quickly and cost-effectively in complex environments. Ramco has over 140,000 users from 950+ customer organizations, globally since its inception. The company provides solutions to multiple verticals including banking, insurance, manufacturing, supply chain, aviation, transportation and logistics, healthcare, governance and more. Our global marketing team, operating out of the corporate HQ located in Chennai, India, drives the 360˚ marketing strategy globally encompassing market research, marketing planning, marketing communication, PR, Analysts relationship management, ATL marketing, Digital marketing, Social media marketing, Thought leadership marketing and Customer relationship management.

Differentiate Strategies in place with your Competitors

Uniqueness & Simplicity have been the key differentiators giving us an edge in the marketplace. We follow a 360˚ marketing strategy spanning across various marketing channels with an "outside-in" approach- there has been a radical shift in our marketing communication from focus on the features of our products / solutions to focus on what challenges of our target audience can be addressed by our products / solutions. Our brand has always focused on value delivery- understanding the challenges from customer's point of view and communicating value to customers on using our solutions. We have built our brand by educating how organizations can benefit by adopting innovative solutions for their complex business environments. This strategy of not directly selling our product has worked well to our advantage in terms of increased brand awareness & recall and better connect with our target audience.

Unique strategies that gone unseen or a superhit

Ramco is an early mover and launched its ERP on the Cloud ahead of the pack. To market our public cloud offering Ramco OnDemand ERP (RODE), we could have taken the most commonly used approach of direct communication using customer testimonials / technical description of the features and benefits. But, we took the road less travelled approach (which has been our DNA right from starting the first ERP Product company from India) of using abstract communication- depicting the power of the cloud through animals (e.g. Cheetah to symbolize "The Planet's Most Powerful ERP on the Cloud"). Typically, technology companies don't follow this high risk - high gain approach mainly due to uncertainty whether people will be able to understand and appreciate the marketing advertisements which entails huge media investments. This unique and innovative strategy of marketing RODE was a great success and paid rich dividends by creating an everlasting impact on our target audience, of our brand, our product and our communication method itself so that mind recall is much higher.

Market share Captured

In a survey conducted by GfK Mode, a leading market research company, Ramco ranked the top of mind recall among the Indian ERP Players. Further, our public cloud ERP offering Ramco OnDemand ERP (RODE) had the top of mind recall among the cloud players. This was the result of intense and focused marketing efforts over the last 2 years.

Positioning products in market

Though the product positioning depends on the industry, geography & the competitive landscape, our positioning has always focused on end-benefits / value to our customers rather than positioning based on the superior technology / product. Marketing communication through various collaterals such as website, presentation, brochure, etc starts with the customer's challenges moving onto how we can solve their business problems and deliver value.An example of how we have positioned our product in the market: Ramco's Automated Data Flow (ADF) solution is positioned on how our solution can help banks in India comply with RBI regulations by automating the whole process with minimal intervention from their part. It could have been positioned as the best-of-breed product using superior technology but we chose to highlight what
problems / challenges can be solved by us enabling them to focus on their core business operations.

Brand Identity creation

Contemporary and resonating visual elements such as the logo, colors, design, etc have played its part in creating a unique brand identity but the marketing message has been the crux. Brand Ramco has carved a niche for itself with the target audience being able to associate and identify the brand from the message. This is the result of emotionally connecting with them by looking from their perspective while following brand guidelines from a visual perspective. RODE has become synonymous with Cloud ERP in the Indian market mainly because of the message how organizations can leverage the power of the cloud and reap huge benefits of a full-fledged ERP on the cloud by moving from CAPEX model to OPEX model.

Way to reach customers through sales force

Our marketing is driven towards brand building and demand generation. Focused marketing efforts over the past few years have established Ramco as a well known brand and increased brand recall. This has also resulted in bringing more opportunities and a significant surge in conversion from opportunities to sales for the sales force. In short, the last mile conversion for the sales force has become easier now owing to marketing.

Today's Marketing Trend

Marketing Communication: The status quo of marketing creatives earlier focused on technology being content heavy. Now, the trend is moving from communicating complexity through technical details to simple, pictorial and easy-to-understand communication. Lesser and simpler the words, the better it is.

Customer Connect: With cut-throat competition vying to take a larger share of the pie, emphasis now is on emotional and personalized connect with customers. This has become a norm with every seller trying to get the attention of the buyer amid the lot of noise that is being generated through a plethora of marketing channels.

Customer Engagement: Customer retention & references are playing a crucial role to an organization's growth by increasing the existing revenue pie as well as growing the overall pie through new order wins. This in turn is changing the rules of the game from buyer-vendor relationship to working together as a partner- we need to be in constant touch very much after the implementation and go live phase through a two-way communication channels such as surveys, newsletters, periodical product updates, whitepapers, etc.

Biggest pain point

It has been quite difficult to make people understand what marketing can do for the organization - the value we can bring by looking at it as a strategic investment rather than a tactical, one-time discretionary expense. It is a myth that a B2B organization is all about selling. But, the reality is that marketing plays a much more important and challenging role in B2B organizations in terms of building the brand, creating an ecosystem for the sales force and ensuring the whole organization speaks one language. We have transformed from just creating & executing marketing communication to a full-fledged function with a 360˚ marketing approach.

Matrix to Long sale cycle and multiple Buyers at same time

We have strived to be in constant touch with our prospects / customers and are measuring the engagement on an ongoing through a customer survey. This feedback is not just limited to the sales cycle but measures metrics in the following phases - implementation and support. The survey questionnaire is quite detailed covering the following:
  • What are the management objectives / challenges before ERP / Analytics implementation?
  • What were the key reasons for choosing Ramco?
  • What are the key business benefits on using Ramco's product / solution?
  • What new features they would like to see in the next version of the product / solution?
  • Overall, what has been the experience of associating with Ramco?

In a recent study conducted among our customers to study the benefits of using our cloud ERP, we are delighted with the following key findings:
Over 40% of our customers witnessed a growth of at least 30% in their top-line and bottom-line
Over 55% of our customers were able to reduce operational costs by at least 30%
58% improvement in order fulfilment time
63% improvement in time for monthly financial closure
57% improvement in inventory reconciliation time

Accurate model of customer's buying process

Our experience with customers worldwide over the past 20 years has helped us with a good understanding of our customer's buying process. The process lead time is variable depending on the geography, product company size but the typical sales cycle for a private cloud offering is around 9-12 months whereas for a public cloud offering is around 3-6 months.

Relationship of Marketers with the CEO's

Marketers are the right hand for the CEO - starting from understanding what the customers want through market research, marketing planning & execution to reach out to the customers, building brand equity among the target community (prospects, customers, analysts, media, investors and employees), enabling everyone in the company to speak the same language to the external world through corporate communications, and customer engagement throughout the life cycle. Marketing plays a cross-functional role cutting across teams (Sales, Product Development, R&D, HR and Finance) and helping them achieve their respective objectives of reaching out to their internal / external customers. Thus, being the Go-to-Team for the CEO in achieving his objectives i.e. the organization's goals and plans.

From a customer point of view Purchasing of a product Is

In a recent survey conducted among our customers, the top reasons for partnering with Ramco for their business are:
  • Product Functionality- Comprehensive, end-to-end
  • Domain Expertise
  • Flexibility - Tools & utilities for end user's direct use
  • Compliance with local statutory requirements
  • Reliability in terms of support & training
  • Faster Services - Quick response to change requirements
  • Value for money

Opinion on Mobile Marketing

Definitely, mobile marketing has added a new dimension to a marketers toolkit of connecting with the target community. One side it has increased reach and visibility while enabling personalized communication on the other side. But, then reaching the right person through the right target database has been a challenge.

Some of the Marketing Appeals & Tactic

A key learning out of understanding our customer's buying process is timing our promotions with the market dynamics. For example, we run more tactical promotional offers during the last quarter of the year when our prospects usually decide on new IT initiatives and plan the next year's budget accordingly. This tactic of timing our promotions has greatly appealed the prospects and the hit ratio is much higher.

Past, present and future of Marketing for marketing experts

Customer has been the main focus irrespective of the time frame but with the proliferation of new marketing channels and intense competition in the market, we expect the following action in the present and future of marketing:
  • Simplicity in marketing communication
  • Glocal approach to customer engagement
  • Green marketing- shift towards online & mobile medium

Opportunities for Business in 2012- the ways to take advantage of them

With organizations looking for innovative and emergent technologies like cloud computing, we are already witnessing a strong traction for our cloud offerings. Our enterprise products and solutions available on the cloud is enabling businesses increase efficiency and reduce costs at the same time. This will hugely benefit our customers through our elastic commercial and delivery models as opposed to conventional high investment / time dependent models. We are poised to take advantage of huge market potential owing to this "win-win" business model that suits companies either large or small across verticals.

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