Leena Iyar is the Chief Brand Officer at Moxtra. She is responsible for all aspects of Moxtra’s marketing efforts, including strategy, brand awareness, growth marketing, public relations and customer communications.
- Could you share with us a little bit about your journey, how it is that you got into marketing and brand awareness, that kind of stuff?
- Could you share with us a little bit about how it is that especially in this time that we’re operating in, we’re impacted by the pandemic globally and people have to literally reinvent themselves. What have you noticed? Have you noticed any different trends in that whole space in terms of people just keeping their brand consistent on top of mind with the customer, and, of course, ensuring that even if even the customer is not shopping with them as they used to, how is it that you’re staying relevant to those customers?
- Could you share with us a little bit about what Moxtra does? I know it’s a one stop portal that allows customers to basically have everything housed digitally in one place. But let’s say, for example, you’re a bank and you operate on many different platforms. Could you just give us real time what that means for the bank and how does that translate to the customer’s experience?
- What are your thoughts on designing the experience that it’s, if not better than the face to face experience digitally?
- How do you stay motivated every day?
- Could you share with us maybe one online resource, website, app or tool that you absolutely can’t live without in your business?
- Can you share with us maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you? It could be a book that you read a very long time ago that still has an impact on you to this day, or maybe a book that you read recently.
- Could you share with us maybe one or two things that is going on in your life right now – either something that you’re working on to develop yourself or your people?
- Where listeners can find you online?
- Could you share maybe one or if you have more than one, a quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you’ll tend to revert to this quote or saying because it kind of helps to help you to overcome that obstacle or that adversity.
Leena shared that she got into marketing actually when she was in college. So, she started by working on a mock up of a product that then sort of evolved as part of working with the Moxtra team into what Moxtra is today. And so, she has been involved with the team since then, and she sort of started as someone who had their hands a little bit in everything.
So, the marketing, the website, the design, the fonts and the role just evolved since then. And she thinks that the nice thing about being in marketing is that there’s a new creative challenge every day. You’re thinking about things from a design perspective, thinking about things from an audience perspective and most importantly, from an experience perspective. And so, sort of blends all of these together into sort of a comprehensive experience.
Keeping Your Brand Consistent – Top of Mind and Staying Relevant to Customers
Leena shared that we’re seeing this a lot with our customers and just with businesses that we speak to that as you said. In today’s world, it’s no longer a nice to have to be able to engage your customers on digital channels, it’s now an imperative. And she thinks for so many businesses, there is this push to adjust, adapt and reinvent and reimagine the way that they’re engaging with their customers on digital channels.
And she thinks the biggest thing in that regard is this whole idea of, whatever it might be to provide a convenient experience for your customers to do business with you on digital.
And so, that’s the case whether you’re a law firm, that’s the case whether you’re a couture designer, that’s a case whether you’re a real estate agent. And really, the whole concept is about keeping your customers engaged under your brand. A lot of what they do at Moxtra is that, they power people’s one stop customer portal, which is basically, a digital branch for their business under their brand, which helps them engage their customers and as well as manage their organizations to deliver that service experience.
Me: Marketers sometimes can come over to be a little pushy. What do you think is the approach they should be taking now seeing that, as I said, a lot of people are in hibernation to kind of watching how to spend, maybe what they would have budgeted to spend on different initiatives for 2020 has probably been scaled down depending on the mindset of that organization, because some companies are spending. But then there are a lot who are literally watching what’s happening and just being very cautious in terms of their spend and activities that they would take. So, from that perspective, what stance do they need to have as it relates to being pushy or just kind of going with what the customer is asking for you even if they’re not asking for anything?
Leena shared she would say that in their case, and obviously, theirs may be a unique experience and sort of a different microcosm, but she thinks the thing is that what they do is they enable people to have a digital branch in their pocket at the cost of one brick and mortar branch, they could possibly be in a thousand or ten thousand customer pockets. And the reach, the distribution, the scale of that is really huge and from a marketing perspective, it’s all about enticing as opposed to chasing.
So, she thinks that if you have something that genuinely provides value, that makes sense, that will emerge. And it’s really just about building the awareness and when is the right timing, is the right customer, things will fit. And that’s what we’re seeing. From a marketing perspective, we don’t really end up having to do too much as opposed to just building the awareness that there is something like this out there. For businesses, the really emotional thing for them is that for a lot of businesses that might not be able to survive or might have been going under are able to revitalize and become a digitally resilient organization through this. And so that’s been really huge.
Actually, one example of that that was really interesting that they heard the other day was they are a collectibles manufacturing company in England and what they do is, 70% of their business was through resellers and 30% of their business was through direct, pre COVID. And, she thinks overnight they lost about 70 to 80% of their reseller business because so many of it was through smaller retailers, things like that. And people were sending back stock or not purchasing stock for the rest of the year. And so they had to think really quickly on their feet and reinvent themselves. And they happened to come across Moxtra.
“They were able to enable a digital branch for their organization. And now they’ve grown their direct business by 80% and their retailer business has mostly recovered, they’ve stopped working with the smaller retailers and primarily focused on larger retailers. And so, they’ve gained back like 90% of their overall drop in the span of 6 months and are now looking to expand to Japan, Italy, amongst other countries.”Leena Iyar
And so, it’s just pretty astronomical and she thinks that when you consider the effects of that, that ties to her point that it has to be compelling on its own and when it is, customers will come.
What Does Moxtra Do?
Leena shared that Moxtra actually has a customer collaboration platform. And so, their customer collaboration platform powers these branded one stop customer portal experiences. So let’s say a bank, what does that mean?
It basically means that Moxtra enables the bank to power its own digital branch. So, Van Lanschot Bankin the Netherlands is their customer, they have a whole host of private wealth clients. And what they did is they power the Van Lanschot mobile app and web app that now enables Van Lanschot customers to be able to connect to their Personal Relationship Wealth Manager to receive portfolio advice, updates, everything through the Van Lanschot experience. And it’s under their brand, it’s their digital branch, and they’re able to provide this continuous collaboration experience through that.
And a little bit about Moxtra, Moxtra was founded by Subrah the co-founder and CEO of WebEx, and Stanley Huang, a senior director of engineering at WebEx Communications. And so combined, they have so many years of experience in the collaboration space and as a result, a big part of the digital branch experience is this whole collaboration experience powering the sort of customer engagement portion of the one stop portal.
Me: So basically, instead of going into a physical branch to meet with your wealth advisor or let’s say for example, a customer service person, maybe there’s something you’re trying to sort out on your account, Moxtra’s platform allows you to do that in a digital space with that same individual. Is that what I’m getting from what you’re saying?
Leena stated yes, absolutely.
Me: So that’s a new way of doing business, isn’t it? Is that widespread? Because I’ve never heard of that approach being taken. And how is it being adopted in other parts of the world other than Europe in the Netherlands, for example, are you seeing it predominantly in the U.S., in the Caribbean, in South America? Or people are not logging on to it as readily because it seems pretty simple and easy.
Leena shared that about two or three years ago, they started to see a lot of traction in Asia Pacific and Latin America because these are very mobile heavy countries. And she thinks that they have a tendency as a result to be a little faster moving when it comes to new technology. But over the last year or so, she would say, and especially true with COVID, they’re seeing this across the board. So, United States, Europe, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, Asia PAC, basically all countries.
And the idea is it’s really because that in today’s world, businesses need a digital branch where they’re able to deliver service to customers. You can’t meet in person, a lot of the times customers aren’t even in the same place as your business anymore; you’re not even necessarily able to staff the brick and mortar branch. So, having a digital branch is no longer nice to have, it is what’s enabling you to keep your business going.
Leena’s Thoughts on Designing the Experience Face to Face and Digitally
Me: Now, in terms of designing the customer experience, it’s a little bit different when it’s digital versus when it’s face to face. But then you want to ensure that a customer has, if not a similar experience, an even better experience digitally. So some of the challenges that people have for example, when they deal with face to face interactions, at least generally speaking, is wait time, poor communication in terms of people are not following up and letting you know what’s happening every step of the way.
I interviewed a guest recently and he said if everybody could just give the domino effect, which and I said, what’s that? And he’s like, when you order a pizza from Dominoes in their app, you literally are able to see what happens with that pizza every step of the way. So, imagine if they were to take that same principle and apply it in every business, whether you’re applying for a mortgage or you’re buying a car, you are able to literally see where your journey is going every step of the way, all through technology without you actually having to interface with someone.
So, what are your thoughts on designing the experience that it’s, if not better than the face to face experience digitally?
Leena agreed and shared that Yanique raised a lot of great points. And she would also say that the first point comes down to time. When you’re face to face, you have to synchronize both time and place. And she thinks with the rise of virtual meetings, you’re able to synchronize just time but not place. And it’s going to get to a point, especially for the convenience of the customer, where the customer has to synchronize neither time nor place with the business, which is the effect of the Dominoes app.
She could be sitting in her house and place an order on her phone and the pizza will be there and she can track every step of the way. But she doesn’t have to get on the phone and call Dominoes and talk to them about what she wants. The app and the experience is presented in such a way that she’s able to get her business done in a one stop experience. And they talk about this a lot, actually, at Moxtra from the perspective of customer convenience and customer experience.
And it’s an interesting point because it actually goes back to; let’s take the paradigm of the desktop, the desktop computer. If you look at the kind of programs that did well on the desktop, they were mostly productivity solutions in many ways. And that’s because the desktop is an information presentation tool, it’s an information presentation machine, you can toggle between multiple windows at the same time, you can multitask very easily.
And it sort of supports that. Whereas if you go to your mobile phone, it’s primarily a communication device. You can’t toggle between different windows that easily, when you’re in the app, you’re in the app and when you shut it, you move to another window. And she thinks as a result of that, if you look at the kind of experiences that have done well on mobile, it’s businesses like Tesla, it’s businesses like Uber, it’s businesses like Insta Car, like Dominoes that provide this one stop service experience being that it’s one stop to get whatever you need to get done with that business done and as a result, it’s super convenient for customers.
And so, their logic was well wait, all these consumer services are offering this one stop, on demand service experience. Why shouldn’t B2B companies? Why shouldn’t you expect the same thing from your law firm or your mortgage broker? And she thinks that to Yanique’s point, it’s going to become very necessary because people expect that, they expect it from their consumer services and they’re going to come to expect it from their business services.
So, she thinks that from a company perspective, focusing on the customer experience, companies have a tendency to focus on themselves and what makes them look good and how their business is going to be. But she thinks that from an experience perspective, you always have to put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Who are they? What are they concerned about? And what’s going to make it easiest for them to want to do business with your organization versus another organization?
And if you see from that perspective, if you work externally, thinking about what they’re going to want to see and what’s going to make it easy, then you have to look at things that have done well on a mobile form factor and then try to make a consistent experience across touch points, make seamless.
So, whether someone picks up their mobile phone or logs into through a website that you’re offering as a business, a very consistent branded experience so it’s seamless for them and they don’t have to think about it.
Me: Agreed. It’s funny you mentioned whichever platform they’re interfacing with you, because I recently started doing webinars as one of the offerings for my business and the webinar platform that I chose, the primary reason why I chose them was not because of the features that they have, because Zoom had more options. But I chose Demio because I could literally reach out to them on Facebook Messenger, Instagram DM or even through their website, through their chatbot that they had on their website.
And literally, whatever conversation I was having in each of those different platforms, for some reason, their experience was an Omni experience, not a multi experience. And so it was a continuation of the conversation off of that other platform, which made it so much easier for me, because let’s say I wanted to reference something that I had asked them about a week ago. I didn’t have to go back to Instagram DM to go, “Oh, that’s what they sent there.” Because regardless of the platform I’m on, everything is synched into one single window. And I thought I was brilliant.
Leena agreed and stated that it provides a persistent experience for you as well. There’s no burden on you as a customer to now try to recall what somebody said or what might have happened. And from a business perspective, they know all about you, they know exactly what you’ve asked for, the history remains with them versus with whichever rep talked to you last.
How Leena Stays Motivated
When asked how she stays motivated, Leena shared that the biggest thing for her is that she’s excited by what she does. And she thinks that drives me right, because there’s a huge market opportunity and an opportunity to sort of redefine the way businesses engage with their customers. And also, help so many businesses that might not be able to stay afloat in today’s world, reimagine and recreate a new way of doing business.
And so, she thinks that’s what keeps her really motivated. The idea that we can change really the way that people are doing things and help so many businesses that might not survive in a traditional approach.
App, Website or Tool that Leena Absolutely Can’t Live Without in Her Business
When asked about on online resource that she cannot live without in her business, Leena shared that that’s an interesting one. She would say that she loves the graphic design hubs, actually. If you’ve used something called themeforest. It’s actually really amazing because there are things like templates for different audio tracks or graphic design files or after effects templates.
And so, they use visual mediums to communicate their points a lot because their product is highly experiential. So it is something that you need to sort of see and touch.
And so, they use a lot of like short form videos, animation gifs to communicate what they try to do. And she thinks that visual supplementation helps a lot with that. So, they end up using a lot of graphic and audio assets quite a bit.
Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Leena
When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Leena shared that it’s an interesting one and it does tie into a lot of what their brand philosophy is at Moxtra and how they do things. So, the book is actually called Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller. It’s a fantastic book. And she thinks the reason why is because it’s so simple. So many times with marketing and just with overall brand positioning, companies have a tendency to make themselves the hero in the story.
The biggest lesson in that book is that it’s not about you; you’re the guide and your customers, the hero, your customers, the character. And to broaden that point, the idea being that, “Hey, they’re on their journey.” And as a marketeer and as someone thinking about your customer experience, the most important thing you can do is tune into their journey, what are they looking for and how are they going about their journey? And then how can you better help them.
What Leena is Really Excited About Now!
Leena stated that she would say one of the things that’s going on in her life right now, and she thinks that as so many people are, is this transition to working from home and remote work from different locations. And she thinks in many ways there are advantages to it and their disadvantages as well.
Some of the advantages are people thought that everyone needed to commute to work at the same time to get things done, turns out that they don’t. People can work from home and be productive; it’s more sustainable as well, which is amazing. But she thinks on the other side, there’s a shift in work patterns. So, figuring out a new routine and how best to sort of keep yourself energized and motivated and on top of the ball as well.
Where Can We Find Leena Online
Leena shared listeners can find her at –
Website – Moxtra
Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Leena Uses
When asked about a quote or saying that she tends to revert to, Leena shared that that’s an interesting one. So, she would say it’s sort of a strange pick, but she doesn’t know if you’ve ever watched that show Cosmos but the original one with Carl Sagan.
But they actually show an image of Earth from very far away and it’s just a pale blue dot on the screen of black. And he says, “Look at that dot. That’s home, that’s where everyone who you’ve ever heard about, every human being who ever lived, any story that you’ve ever heard, any idea that you’ve ever had has come out of that pale blue dot.” And she thinks that it always puts things in perspective for her. How many years the earth has been here and how short amount of time we have. And how our lives can have such a large impact over generations. And it always just frames things for her and puts things in perspective about life.
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