Digital Transformation Shaping the New Normal

Stacey  0:00  
Hi everyone, welcome to SparkAmplify's limited podcast series, Spark Your Vision. I'm Stacey.

Alice  0:05  
I'm Alice.

Stacey  0:07  
And we will be inviting an expert from each field to share with us the latest trend analysis. So if you're off to the latest key insights, you're at the right channels. And as for today's our first episode, we have Chien Lee, the CEO and founder of SparkAmplify to share with us his insights of the marketing and his experiences of running a startup. Let's welcome Chien.

Chien  0:27  
Hello, everyone, my name is Chien from SparkAmplify.

Stacey  0:31  
Chien, I notice on your LinkedIn profile that you have over 15 years of corporate experiences, so how can you decided to run your own business like in rather than climbing the corporate ladder? Well, as you know, I spent a lot of time in the Bay Area. And I did my undergrad at Berkeley and so heavily influenced by the startup culture in the Bay Area, you know. Furthermore, my dad always had an, you know, entrepreneurship spirit as well. So I think it runs in a family. With that being said, I did start my startup career a little bit later than what you usually see nowadays. I started SparkAmplify, when I was 39. With the amount of you know, the corporate experience that I've gained prior to my startup experience was very, very valuable to be honest, especially during this current time of uncertainties in the economy. That really helped, you know, not only in the past, but also currently as well. So with that being said, I think, you know, startup is definitely something that I've never regretted and still looking forward to it. Yeah.

Yeah, I noticed that you went to US at very young age, I think you were 8, right? At the time. So we will like to know, we're curious, like how those Western experiences how like, bring the impacts on you. I mean, if you didn't go to the States, what wouldn't you have?

Chien  1:49  
Yeah, bring me to the States. I have to thank my parents, obviously, you know, they made a wise decision. Being there at a young age, it really, really gives you that global view. And of course, be able to speak English at a native level. I think that's definitely, you know, also noted plus, and how does that help, especially, you know, doing startups right now, here in Taiwan, I think it is important, right? Because we are an island country, so we have to look global. And so having that global view from the first day of doing a startup, I think it's important. And then furthermore, you know, startups, it is about storytelling, right? So you have to be able to tell your story and communicate it to everyone and to globally. And so English is always the global language, right? So to some extent, you know, the Western experience, prepare me for that not only the global view, but also to be able to have the language capability to share the story to people here in Taiwan, but also globally as well. Yes.

Stacey  2:49  
So we talk a lot about startup. Since you are the founder and the CEO of a startup, what suggestion you would give to people out there wanted to run their own business, or say what are the critical points, they think they're critical for successfully running a startup?

Chien  3:52  
Yeah, I think as a startup, I think it's really, really important to listen to your customers and users. I think, obviously, there's a reason why you exist. Brian Chesky, the co founder and CEO of Airbnb once said, right, I think it's better to have 100 people or users that love you, rather than having a million people that sort of like you, right? So what does that mean? It really means that whatever you're doing in terms of the startup, you're really serving, you know, the audience. And it's important to have that product market fit and finding the people that really not only enjoy your service, but need your service, in terms of solving their problems.

From a personal front, I, you know, my suggestion would be, you know, the work-life balance. I think that's important. You know, a lot of times when when people are doing their startups, they think that you know, it is a sprint, but in actuality, I've been through this for the past five years already, right. So it is a marathon to be more certain that you know, it's not how fast you run, but how how well you adapt and survive. And so, work balance, I think it is necessary to be able to run a full marathon and then furthermore, doing things that potentially gives you that rest, you know, sort of that away from the work and to move forward into your startup endeavor.

Stacey  4:23  
Great. So we've know from the previous section we know about Chien's backgrounds, and the reason why he wanted to start his own business. So that's moved to the our the second section of this podcast, we will focus more on the marketing. So since we all know that the pandemic is one of the major event in recent years and it changed the marketing fields a lot. And according to Harvard Business Review, we all know that when the COVID hits and it accelerates the digital transformation, and consumers are actually expecting the company to satisfy them with the digital experiences. So from Chien your perspective, how pandemics change the industry of marketing?

Chien  5:04  
No, I think Stacey, you hit it on the right on the point. I mean, the the pandemic itself, essentially accelerated the digital transformation. Companies across all industries, reevaluated, essentially the old way of doing things. And in fact, they have to look for alternatives, especially in a digital space. I mean, the hardest hit areas are essentially the face to face component, right, such as the trade shows, you know, the seminars and things of that nature. And so now a lot of that is moved on to the digital space with virtual exhibitions, online, even like podcasts, like what we're doing right now today, right? And you know, social selling. So these are all some of the alternatives that's really taking shape. And so why do I say, you know, to go, you know, the good, good old days are gone. And because essentially, I mean, not only is it expedited through the digital transformation, but also at the same time, just a case in point. I mean, Google actually did a study a while back, I think it was last year, about 50%, of the decision makers were about at the age of 1834, which is, coincidentally enough people at that age are spent a lot of time on the internet. As you can see, in the past, where a lot of the you know, these decision makers were maybe spending a lot of time offline, you know, at events. Nowadays, maybe they're spending more time on the internet, maybe they're spending more time on social media, such as LinkedIn. And so those are some of the concepts and ideas and even methods that I think a lot of the traditional industries, they need to think about what other digital aspects of it can complement in the future, right?

Stacey  6:38  
Yeah, exactly. So we all know that SparkAmplify also specializes in the marketing. So we will like to know how SparkAmplify adapting to this trend and under the pandemic?

Chien  6:50  
Well, so one thing is for certain, I mean, our focus has not shifted, because of the pandemic. In fact, we continue to specialize in what I call, you know, data-driven B2B marketing. However, the only difference is that, aside from the, you know, the PR brand awareness aspect of it, we've actually extended into sort of the even further down to sales funnel, which includes the sales leads, as well as the social selling. Due to the COVID-19, a lot of our customers were extremely affected by it. And so furthermore, aside from brand awareness, you know, they really need solutions to really help their bottom line in terms of acquiring new customers, you know, hopefully converting them and you know, as well, and so, that's, you know, why we went ahead, and, you know. Actually in the end of last year, we actually developed a new product, which is Kapchure. Essentially, you know, low code, no code process of customizing the lead generation process. And so that is something that, you know, we're currently pushing in helping, you know, our customers and even future customers, in terms of battling this pandemic. Yep.

Stacey  8:03  
Yeah. So apparently, we're entering the era of new normal. So Chien, from your perspective, what will be the top three things that B2B business should be well prepared for as the markets opened up?

Chien  8:16  
In terms of preparation, I think I would, definitely I see, there's three things that I think B2B companies definitely need to take hold of. One  is the preparation, I think that's important in a sense of in a business as before, was essentially, you bring in your suitcase, your product, and then you go to your booth, and then people start walking, and then they come to your, you know, booth and discuss with you. Right. But moving forward, I think it's really about the preparation, what are the preparations that you do prior to the event? Secondly, I think it's the diversity in terms of content marketing. And a lot of times I think relationship building, it involves what type of value can you provide to the company itself, right to the customers? What are some of the, you know, the educational, some of the new information that you can share? And what is interesting as in content, sometimes it's it's very diverse, right? You know, especially nowadays, there are videos, there are, you know, audios and there's even, you know, the traditional texts, the target audience that you're approaching, sometimes they may like a certain type of format, you know, so they have their own preferences, right. And so, I think it's really important to diversify your content when you are engaging with these potential audience that you're trying to build relationship with. And then finally, I think it just social selling, even though you know, a lot of the events are still coming back slowly. But I think it's important to build out that social media presence as well, essentially building that relationship. I mentioned before, I think LinkedIn is definitely a good option. Aside from that. There's plenty of other you know, other options as well. You know, Twitter is another good option. Currently right now in Japan, there's over let's say, 50 million active users, right? So every three individuals, one person is using Twitter. So that's another method, right? So social selling essentially is a method for not only providing you having access to the target audience that you are aiming at, but also at the same time, another channel for you to be able to communicate your information, your let's say, your content, but more importantly, be able to build that online virtual relationship that is so critical, you know, especially nowadays, right?

Stacey  10:24  
Yeah. So we've heard a lot about the content strategies and preparations. And now we would like to talk more about SparkAmplify. We'd like to know how marketing firms are doing. So Chien can you. We know that Kapchura is one of your star product? So can you share with us more about what it is? And where does that those creative name Kapchura that come from?

Chien  10:46  
So Kapchura, the word itself derives from the original word capture. So usually, when you obtain that, you know, valuable lead, it is a capturing process, right? So, so we wanted to maybe play, you know, a variant on that word. So we named it Kapchura, but of course, we replaced it with K. And so that's sort of how the name came about. In terms of the solution itself, we really wanted to create a low code or no code solution where you don't need to have previous, let's say, programming experience, right. And you will be able to optimize your website for lead conversion. And so with that being said, you know, Kapchura not only allows users to quickly be able to add a feature like that to their existing website. And so with that type of features, our goal is to be able to increase the conversion, or the willingness to be able to complete these forms, through the customization, through the personalization, try to improve on the conversion, or the willingness to complete. But more importantly, once we are able to capture these leads, we are able to provide the necessary statistics and data for the marketers and sales. Sometimes I joke around I say, hey, you know, we are essentially GA for sales. Because as you know, GA, you know, Google Analytics, analytics is usually for marketers. So marketers use it to optimize a website. But sales don't really have any tools. Right. But for Kapchura, it's really about providing that type of analytics to the sales individuals converting those leads into sales orders. That's so important nowadays, right? Especially during this pandemic.

Stacey  12:27  
Yeah, so we have heard about like lead generations and data collection. So Chien can you further share with us how Kapchura is helping the clients to maximize their impacts in the marketing field?

Chien 12:37
Yeah, so currently, right now, we have users from various industries, including electronics, technology, medical, that, you know, companies are actually using Kapchura. And furthermore, they are receiving very positive results, especially looking at a couple of metrics right impression, when we talk about impressions, it's really about comparing with your existing contact, your traditional lead generation form is your contact form. So what we do is we want to make sure that with Kapchura's pop up design, that we are able to put that lead form in front of these valuable traffic. So we were able to increase the impression by 53%. So which is quite a good number. In terms of the completion based on some of our statistics, we see that you'd see 3x to even 5x improvement compared to your traditional contact, lead generation form, are other examples recently, right now, we're working with a lot of these associations, and also event organizers, right. We recently, we're currently working with the Taiwan Wood Machinery Association, which essentially is a critical component of the wood machinery industry here in Taiwan. And so we have close to about 40 companies that are using it as well. Coming up there is this a leading plastic rubbery industry event that's coming up that's called TaipeiPLAS, which were also a marketing partner of, as you can see, I think, a lot of these companies from various industries, not only are they impacted by the pandemic, but they're also looking for solutions. And so that's where we come in, and we hopefully be able to collect the necessary business contacts that they need to successfully identify customers globally.

Stacey 14:14
So it looks like capture is really a powerful tool that empower our Taiwan's companies in terms of marketing. So we will always like to look into crystal ball. So can you share with us? What do you plan for Kapchura in the near future?

Chien 14:29
Well, I think that's the beauty of doing a startup I think no man's an island, right? So you can never survive on your own. And so in order for, you know, for Kapchura to be successful, they, you know, we also play an integral part in this ecosystem, especially, you know, our focus, obviously, is on lead generation. So that's what we're going to be focusing on down the row. Our goal is to be able to partner up, you know, one end of it is to drive, you know, highly targeted traffic, right. And so there's a lot of these, for example, Google ads, LinkedIn, currently working in partners on that you And then secondly, with the lead generation itself, not only is it important to have highly targeted traffic, but also at the same time, you need to be able to provide interesting and enticing content for people to willing to be able to leave their contact information. And lastly, I think is just the integration, I think by integrating these different possible sources, I think it's, you know, our advantage would definitely be on the data front, right. So our goal is to be able to seamlessly integrate all that and and furthermore, be able to be that data provider to our customers so that at the end of the day, when he or she, as a sales representative are chasing after you know, sales orders or whatever, they can have another source that they can rely on, not only for valuable potential prospect customer prospects, but more importantly, through the data analytics, be able to derive, through, you know, their behavior through their engagement, who are some of the potential leads that they cannot miss out, right, these are the customers that currently have a need, and they are looking forward to working with you. And so through that process, they're able to convert them into actual customers. So our goal is essentially trying to be able to play a critical role in the ecosystem, but more importantly, have partners to work with to help that process be successful, but more importantly, at the end of the day, serving our users to provide them with the the amount of data or the insight that they need to be able to do their business well. So that's our goal for the near future.

Stacey 16:32
That's amazing. Thank you, Chien for sharing your experiences and insights. Thank you all for listening to Spark Your Visions. Please continue to stay tuned for our upcoming analysis. And you're also welcome to catch us on LinkedIn or SparkAmplify.

Chien 16:47
Thank you for having me. Thank you.

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