How SMBs can increase their online sales
Tasfia: With Markopolo, what we have done is we have built the complete paid marketing suite. We use server-side pixels to gather lossless data from each attribution point, and we have built it specifically for small businesses and startups.
Most of the competitors are digital marketing agencies or freelance marketers, but apart from that, there is some similar kind of tools or solutions available in the market as well, but most of them are focusing on a specific part of digital marketing. For example, they’re focusing on Facebook, Google, or Instagram, or any specific part like campaign automation or audience profiling, or they are focusing fully on B2B giant clients.
We are unique from this perspective because we provide them with a cohesive solution that triggers all the platforms in the same place. So they can manage everything from the same platform, and they don’t have to learn about how different algorithms for different advertisement platform work. Secondly, we are trying to solve the pain points of small businesses and startups because they are most underserved.
How did you come up with the idea?
Tasfia: I think the pandemic gave birth to this idea. Before that, marketing automation was something used for big corporations only. And for the small businesses, it was mostly agencies or freelance marketers. I used to work as a freelance marketer for different small businesses and enterprises, and what happened when the pandemic started, there was a huge burst in my customer list. It was not physically possible for me to serve everyone.
At that moment, I went to my co-founder, Rubaiyat, and I told him the problem, and after some point, we both realized that this was a unique problem. No one is addressing these small businesses or startups that had a need here. The pandemic affected their businesses so much that most had to shut their offline stores and make them online, and they had no clue how to do that.
They didn’t even know where to go, whether they would hire the agencies at the risk of not understanding where their money was going or learning those advertising platforms. They were desperate and didn’t know what to do with the money. When you are managing your business, you’re already doing a lot of things, and it’s an extra hustle for you to learn new things like how advertising platforms work, and that’s how we came up
with the idea.
Why it’s important to talk to your customers
Tasfia: What makes the whole journey smoother is talking to the customers. They are the main essence and give you the right feedback. It becomes great when you take that distance and improve it with expert opinions. It’s not always a smooth thing to do. It’s kind of monotonous as well because you have to say the same thing again and again. In the first days of Markopolo, I used to do the sales call, and they didn’t know that I was the CEO and I was just talking with them. I was present in all those calls and took notes personally because that helped me better understand the customer’s needs and pain points and where my product is lacking.
Can anybody be an entrepreneur?
Tasfia: I think it’s more about the mindset, and everything depends on it. As founders, they need to understand how they will make an impact, how they will differentiate, or how they will solve that. You don’t have to have a high IQ to do this. You just need the right mindset and persistence.
What helped me was that I talked with a lot of people. I regularly read books, but what helped me was I tried practicing being a listener. It actually helped me to actually, absorb and understand more. It helped me restructure how people think, interact with, and listen to them.
What is Markopolo’s best feature?
Tasfia: One of our unique features that I love talking about is our ad maker. When a customer connects their Facebook, Google, and Instagram accounts, our AI already starts acquiring knowledge and starts learning. So if you put a small description about your brand, it creates four different variants, like caption and ad copy. You can choose the caption you want and the ad copy.
Then, it automatically generates the ad copy for you taking the data from free resources or your asset library. So with the asset library, you can put your font or color palettes or things about your brand in one place, so AI also takes information from there, creates your ad copy, writes up, and automatically creates an ad for you with a caption.
This is kind of our mini Canva tool that is built within our product and built from scratch. This has been helping many small brands because now they don’t have to keep a full-time designer – they can do basic things by themselves, or if there are any special campaigns, they can ask designers for freelancing services.
How big is your team?
Tasfia: We currently have 15 people on our team, and we’ll be hiring more, we are growing at a huge speed currently. We have been part of Accelerating Asia, and we’ll be um expanding to Singapore. Right now, we are incorporating in Delaware. Still, our teams are mostly Bangladesh-based software engineers whom we have taken and molded to become global standard software developers because free resources and training are available.
We have been creating a lot of impact for female professionals as well. We have a separate wing outside the capital city and have been promoting and utilizing those resources. There are a lot of young talents, and you’d be surprised to know that almost 60% of the total population of Bangladesh is between the ages of 20 to 30, and we have the highest internet penetration in this region. So there are many youth talents, and we are also utilizing these resources.
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