Sumit Saxena, Founder, Merren

Sumit comes with a power-packed background in business and strategy consulting across multiple verticals – marketing, human resources, finance and communications. He manifests great leadership qualities and believes in delivering more than the mandate asks for. With expertise in interacting with diversified stakeholders across the value chain, he is also well versed in specialist functions like analytics, consumer research, ERP and marketing.  He has worked across industries with brands like GE, Siemens,  Vodafone, Raymonds, Zee, Disney, Sony, Economic Times, RPG Group, Emami as well as on government projects.


Technology adoption has seen a massive shift since the cost of data came down. A whole new set of consumers joined the online world – one that consumes content on OTTs, uses e-commerce websites for their purchases and communicates through messaging apps like WhatsApp. And they do all of this on their mobile phones. Yet, despite access to the internet, they have little access to or familiarity with a web browser. 

Their access to the internet makes them attractive as potential consumers, but their lack of access to a web browser means that the digital divide persists. It just takes the new form – one of “browser divide”. And herein lies the implication for digital marketers – how does one reach out to people on the other side of this divide to gather quality and authentic information? In short, how does one run a lead generation exercise across the browser divide?

An ideal lead generation process comprises of the following elements:

  • A channel to reach the audience
  • A form to collect data
  • A mechanism to verify the authenticity of data
  • A way to incentivize the target

In a typical lead generation process, the data collection happens through a web browser. For this reason, the process breaks down with those across the browser divide. The solution? Use popular messenger apps like WhatsApp to collect data. Here is why:

Messengers are ubiquitous

WhatsApp reaches more than 500 million Indians most of whom use it daily. It does not matter which region, gender or socio-economic group one belongs to, they have WhatsApp on the phone. The reach of WhatsApp in India is unparalleled!

Messengers are Familiar

Customers jump on the bandwagon when something is familiar (and easy.) Leveraging a messenger as a data collection tool is obvious given that most on the wrong side of the browser divide access the internet through their phones.

WhatsApp authenticates leads

No more fake leads! No need for an OTP process as well. The number that a company receives is not from the consumer, but from WhatsApp. It comes pre-authenticated. However, do not forget to take consent from the consumer to use their number. 

WhatsApp makes the process quicker

Messengers are quicker for data collection. When automated with SaaS for backend data integration, they can have powerful outcomes. They can help accelerate the pipeline for lead generation. After all, time is money. 

WhatsApp And the Art of Conversation In Data Collection

The key strength of messaging apps like WhatsApp is their conversational nature. These conversations tend to simplify the feedback process on both ends. With a more casual and friendly tone than that of a typical business data collection, they also offer inbuilt features of multilingualism that can showcase the brand in a customer-first light. This can go a long way in generating reliable leads and establishing comfort for customers who may not be very tech-savvy. 

Data can give brands the competitive advantage they need to offer potential customers the information they are looking for at the right moment to ensure better lead generation. And supplementing this with simpler, familiar and inclusive platforms like WhatsApp can make customers more accessible and the decision-making process more accurate and result-driven.

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