On Creating A Marketing Automation Platform With 100% Growth YoY

Published: September 17th, 2021
Avlesh Singh
Founder, WebEngage
from Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
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I am Avlesh Singh, CEO, and co-founder of WebEngage. I have been running WebEngage since 2011 with Ankit Ureja, CTO and co-founder of WebEngage. We are on a mission to solve the leaky bucket problem for mid-segment enterprises and empower them with an airtight customer engagement plan.

WebEngage is a new age Retention Operating System, a single suite for marketers to store user data, provide actionable insights, and orchestrate omnichannel campaigns by leveraging user insights to provide a hyper-personalized end-user experience. The platform helps brands drive more revenue from existing customers and anonymous users across ten communication channels.

WebEngage goes above and beyond a marketing automation platform and powers the user engagement for thousands of enterprise brands worldwide, working across several industries like E-Commerce, Edtech, Fintech, Foodtech, Media & Publications, Gaming, BFSI, Healthcare, Online Retail. The critical clientele includes marquee brands like HUL, Bajaj Finserv, Unacademy, ALT Balaji, Make my Trip, Zivame, First-Cry, and many more. The three parts of the product include:

Customer Data Platform: A CDP acts as a singular storefront for data collected from multiple sources(CRM, legacy marketing solutions, analytics platform, DMP). CDP pools customer data into one place for marketers to get a 360-degree view at any given point in time.

Engagement: CDP is supported by a robust campaign management system that helps create dynamic lifecycle campaigns at scale. Our Journey Designer tool gives brands the autonomy to use a highly intuitive drag & drop interface to create lifecycle campaigns.

Personalization: Our platform gives brands the ability to customize sections of their mobile app and website based on user data and real-time insights. User A might see content based on their last visited product, while user B might see content triggering a repurchase on visiting a brand's website. The ability to micro-customize gives SMB’s an edge and delivers contextual experiences and supercharge conversions.

WebEngage powered brands have built a retention practice early on by fixing the leaky bucket problem and focussed on maximizing revenue from their existing customers, attributing nearly 1/3rd of their conversions from WebEngage powered campaigns. This model not only warrants conversions but also creates opportunities to increase repeat purchases predictably and improve CLTV.

Since November 2019, WebEngage has been riding a steady growth wave. Since 2017, the company has witnessed 100 % growth YoY. Despite the COVID wave, WebEngage has managed to keep churn at a minimum (under 30% seasonal churn), and retention rates for 2020 are 60%+- an incredible feat in itself.

What's your backstory, and how did you come up with the idea?

In 2011, WebEngage came into existence as a platform for onsite surveys, notifications, and feedback that was easy to build and deploy. As the name suggests, WEB-Engage Ankit Ultreja and I started with innovation in web-based engagement, and this further adapted to mobile technology through the years.

If you are starting a business claiming to solve a customer problem today, then be assured that your customers will trust you more when you hone excellent data collection and storage capacities.

Simply put, from our past experiences of building consumer products as engineers. We realized how difficult it was for marketing teams to push promotional messages on their website and measure the impact. Development teams and deployment cycles were always the bottlenecks. This made us think that the problem is enormous. We thought it was time someone democratized on-site communication. So we did.

We at WebEngage aim to help marketers and product teams create delightful digital experiences without getting into the complexities of coding. In 2016, WebEngage launched a full-stack marketing automation platform featuring ten engagement channels.

Fast forward, 2021, WebEngage is a full-stack marketing automation platform and customer data platform that helps businesses scale through intelligent engagement and retention. It is essential to have clarity in an incredibly crowded space (see martech landscape below), and we at WebEngage, make it simple.


The global marketing automation software market was anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 9.26% from 2016 to 2022. The WebEngage platform is built to serve digital consumer businesses on the web and mobile platforms with large consumer bases.

Again, a few years back, we reaffirmed the information and found that the marketing automation market size is expected to grow from USD 3.3 billion in 2019 to USD 6.4 billion by 2024, at a CAGR of 13.9% from 2019 2024 ( Markets and Markets). Not only this, but the marketing landscape constitutes more than 8000 players as of today. With growing competition for every product category, we could think about today; brands are getting more interested in increasing every customer’s lifetime value. Evolved consumers need contextual and personalized experiences. WebEngage enables brands to deliver precisely that. These reports and the high digital device adoption trends across the years gave us the confidence to keep moving in the right direction.

Describe the process of launching the business.

When Ankit (my co-founder) started sowing the seeds of WebEngage in 2011, we dreamt once more; this one was BIG. We wanted to build a global brand. More importantly, we wanted to create a space in a market that didn’t exist. We wanted to democratize how on-site marketing is done.

The underlying strategy was quick adoption and simplified use. We wanted to make lives easier with technology and stick to it. There were and still are enough full-stack solutions in the market that burn a hole in your pocket, and we wanted to simplify this aspect.

Oct 2011 First version launch (team of 3). We went live with two solutions :

​​Feedback and support – We let visitors submit feedback contextually on your site. Contextually, because we tell you which page of your site the feedback was raised on, we also suggest many other things – user’s geography, browser, platform, etc. We send instant email notifications to both parties.

Short, targeted surveys – we have built a platform that lets you conduct short surveys unobtrusively from your website visitors. For example, if a user visits your site’s pricing page and has spent, let’s say, 30 seconds on this page and have come here for the first time, a small (and good looking) form pops up from the bottom of the page asking this user for their email so that you can assist w.r.t your product’s pricing.


Mar 2012 -1000 websites were actively using WebEngage
Dec 2012- 5000 websites were actively using WebEngage
Mar 2013: WebEngage goes Enterprise, introduced Custom Data to facilitate deeper enterprise integrations

Slowly but steadily, we kept developing our solution based on the customer’s needs. The B2C digital consumer landscape kept changing and resulted in evolved consumers who wanted a fully customized experience. So, we gave them that!

Jun 2013, We achieved our first BIG milestone — 10,000 websites were actively using WebEngage!

Post this; we launched WebEngage in a new shape in 2016, which added more value to what we were trying to achieve. It was a full-blown Customer Engagement platform that allowed brands to automate their marketing communication across multiple channels.


Fast forward to 2021; we are no more just a customer engagement platform or a marketing automation company. We are an operating retention system that helps mid-segment companies retain their customers forever. The image below sums up our compact and current positioning.


Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

We have kept it very simple over the years but still evolved along with the current times. My learning has only been focused on our customers. You have to evolve with your customers constantly.

The heart of marketing for WebEngage has primarily been content like most other B2B businesses, but we have come a long way from there. Today, we have four marketing functions (Content, Brand, Product, and Performance Marketing) running parallel and achieving significant milestones and driving conversions.

We started with the Monk blog. We developed WebEngage Monk as the one-stop junction for all our marketing blog posts, ebooks, webinars, and other resources. The idea was to become an influencer and thought leader in conversion rate optimization in particular and online marketing in general. Immediately within a span of 6months of creating a solid content base ( or so we thought), WebEngage was launched as a complete marketing automation tool. This was a significant change from being just a customer engagement tool. Along with this, we took a closer look and figured that we were doing a few things in the wrong way. Read more about it here. We fixed it and witnessed remarkable results. Our efforts continue with more vigor, and our blog is a must for you to check.

We also make it very interesting for our prospects to understand how our product helps companies grow through engaging case studies. Our Ebooks are also a go-to tool to understand several market trends for specific industries. Check out our most recent report here. Content has always been a significant conversion driver for us.

One of our other marketing efforts that stood out is the EngageCast series—a podcast organized by WebEngage with visionaries in the marketing world. Tune in to it if you are interested to know more authentic stories about brands and how they grew. We even happen to host one of the world’s renowned marketers, Rand Fishkin.

Over and above this, we have built a strong foundation across media as well. What is positioning if we don't talk about it? Our goal, I reiterate, is to be a leader in the marketing automation space, and to achieve that, we need a broad audience to understand part by part what we do. Here are a few links for you to know what I mean.

How are you doing today, and what does the future look like?

As mentioned above, Since November 2019, WebEngage has been riding a steady growth wave. Since 2017, the company has witnessed 100 % growth YoY. Despite the COVID wave, WebEngage has managed to keep churn at a minimum (under 30% seasonal churn), and retention rates for 2020 are 60%+- an incredible feat in itself. Our CAGR for the next three years will hover over 70% based on the current growth trajectory. As mentioned earlier, we will continue to focus on emerging markets and be the #1 player in our category in years to come.

Since we are a marketing automation platform, most of our sales are through the marketing team’s efforts. Initiatives ranging from content creation, thought leadership events, podcasts, and of course, digital ads. Some of our top-performing blogs in the period revolved around elements of the marketing suite within WebEngage like Push notifications, Hyper-Personalisation, and Cohort-Analysis performed very well on Google SERP. Riding on popular belief, Webengage continues to produce relevant content for prospects and tech enthusiasts. The Knowledge Base that is created and updated continuously is how WebEngage educates people interested in knowing more about the elements that make WebEngage what it is.

Among our other initiatives - EngageCast, a podcast about all things engagement and retention, has been massively popular. So far, we have aired 29 episodes, inviting speakers from notable brands to talk about their experiences of solving for growth across multiple industries.

Some of our key partnerships are Brand Equity, Economic Times for Martech Dialogues 2020, #GrowthTalkies (powered by NextBigWhat), The Financial Marketers Summit, and our recent association with The inc42 D2C Summit enabled us to provoke plenty of minds and get them talking about Retention.

Our vision ahead is to help brands accelerate growth and engage with users through technology-enabled solutions. Along with continued efforts in the Indian market, WebEngage will strengthen our reach in the EMEA and LATAM countries. With mobile technology as a core focus for the global market, we aim to humanize marketing further, improve and innovate our current suite by enabling more contextual, relevant, and engaging communication for brands.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

AWS, Slack, Recruiterbox, Zoom, Go-Daddy, LinkedIn, Altassian, Clickup are to name a few.

We have tech partners like Infobip, Kaleyra, SparkPost ( Email) as well.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just beginning?

The pandemic has changed the way people perceive business, and the focus is only on customers. We often mistake concentrating too much on the product and not the customer who will use it. This leads us to witness chunky and technically complex solutions making lives difficult for customers. Ease of use should be a priority if you try to solve a problem in the technology landscape.

If you want to deliver a seamless experience for the customer, position your business as a one-stop-shop. If your target audience has to get multiple products to achieve the same goal that one partnership can solve, the value of your product might diminish over time. Leverage ideal partnerships that can help make your solution indispensable for buyers.

Last but not least, data is fundamental. If you are starting a business claiming to solve a customer problem today, then be assured that your customers will trust you more when you hone excellent data collection and storage capacities. Data is a ubiquitous element in today’s business, so it is vital to have a steady and secure data foundation.

Context is king, so deliver a contextual experience.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

Yes, we are hiring rapidly across several departments. You will get a complete view here.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!