People & Interviews

Inside Sinch’s MessageMedia Acquisition with Kate Gerwe

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In the dynamic world of technology, few individuals possess the depth of experience and vision that Kate Gerwe brings to the table. With over 25 years of honing her expertise in marketing, Kate has played a pivotal role in building and growing teams during high-growth periods at both established tech giants and early-to-mid-stage startups. Currently serving as the Chief Marketing Officer of the Sinch SaaS Business Unit, Kate’s leadership is instrumental in helping over 70,000 businesses worldwide navigate the intricate landscape of customer engagement.

In this exclusive interview, we talk with Kate Gerwe to delve into a transformative chapter in Sinch’s journey – the strategic acquisition of MessageMedia in June 2021. This landmark event reshaped Sinch’s vision and mission, propelling the company into the forefront of mobile customer engagement. Kate reflects on the milestones, innovations, and cultural synergies that have shaped Sinch MessageMedia’s evolution into a global customer engagement platform for small to medium-sized businesses. 

The Strategic Acquisition of MessageMedia

Kate reflects on the acquisition of Message Media:

When Sinch acquired MessageMedia in June of 2021, our vision was to be the undisputed leader in mobile customer engagement. Sinch acquired Inteliquent earlier that year for voice communications, and later in the year acquired Pathwire for email, rounding out a full portfolio of best-in-class companies to provide a holistic solution for businesses of any size.

Kate continues:

With this series of acquisitions, MessageMedia was able to grow from a small business messaging platform with a strong presence in Australia and a growing reputation in key markets in the US and UK –providing SimpleTexting and ClickSend – to a strategic element of a future, multi-channel communications platform for meaningful customer engagement – across any channel they choose.

Sinch MessageMedia continues pursuing the vision and mission of a global customer engagement platform for small to medium-sized businesses, making it easier to acquire, engage, and retain their customers. That has not changed. With the acquisition, MessageMedia will execute against a much larger vision and market as part of Sinch.

But the synergy between Sinch and MessageMedia was not merely strategic. It extended to culture and values:

Sinch’s values and culture are to Make it Happen, Win Together, Keep it Simple, and Dream Big, which align neatly with MessageMedia’s values. Strategically, Sinch and MessageMedia are building  a winning customer engagement platform for small to medium sized businesses. Together we integrate SMS and our integrations with major technology players, including Hubspot, NetSuite, Shopify, Salesforce, and Zoho, along with the conversational and multi-channel capabilities across Sinch. Bringing these together enables small to medium sized businesses to better engage with their customers, wherever they are, on the channel of their choice.

MessageMedia to Sinch MessageMedia

The rebranding journey from MessageMedia to Sinch MessageMedia was another significant step. This shift signified their commitment to going beyond SMS capabilities. 

Kate explains,

Together, we equip brands to reach customers where they ‘are’, whether that’s through SMS, technology integrations, social media, and even mail and other channels. The rebrand involved visually aligning MessageMedia’s brand to Sinch and bringing the product offerings closer together. Customers can expect to see an increasing amount of new features and product innovations that establish the Sinch MessageMedia product platform as a true customer engagement platform that enables two-way conversational marketing, commerce, and customer care for businesses.

Key Milestones and Innovations

As Sinch MessageMedia evolved, several key milestones and innovations shaped their journey to success. Kate notes:

It’s been exciting and energizing to have strong leadership across Sinch’s senior executive team. We had the pleasure of welcoming an amazing new CEO, Laurinda Pang, as well as various business unit leaders and influencers across the company.

Kate also mentions new integrations and features that have been implemented through the acquisition: 

New feature releases across our integrations that make it easier for businesses to engage with their customers through messaging on the platforms they already use have been key milestones for Sinch. We announced the expansion of our Hubspot Service Hub and Zoho Service Desk integrations that provide a scalable way for businesses to engage in two-way conversations with their customers. We’ve also enhanced our contact syncing and segmentation functionality and are in beta with our mobile app.

Sinch MessageMedia’s integration prowess truly shines with over 85 integrations with various CRM and ecommerce platforms. These integrations have brought tangible benefits to businesses. Kate shares some success stories, like APC, a parts company that improved customer notifications using NetSuite integration, or Roth Living, a luxury kitchen retailer that achieved a 100% customer satisfaction rate with automated texts. Additionally, P’Nut Street Noodles (P’Nut) saw a 50% increase in their sales by offering time-sensitive discounts to customers through SMS and email.

Read the case studies for APCRoth Living and P’Nut Street Noodles.

Enhancing User Experience for Small Businesses

Additionally, much effort has been put into creating a better, more streamlined experience for SMBs and other end users. We modernized our platform by completely revamping the user interface this past June. Sinch has also improved efficiencies around integrations across acquisitions, resulting in a better user experience.

The focus on serving small and medium-sized businesses drove Sinch MessageMedia to implement solutions tailored to their unique needs. 

In addition to streamlining our UI with SMBs in mind, one of the main things we’ve done to meet their needs is making it even easier to get started and get sending. Building off of some of the fantastic best practices across SimpleTexting and ClickSend, we’ve introduced a self-serve onboarding process with Sinch MessageMedia. Businesses can be up and running right away on the platform by simply providing their credit card as payment. 

For example, getting a phone number for mobile messaging can be complicated and we’ve worked hard to make it as easy as possible while ensuring securityverification, and validation are always prioritized. For US SMBs, we have cut the onboarding process so it takes only a few hours or days with number provisioning. With our competitors, it can take weeks to receive a phone number. This is one of the great advantages of working with Sinch, as we are the leaders in connectivity.

Seamless Multi-Channel Engagement

The commitment to innovation is a cornerstone of Sinch MessageMedia’s approach. Kate highlights their access to social channels.

One of our key brand promises is to help businesses be where their customers are. Consumers are increasingly everywhere – social media, text messages, WhatsApp, emails – all primarily on their phones.  

Businesses are increasingly challenged in reaching them with timely, personalized, and relevant information. For instance, connecting our messaging platform to social channels enables personalized conversations to take place on any channel, such as Instagram, in a scalable way. We have done this through a streamlined and easy-to-useinterface to save businesses time and enable them to connect with their customers authentically, wherever they are.

Shaping the Future of Customer Engagement

Sinch’s leadership in the CPaaS space is undeniable, and Sinch MessageMedia plays a pivotal role in maintaining that position. Kate proudly states:

Sinch was recently recognised as a Leader in the 2023 Gartner Magic Quadrantfor Communication Platforms as a Service (CPaaS). What sets Sinch MessageMedia apart from the rest of the industry is our integrations (with Hubspot, Salesforce, Shopify, Zoho, Netsuite, and more); our multi-channel approach, integrating SMS with social channels; and our ability to enable businesses to engage with customers in two-way conversations across marketing and customer care.

Looking ahead, Sinch and Sinch MessageMedia have ambitious plans:

We are aggressively building out our globalmulti-channel customer engagement platform. Part of this includes social channels and other mediums like email or voice. We also know that businesses – like their customers – are keen on mobile solutions, so we will be launching a mobile app in beta by the end of the year 2023. 

In addition, there are some exciting developments in AI that we are incorporating into our products. Another area we are developing is automation. We aim to make it easier for our customers to deploy automation and drive efficiency across their business. As a global company, Sinch will continue to expand in markets around the world where and when it makes sense.

Sinch’s Vision for the Future of Customer Engagement

In the ever-evolving landscape of customer engagement, Sinch aims to be at the forefront of shaping the future of business communications. Kate shares:

At Sinch, we are eager to help shape the future of conversational marketing, commerce, and customer care, by continuing to push the envelope with new and innovative solutionsthat enable businesses to communicate via live chat, messaging, and more, to create a personalized and relevant experience for their customers – across the entire customer journey. 

We will continue to make it easier for consumers to make purchases online in a natural and conversational manner. Whether it’s recommendations, abandoned cart recovery, back-in-stock notifications, or conversational online support, we aim to be instrumental in shaping the future direction by focusing on the customer and how to enhance their experience along the entire purchasing journey.

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