The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 1 month ago

Ep 144: Marketing Tech in Russia w/ Alex Kibaneishvili

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Ep 144: Marketing Tech in Russia w/ Alex Kibaneishvili

Part of the "Is This A Good Time?" series hosted by Brandon Barton.

Hello everyone and welcome back to thePavilion podcast. I'm your host, Brandon martin and you are listening toIs this a good time? The show where I put Pavilion members in the hot seatfor 15 minutes we hear their incredible stories, shows around Tuesdays andThursdays Hit subscribe. So you don't miss hearing from our experts. Ourguest today is Alex Cobb initially he's the country leader of Russia forInsider Martek platform. We talk about marketing tech in Russian, coming upthrough the tech industry in Russia from Spotify that google pretty prettycool story by Alex. This episode was brought to you by Sindiso Sandoz. Sothe leading sending platform is the most effective way for revenuegenerating teams to stand out with new ways to engage at strategic pointsthroughout the customer journey by connecting digital and physicalstrategies companies can engage, acquire and retain customers easierthan ever before. All right, let's do this episode 67 Is this a good time?Alright, I am here with Alex Coburn,...

...it's really coming to us from Moscow.So excited to have you on Alex is the country head head of the country forInsider country Manager for Russia. So, so excited to have you on Alex. HiBrendan, my pleasure. Well look all meat. No filler. We jump right in andtell us, tell us about. Start with telling us about Insider and what youdo there, running the whole country that is. And then of course give us alittle bit of of your work history and your path to get into this role. Yeah,so inside there is a marketing technology company. So we are basicallylike there are different terms that can describe what we do to the marketingautomation platform or marketing personalization engine or customer dataplatform. So basically what we do, we worked with primarily with the commerceplayers and help them get the most out...

...of their traffic, help them withconversions, personalized communications and stuff like that.That's great. And so how did you, you know, you actually took this rolealmost you know, in the middle of Covid here, so maybe you know, bring us backa little bit in your resume. Um you've held quite a number of amazingpositions here you are, I mean jeez you're a Spotify for a little bit,you're at google uh you know, start us wherever you want. But I would love tohear about how you got into this role. Yeah, actually I began my journey indigital marketing more than 20 years ago. Before that I was in traditionalmedia like magazines and kind also like a short stint uh at MTV. Russia uh atsome point I moved to digital, luckily for myself, you know? Yeah, so I workedat Microsoft, worked at google. Um I was at Spotify when they made firstattempt to launch in Russia, they didn't succeed back then. They launchedlast year Oh what happened? Why did go...

...wrong? Well I think like it was acombination of internal and external factors. So internally the gettingready for the competition with Apple who at this point didn't enterstreaming market, but they were about to do it. So they abandoned a lot ofgeo geographical launch launches. And also this was 2014 when, you know, allthe geopolitical clash between Russia and the west uh, started. So because ofthat, I believe this influenced their decision as well. So they decided topostpone and it took them like six years to finally launch, wow. And soyou were, you were there for 11 months working on a project that didn't,didn't really even get to take off. Yeah, yeah. So I was working on alaunch that didn't happen pregnant and then, um, I love the yell dot ru, whichis uh, you know, you, you said here the...

...yelp of Russia. Um, wow, tell me aboutthe experience areas as ceo of that company. It was a spirit startup. Sothey had Swedish investors and Swedish founders, but it was operating solelyin Russia. So when they started, it was, I believe like back in 90s they startedwith like a simple yellow pages business, yellow pages business, likethis big paper catalogs at some point, they were making a lot of money. Thenit started to fade because of the digital and they decided to make aswitch from this old style paper based business model to something more modernand they decided to launch like a yelp type of business, but I believe it wasalready a little bit too late, you know like yeah one thing when you have yelpbefore all the social media, but when...

...we were starting to do it, it wasalready facebook with facebook reviews, google maps that also accumulated a lotof traffic and a lot of reviews so it didn't take off. So that was my nut sosuccessful startup experience. Yeah, well, I mean look most, most startupsare not successful, so that's just typical but so I, I treated as alearning experience, you know and then you went right back to big companieskind of yeah, kind of, it was not that big, it was not as big as google but atsome point I decided that what I really want to do is work in an internationalcompany doing business in Russia and I joined a company called social Man tick,it was a retargeting platform or like uh e commerce programmatic. And it waspart of a bigger company called don can...

...be in that family is like a big datacompany. Right? And yeah, I spent there three years before I made a move toInsider which is slightly similar business. I mean it's, I was in a tech,this is Martek, so we work more or less with the same client till but we aredoing different types of services for them and who are some of the customersof Insider, I mean it seems like a huge huge business. Uh it's I wouldn't sayit's huge, it's fast growing globally. So uh some of our customers, I meanlocal customers in Russia are really well known brands such as I. K. OrSephora or for example who are we? Uh chinese phone manufacturers and someother like international and local brands and what's the what's the storyof the of the company? Because it's uh it's an interesting, you know there'sobviously many offices, I don't even...

...know where they're from and also I lovethat there's a female ceo of the of the global company I think you know likethe story is quite remarkable because the company is actually based likeinitially it was Istanbul based company, so they're out of Turkey and there arenot so many tech companies from Turkey that you can hear about, there isprobably like quite well known and famous at least in europe, a companycalled Get Ear that offers uh super fast food delivery like 10 15 minutesfood delivery. And they just raised a huge round two develop operations ineurope. But other than that there are not so many cases of Turkish based techcompanies that you can hear about and our founders there were very motivatedby the story of Israel, they like one of the guys he read a book startupnation about like tech industry of...

Israel how it started to develop andthey thought that it would be great to make a similar case in Turkey to showthe world that great tech companies can be created not only in such places asSilicon Valley or Israel or I don't know Berlin, but also in places likegreat places like Istanbul. So eventually the company started to moveoverseas and open offices Russia was I believe the second office they openedand they moved east to Asia pacific and at some point they raised investmentwith sequoia capital which is also quite remarkable. Yeah, amazing. Andthen I love that the U. S. Office is based in Indianapolis. It's not newyork or san Francisco or Miami, it's Indy. So I was sticking to the roots ofmaybe more of an underdog location to sprout the business in the US lovebecause I was told actually one of the...

...reasons why it's in Indianapolis isthat Indianapolis is a kind of hub form our tech companies in the US Kyle Lacywould definitely agree with you and and some of the other folks for sure. Sovery cool look man, I think I think luck and hard work gets you to whereyou are in life and and certainly you've obviously put in a bunch of hardwork in terms of the places that you've worked in the years that you've spentin the industry, any instances of just like strokes of luck that that helpedpropel you forward, hard to say, you know like uh I think it's important tobe you know like in an open position and keep, you know like keep growing,keep learning and that helps a lot, you know, I wouldn't say that I always havelike a great plan on my mind but as you said, you know like luck and hard workand being open for opportunities, I wouldn't say you know like it's anultimate that it's gonna bring you like...

To success in 100% of the cases but Ithink it's super important you know to like even if like I treat myself as aprofessional, you know, it's important to keep a growth mindset and to keepmyself in a learning position. Good. I like that saying in a learning positionall right, you know from the marketing side of things, what is a tactic thatyou would, you would say, hey like this is something that everyone might beable to use in their daily practices that you could share with us I thinkwell the marketing technique or practicethat I'm currently very focused on the storytelling like content basedmarketing and storytelling, especially in a field that I'm operating in, youknow, it's it's quite easy to do...

...storytelling when you are is purifiedand know when you felt like as your main product it's kind of natural butin my case when we are dealing with customer data and some reallysophisticated ai based products. I would say it's still a challenge for meto find the balance between some sophisticated specialist language andsome simple stories that was that would resonate with clients. Sure love that.Love that. Alright well any any positions that you're hiring for. Ibelieve it's more or less like everywhere customer success sales andbasically we as a country office our main goal is to serve our clientslocally and to attract new ones. So I would say you know like the most of ouropen roles are sales and customer success. Plus we are hiring recruitingspecialist like a talent acquisition...

...specialist locally. And I would say achallenge. You know like grade sales people are in high demand. Yeah that'sright. That's right. Any any shout out to people that you enjoy kind of theircontent or you know or the message that they're putting out there or any up andcomers that you want to give a shout out to. Well I would say you know as ason as businesses rubbing you to me So I I do learn a lot and one of theresources and one of the people that I found very helpful is Jason lampkinlove his instagram twitter and love like a lot of things that I read andwatched on faster dot com. They are super helpful. Love that. Love that.And uh any any up and comers even from your region that you know you've metand been like that person is like a rock star in the making. Mm hard to say.Honestly good. Alright, well and last...

...but not least. And I'm very excited toask you this. My uh the Cto of my business is from Russia. He lived thereuntil he was maybe uh from Moscow in fact until he's like 12 before he movedto Toronto. And we always talk about, I want to go and visit visit Moscow withhim to go to all the good places. Where are we eating? Tell me, give me onerestaurant that's can't miss when I go to Moscow. Well I can give you two.Okay, so if, okay, so if you wanna enjoy some like modern Russian cuisine,you can go to a restaurant called White Rabbit. The White Rabbit. Yeah. Uh theyfrequently make a list of top 50 restaurants of the vote. So it's areally nice place if you like meat or if you like steaks for example, you cango to a place called varnish barbara...

Barnidge. Yeah, so like nice place.Very nice. You, especially if you go there in summer, if you want to try thebest cuisine of the best cuisine on the former soviet Union territory, you haveto go to a Georgian restaurant and there are plenty of Georgianrestaurants in Moscow. So the one that I would recommend is called Kazbek.Kazbek love it. All right. We got not only do we get to, we got, we got threeamazing restaurants, awesome Alex. Hey, so great to hear your stories. I mean,it's incredible the career you built and keep doing it as bringing theseinternational companies to uh essentially to Russian general, verycool. And looking forward to keeping in touch and then coming out and hangingwith you in Moscow man. Thank you so much Brendan. Yeah, please come visitawesome. All right, that's a show. Thank you so much for listening. If youlove the show right in review in the...

Apple podcast or Spotify, absented tosome friends, make sure to smash, smash, smash that subscribe button. A reminderthis episode was brought to you by Sandoz. So they deliver modern directmail, personalized gifts and other physical impressions that make youroutreach more personal. Thanks so much for listening. I had so much fun today.Hope you did too. Now go crush your numbers, say something. Mhm.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (172)