The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 10 months 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 the Pavilion podcast. I'm your host, Brandon martin and you are listening to Is this a good time? The show where I put Pavilion members in the hot seat for 15 minutes we hear their incredible stories, shows around Tuesdays and Thursdays Hit subscribe. So you don't miss hearing from our experts. Our guest today is Alex Cobb initially he's the country leader of Russia for Insider Martek platform. We talk about marketing tech in Russian, coming up through the tech industry in Russia from Spotify that google pretty pretty cool story by Alex. This episode was brought to you by Sindiso Sandoz. So the leading sending platform is the most effective way for revenue generating teams to stand out with new ways to engage at strategic points throughout the customer journey by connecting digital and physical strategies companies can engage, acquire and retain customers easier than 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 for Insider country Manager for Russia. So, so excited to have you on Alex. Hi Brendan, my pleasure. Well look all meat. No filler. We jump right in and tell us, tell us about. Start with telling us about Insider and what you do there, running the whole country that is. And then of course give us a little 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 basically like there are different terms that can describe what we do to the marketing automation platform or marketing personalization engine or customer data platform. So basically what we do, we worked with primarily with the commerce players and help them get the most out...

...of their traffic, help them with conversions, personalized communications and stuff like that. That's great. And so how did you, you know, you actually took this role almost you know, in the middle of Covid here, so maybe you know, bring us back a little bit in your resume. Um you've held quite a number of amazing positions 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 to hear about how you got into this role. Yeah, actually I began my journey in digital marketing more than 20 years ago. Before that I was in traditional media like magazines and kind also like a short stint uh at MTV. Russia uh at some point I moved to digital, luckily for myself, you know? Yeah, so I worked at Microsoft, worked at google. Um I was at Spotify when they made first attempt to launch in Russia, they didn't succeed back then. They launched last year Oh what happened? Why did go...

...wrong? Well I think like it was a combination of internal and external factors. So internally the getting ready for the competition with Apple who at this point didn't enter streaming market, but they were about to do it. So they abandoned a lot of geo geographical launch launches. And also this was 2014 when, you know, all the geopolitical clash between Russia and the west uh, started. So because of that, I believe this influenced their decision as well. So they decided to postpone and it took them like six years to finally launch, wow. And so you 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 a launch that didn't happen pregnant and then, um, I love the yell dot ru, which is uh, you know, you, you said here the...

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

...we were starting to do it, it was already facebook with facebook reviews, google maps that also accumulated a lot of traffic and a lot of reviews so it didn't take off. So that was my nut so successful startup experience. Yeah, well, I mean look most, most startups are not successful, so that's just typical but so I, I treated as a learning experience, you know and then you went right back to big companies kind of yeah, kind of, it was not that big, it was not as big as google but at some point I decided that what I really want to do is work in an international company 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 was part of a bigger company called don can...

...be in that family is like a big data company. Right? And yeah, I spent there three years before I made a move to Insider 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 are doing different types of services for them and who are some of the customers of Insider, I mean it seems like a huge huge business. Uh it's I wouldn't say it's huge, it's fast growing globally. So uh some of our customers, I mean local customers in Russia are really well known brands such as I. K. Or Sephora or for example who are we? Uh chinese phone manufacturers and some other like international and local brands and what's the what's the story of the of the company? Because it's uh it's an interesting, you know there's obviously many offices, I don't even...

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

Israel how it started to develop and they thought that it would be great to make a similar case in Turkey to show the world that great tech companies can be created not only in such places as Silicon Valley or Israel or I don't know Berlin, but also in places like great places like Istanbul. So eventually the company started to move overseas and open offices Russia was I believe the second office they opened and they moved east to Asia pacific and at some point they raised investment with sequoia capital which is also quite remarkable. Yeah, amazing. And then I love that the U. S. Office is based in Indianapolis. It's not new york or san Francisco or Miami, it's Indy. So I was sticking to the roots of maybe more of an underdog location to sprout the business in the US love because I was told actually one of the...

...reasons why it's in Indianapolis is that Indianapolis is a kind of hub form our tech companies in the US Kyle Lacy would definitely agree with you and and some of the other folks for sure. So very cool look man, I think I think luck and hard work gets you to where you are in life and and certainly you've obviously put in a bunch of hard work in terms of the places that you've worked in the years that you've spent in the industry, any instances of just like strokes of luck that that helped propel you forward, hard to say, you know like uh I think it's important to be 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 have like a great plan on my mind but as you said, you know like luck and hard work and being open for opportunities, I wouldn't say you know like it's an ultimate that it's gonna bring you like...

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

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

...specialist locally. And I would say a challenge. You know like grade sales people are in high demand. Yeah that's right. That's right. Any any shout out to people that you enjoy kind of their content or you know or the message that they're putting out there or any up and comers that you want to give a shout out to. Well I would say you know as a son as businesses rubbing you to me So I I do learn a lot and one of the resources and one of the people that I found very helpful is Jason lampkin love his instagram twitter and love like a lot of things that I read and watched 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 met and 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 to ask you this. My uh the Cto of my business is from Russia. He lived there until he was maybe uh from Moscow in fact until he's like 12 before he moved to Toronto. And we always talk about, I want to go and visit visit Moscow with him to go to all the good places. Where are we eating? Tell me, give me one restaurant 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 they frequently make a list of top 50 restaurants of the vote. So it's a really nice place if you like meat or if you like steaks for example, you can go 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 the best cuisine of the best cuisine on the former soviet Union territory, you have to go to a Georgian restaurant and there are plenty of Georgian restaurants 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 three amazing 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 these international companies to uh essentially to Russian general, very cool. And looking forward to keeping in touch and then coming out and hanging with you in Moscow man. Thank you so much Brendan. Yeah, please come visit awesome. All right, that's a show. Thank you so much for listening. If you love the show right in review in the...

Apple podcast or Spotify, absented to some friends, make sure to smash, smash, smash that subscribe button. A reminder this episode was brought to you by Sandoz. So they deliver modern direct mail, personalized gifts and other physical impressions that make your outreach 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.

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