First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Dmitri Lisitski: I’m doing well, but my wife and daughter had COVID. It was frightening, but luckily neither had a bad case and recovered quickly. It feels like my family has crossed the halfway point of the pandemic, and hopefully, that’s the worst of it, but my heart goes out to all families who have been impacted by this virus.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Influ2.
Dmitri Lisitski: I started my career in consumer advertising doing media buying for large FMCG companies like Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, and McDonald’s. After doing this for a few years, I was inspired to move from B2C to B2B, so I founded an IT outsourcing company called GlobalLogic. It’s now become a very large company with more than 20,000 employees globally.
When I started my IT outsourcing business, which is now called Global Logic, I tried to apply everything that I had learned from being a consumer marketer, but I soon realized that B2B marketing is fundamentally different. And, a lot of what works for B2C doesn’t work for B2B, and this was what inspired me to found Influ2. It answered the question that I had been contemplating for almost a decade, ‘how can I make advertising work well for B2B companies?’
How does Influ2 innovate?
Dmitri Lisitski: Our vision is innovative because we take a person-based advertising approach to B2B marketing. We’re the first advertising platform that offers this strategy. This allows B2B marketers to target actual decision-makers and get relevant content in front of them at the time that they’re open to receiving the information.
This solves one of the biggest challenges that B2B marketers face: they don’t know who is clicking on their ads, so the number of clicks doesn’t convert into leads. With Influ2, every ad visitor is identified and how many times they interacted with the content of the ad and the time they engaged with the ad. This not only helps marketers identify new leads but also helps them develop more thoughtful and engaging ads.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Dmitri Lisitski: While this year has been challenging, it’s forced a lot of B2B marketers to try out new approaches to their marketing strategies because the traditional channels have no longer been available – such as attending trade shows and in-person networking. And this has opened previously closed doors for us because the only way marketers can drive leads is through digital solutions. So, despite the global economic downturn, we’ve been able to grow our business by 251%.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Dmitri Lisitski: I think 2018 was a very difficult year for us. We had only launched the year before and hadn’t yet gained any strong business momentum. The revenue just wasn’t where it needed to be, and lay-offs were on the horizon. But, I believed so strongly in Influ2’s vision that I decided the best choice was to invest in the business myself, and so that’s what I did. This allowed me to keep everyone on, and I’m so glad that I made that choice because our team has been vital to our current business success. I couldn’t have achieved this level of growth without them.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Influ2 in the future?
Dmitri Lisitski: Staying active helps me deal with stress, and I’m a fan of both windsurfing and crossfit. Also, music helps as well, and Influ2 has a band that I play the bass in. I’ve loved being a part of the band, and it’s been a great thing to share with other team members.
As for where I’ll be in the future, Influ2’s larger goal is to change the way B2B marketers buy advertising so that what they invest in actually increases their ROI. So, that’s what I’m focused on today, and that’s what I’m going to be focused on in the future. And I think it’s going to be an exciting journey ahead.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Dmitri Lisitski: Some of our competitors include Rollworks, 6sense, Engagio, Demandbase, Terminus, etc. Our technology is unique. While ABM vendors target accounts, we target the buying group inside these accounts. There are 154K people working in Microsoft accounts, so there is not much value in targeting them. We suggest only decision-makers should see ads, so it’s a much more precise and effective way to do account-based ads. We believe this vision is stronger in the long run.
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