We talked to Aleksey Lyah, co-owner of MarTech Agency newage. about building the most accurate ad analytics, and he had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Aleksey Lyah: Well, we’re fine, thank you.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded MarTech.
Aleksey Lyah: I have been working in digital for over 10 years. Before newage., I was a hired employee at another advertising agency. I did not agree on the agency business with the founders of this agency. So I decided to start my own agency and invited co-founder Dmitry Snigir. newage. has become an ideal workplace for us.
Now, six years later, we are one of the few agencies in Ukraine certified by the Google Marketing Platform partner. This status allows us to build the most accurate ad analytics and develop our own tools. We worked hard, and as a result, such top brands as BMW, OLX, Viber, Jagermeister, AJAX, and others work with us.
How does MarTech innovate?
Aleksey Lyah: Our company is a not big agency, we are experts in media advertising campaigns. Our mission is to drive the MarTech industry towards transparency, expertise, and efficiency.
Our work is based on our own methodology of Comprehensive Analysis of Display Advertising. With it, we can deeply analyze the display effects of advertising and track delayed user actions, such as post-view and cross-device conversions.
During the work, we collect and analyze a huge amount of campaign data. We have developed a display ad analysis dashboard that downloads and processes about 1TB of information per day.
Now we are developing an automated system that will optimize advertising campaigns by itself. This will allow you to redirect employees’ time to analytical and creative tasks when a robot will work in trivial settings.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Aleksey Lyah: The pandemic has strongly affected our sector and our market. Display advertising is a fairly long investment. For clients, this tool became less predictable because it was not clear what would happen tomorrow. Clients began to postpone and cancel campaigns, cut budgets. Fortunately, this was not too critical.
We started newage. during a local crisis in our country. It was a valuable experience, so now I clearly understand how and what can happen to the agency in the current situation. There is a vision of how to adapt and transform the business so that we successfully go through the next crisis.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Aleksey Lyah: We had a plan to scale up the business. We started hiring new employees, looking for a new office and investing in growth. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we had to abandon the plan.
We realized that the strongest property of a business is adaptability. Business must understand the consumer and change with him. “Change or Die,” and for many companies that didn’t adapt promptly, it will hurt.
In a crisis, you need to take more complex steps. They require more effort, but they make the brain think differently, and in the current crisis, I think this is correct.
There is no need to live in the world “as before.” We are building the future in which we will live. For me, every new day is better because I make an effort to live it better than yesterday.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Aleksey Lyah: Before the quarantine, we worked for quite a long time to transfer responsibility and operational work to employees. But with the beginning of the pandemic, Dmitry and I took control.
We have brought together finances, and the situation was not very pleasant. January and February are not profitable months for the agency business in Ukraine. We spent the money we had in those two months. Also, these months were not profitable because we started to scale up and started hiring interns. So we stopped growing and developed plan “B” to help us adapt to the situation.
During the quarantine period, we began to expand our competencies and deepen our expertise. We have created a bunch of original developments that have helped to work even more efficiently. In 2020, no one had extra money for advertising, and, accordingly, it was necessary to optimize work as much as possible.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Aleksey Lyah: There are a bunch of agencies on the Ukrainian market that work with display advertising. On the one hand, we must be their competitors. But on the other hand, we have occupied a completely new niche; we have come up with and offer large advertisers who have strong in-house teams but also have something that is difficult for them to do on their own. This is a new niche, and it is not entirely correct to compare us with the general market.
Your final thoughts?
Aleksey Lyah: I want to support small agencies like ours. It is small – it means to be agile. Dynamism and the ability to adapt to client needs is an advantage over large, bureaucratic companies, network players, and everyone who decides a team with a horizon of more than one day. This superpower will help us all adapt to any future challenges.
I love challenges. I feel more confident and better understand what to do when the situation is difficult. When a problem comes, I see it and understand how to work with it. I think many businessmen will agree that when everything is calm, you are waiting where something will come from. And when the situation is difficult, it is easy for me because I clearly understand my actions and the actions of employees.
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