INNOVATORS VS COVID 19
Covid-19 Didn’t Just Bring Crisis, but also Opportunity
We talked to Steven Lammertink of The Cirqle about the only scalable marketing platform that ties Marketing to Revenue and he had the following to say about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Steven Lammertink: Thanks for asking. Fortunately, losing my mother a couple of weeks ago to breast cancer times has been extremely challenging, both from a personal and business perspective. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a lot of impact on digital marketing with, for instance, Google cutting half of their budgets for next year and many others have followed suit. I’ve also had to cancel multiple holidays that we’ve planned a long time ago so all-in-all, 2020 hasn’t been the most rewarding although I feel for a lot of other people who’ve lost their jobs and homes as a consequence of the state the world is in today. The good thing about all of this for me personally is that I perform really well under pressure. The company has gone through several teams and product improvements that have significantly elevated the business for 2021, which we’re genuinely excited about. We’ve also been able to effectively launch a portal that has helped many businesses deal with the consequences of Covid-19.
Below are some of the products, programs, and resources The Cirqle is building, sharing and creating to help your business adapt to the challenges of COVID-19.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded The Cirqle.
Steven Lammertink: I started my first business, Republish, at the age of 19 when I enrolled for my Bachelor in International Business and Economics at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. We build an algorithm that we leveraged to convert physical books to e-books which, at the time, was a prevalent trend most publishers needed to adopt. We digitized over 25000 books for major publishers in the Netherlands, and it was one of the very first interactions I had with starting a business from scratch. Republish also enabled me to receive a prestigious Kauffman Global Scholarship grant financed by the Dutch government which helped to immerse me even further in entrepreneurship through an 8-month cutting edge program that brought 9 student-entrepreneurs to Harvard, MIT and Stanford for best-in-class educational material. I also interned at Adobe Systems in Silicon Valley at the Advanced Technology Lab – a real privilege to have received this experience and the foundation to my drive today is what came from my time visiting the USA. Several ventures and years later, I co-founded The Cirqle together with Daan Nederlof. We quickly raised several rounds of funding and received a lot of interest from leading brands and agencies across the globe. Our mission is to enable brands to build their army of influencers across any market with the ability to drive measurable sales across their talent, leveraging our proprietary technology.
How does The Cirqle innovate?
Steven Lammertink: We innovate by taking client feedback really seriously while building product experiences around their requests and maintaining a laser focus on our mission. When Covid-19 broke out, we also launched All Access, a creative talent platform to monetize their content. Amidst a sharp decline in brand partnerships, we felt this was a way to give our creators more avenues of raking in money. Hence, the short answer to how we innovate lies in the pace with which we’re able to design, build and release new products and solutions that tackle real customer problems in a matter of weeks.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Steven Lammertink: As these are truly unprecedented times, businesses around the world are responding urgently to new government policies and may have sudden needs to switch event activations to online/virtual marketing programs, dramatic drops or spikes in demand, disruptions to cash flow, and more. We’ve been committed to helping our creators and clients navigate rapidly changing circumstances by launching thecirqle.com/covid19 – a resource hub packed with free articles, insights and strategies for our users to take in.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Steven Lammertink: Unfortunately we’ve had to let several people go at the time the Covid-19 pandemic hit us, and we missed out on several client payments due to defaulting on their end. It’s really difficult to let people go and especially in the circumstances this dire that impact the whole world.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and The Cirqle in the future?
Steven Lammertink: I tend to sleep really well most of the days, so I’m fortunate to have that luck. Besides that, frequent exercise, visits to nature, and exciting new client calls or product developments help keep me sane. I also try to put things in perspective and compare against other less fortunate people who’ve been impacted much more than we’ve been hit. That perspective creates respect for what you have and is an important tool to reflect and appreciate what you have. Which, in turn, helps alleviates stress and anxiety.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Steven Lammertink: We have several competitors such as Whalar, Fohr and Indahash. We plan to stay in the game by continuously innovating and bringing the best new technologies to our clients while relentlessly focusing on delivering ROI.
Your final thoughts?
Steven Lammertink: Extremely daunting times bring really exciting opportunities too. And while most people deal with the shock of the crisis, this is the perfect time to re-engineer what you’re doing daily and re-think your strategies and spend time with friends.
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