This week the eagerly anticipated Performance Marketing Insights: Europe agenda was released and programmatic promises to be one of the hot topics at the conference this June.
Ahead of his session in Berlin, Mendel told us about how YD maintains its competitive edge, gave us tips for startups looking to raise investment and discussed the next big innovation in display.
Programmatic marketing technology companies are gaining a lot of attention at the moment. How can YD stay ahead/fend off rival companies?
Mendel Senf: While there are a lot of technologies in the space, no one does a better job of understanding unique business models than we do. Instead of simply serving up ads through RTB exchanges and doing standard retargeting campaigns via cookie tracking, we dive into the CRM data of our clients and make sense out of it in order to reactivate lost customers and increase retention rates all the while boosting CLV and directly driving revenue. We guide advertisers through the entire quantified online marketing journey, delivering full-funnel service from branding and sales acquisition to customer retention and reactivation.
You primarily work with industry clients in the travel and telecoms space, do you plan on branching out to other sectors this year?
MS: We tend to gravitate towards business models that house a lot of first-party data, so that we can provide the highest performing campaigns possible for our clients. Other areas we’re looking to grow are the automotive and financial industries. Theses sectors have very unique buying cycles and customer data that could benefit from our ability to ingest data and turn it into actionable results.
Naturally, the company’s €4.6 million worth of funding in September 2013 provided a huge boost to the company. How has this money been spent?
MS: Already having a stronghold on the Dutch market as well as other European markets, we’re continuing our international growth. With our new CEO Thomas Triscari onboard, we’re looking to expand to the U.S. market while furthering our European footprint by making several key commercial hires.
The company’s HQ is in Amsterdam, but you live in Berlin. Why the change of location for you and why is Berlin deemed such a great city for startups?
MS: I moved to Berlin in order to grow the business. First off, one of our investors Partech Ventures is based in Berlin, and actually, their office is just down the road from ours. Making the move was instrumental in securing Series-A funding. It’s extremely difficult – nearly impossible – to receive funding within the Netherlands. Secondly, I wanted to oversee the development of our German office because Germany is a key market for us to further penetrate.
Berlin is a great startup city because of its low operating costs – in comparison to New York, London, Paris or even Amsterdam – and continues to evolve with a number of incubator and accelerator programs popping up along with a steady increase in venture capital being pumped into the city. Also its fusion of art, culture and diversity give it a great talent pool to draw from as people from all over the world encompassing many unique backgrounds are drawn to the city. In Amsterdam it is difficult to find the right people because they don’t understand challenges like they do in Berlin.
What are your top five tips for the aspiring startup looking to raise investment?
MS: 1. Sacrifice - If you are serious about building a business and getting to the point to where you can attract funding, you need to make it a top priority in your life. There will be a lot of blood, sweat and tears involved.
2. Focus - You won’t be walking down the street and suddenly find money falling from the sky. If you want funding, you need to make a concerted effort to go out and get it. This might mean that other parts of your business suffer momentarily, but the ends certainly justify the means.
3. Sleep Deprivation - Throughout the process, you are going to lose a lot of sleep and have a lot of restless nights as you mull over all the possibilities and difficult decisions that need to be made in order to secure funding.
4. Scalability - In order to attract the eyes of investors you must have a business model in place that is scalable. Current profit margins don’t interest investors as much as high growth potential does.
5. International Presence - We live in an age of globalisation therefore investors look for companies with a serious international footprint. It’s important to first secure your local market, but then expand your focus.
Programmatic buying is here and seeing rapid uptake, what do you think is going to be the next big innovation in display?
MS: I see two things developing here. The first is that programmatic buying will continue to evolve to encompass other forms of online advertising such as video and interstitials as well as become more prominent on more platforms. As more publishers adopt real-time bidding we will see more and more of today’s media buying becoming automated replacing standard insertion orders. Additionally, programmatic will become all-encompassing as it’s gaining a greater presence on social media from the likes of Facebook and Twitter and on mobile (both in-app and on the web).
The second thing I see is further integration between standard display advertising and content. With Native Advertising becoming a growing trend, a number of brands are becoming publishers themselves now that the audience is control. Look for a marriage between advertising and publishing, which will open up new possibilities in communications.
What are you expecting to see as the hottest topic at Performance Marketing Insights, in Berlin this June?
MS: I expect transparency and deep first-party data integration to be a hot topic. Advertisers have been clamouring for more clarity when it comes to programmatic marketing, but no agencies or ad tech companies have been able to truly deliver. Transparency and deep first-party data integration are those things that everyone talks about, few people actually practice and no one knows how to do, but everyone wants it.
If you would like to hear Mendel speaking on day one in Berlin there is an Earlybird ticket rate available until April 30, offering the chance of saving up to 300€ on a full conference pass. Visit the Performance Marketing Insights website for more information.