Artjom Jekimtsev is CEO & Founder at Adverttu. How is a company that runs ads on the side of vehicles being affected by the pandemic? We caught up with Artjom to find out.
Please describe your job: What do you do?
I run Adverttu, the UK’s fastest growing transit media platform. We connect brands with people who, by turning their cars into roving adverts, earn passive income. Businesses with vans, HGVs, mopeds and e-cargo bikes use Adverttu to boost their bottom line as well.
People from all walks of life drive with us – from takeaway delivery drivers and NHS workers, to those with Ferraris and Porsches. I love the variety.
I founded the company, so my role is what you’d expect from a VC-backed adtech startup – lots of team management, creativity, technical development, and fun by the bucketload.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
I learned so much when helping to build Tesla’s UK market from the ground up, skills like leading cross-functional teams and new market development. And no, before you ask, unfortunately I didn’t ever meet Elon for more than a few minutes!
You really have to know your technology in a company like ours, we live and breathe data.
From a leadership perspective, I believe empathy, transparency and a great sense of humour are really important. Responsiveness and accessibility too. I’m there for my team whenever they need someone to lean on.
How has your typical day been impacted in the short term by the pandemic?
In some cases, massively. In others, not at all. Generally I start work early, hold meetings, then spread my attention between our commercial team, product development, marketing, and working with our advertisers and partners.
I wear many, many hats and my days are fluid – sometimes they go exactly as I expect where I’m firing on all cylinders, other times a new opportunity arises that we all plough into.
We move very quickly – think McLaren P1 rather than Fiat 500…
What are your favourite tools and techniques to help you get your work done at the moment?
Slack is utterly indispensable for team communication and Zoom’s great for meetings (when used securely). We also rely on Zoom to keep our team spirit sky high at a time like this – cooking classes, debate sessions, virtual book club and other fun activities. Well, fun if you ask me…
My secret sauce has to be Notion – it’s excellent for keeping an entire company organised. Very few businesses use a wiki for information sharing and I think they’re missing a trick.
Any time anyone needs to find something or check guidance, it’s on Notion. The more you add, the more streamlined your business becomes. Someone must take responsibility for the platform though, ensuring everything is updated and tidy.
Other favourite tools are Google Docs and Miro. Can you imagine how we’d have coped if the pandemic had happened only 10 years ago?
Which companies have impressed you since the outbreak?
So, so many – there have been some amazing examples of generosity from big and small companies alike. People are giving away services, offering cool incentives, helping local communities and rallying together to fight this virus together.
It’s really encouraging. Some of my favourites have been Pret and Disney.
What trends have you seen in the last few weeks in your sector?
Advertising is, by its very nature, exceptionally dynamic and reactive marketers across the industry have been firing on all cylinders. The world is changing hour-by-hour, so advertising has to reflect that and many brands have taken it upon themselves to bring some extra positivity to the world.
The mavericks have kicked into gear too – by that, I mean those who are unafraid of what’s going on and are committing to investing when most are more cautious.
What does long term planning and strategy look like now at your brand?
Business as normal. Our plan has always factored in the natural ups and downs of business as well as the inherent changeability of our industry.
Our message and value are extremely resilient – our business strategy simply flexes according to where demand is. I’m decisive as a person, so that helps us to adapt in the short-term while keeping our attention on what our ultimate goal is.
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
Delighting customers with top-class campaigns. Hearing positive stories from our drivers who really value the extra income, especially at this time. Adverttu is my pride and joy, I’ve put everything into it and it’s fantastic seeing our team succeed and the positive changes we’re making in out of home advertising.
As you can imagine, it’s an interesting time for us. Impressions have softened as people stay indoors (good, everyone needs to do that!), but our adtech means the cost of advertising with Adverttu goes down.
Now is a great time for brands to experiment with us. There will always be vehicles on the road and we’re championing those heroes venturing out for essential jobs – the NHS worker caring for elderly people, the Deliveroo driver feeding families or the guy down the road racking up the miles because he’s now an NHS Volunteer.
Advertising has always been affected by economic downturns, so that sometimes frustrates me, however situations like this one bring out the best in our team’s creativity and produce new opportunities.
We’re also running an amazing campaign where brands can sponsor the cars of NHS Volunteers to show their support. It’s an initiative I’m massively proud of.
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
‘Goal orientated’ is my middle name. I think it’s the secret to success. Everyone in Adverttu knows their individual goals, team KPIs and the company’s metrics. I report to our investors, so everything we do has to contribute to our agreed plan.
My personal goals revolve around commercial matters, growing the number of advertisers using Adverttu, and enticing more drivers to join our AdFleet. We’re closing in on 20,000 across the country.
My ultimate goal is to help people unlock new passive income while making out of home advertising as attributable, trackable and measurable as digital. Big dreams, I know…
How did you end up founding Adverttu, and where might you go from here?
I’ve always been a car and technology enthusiast, so perhaps Adverttu was always where I’d end up!
My co-founder and I were coding at University, creating a peer-to-peer car lending platform. Digital marketing was too competitive so we looked at out of home advertising.
Everyone we talked to struggled to provide us with accurate measurement data or offer a tangible return on investment. The advertising would have been stuck in one location or route too.
We took matters into our own hands, renting a car, printing leaflets and wrapping the car. This proved really successful, so we researched whether any companies were offering this service to brands and companies at scale and there weren’t any.
That’s when Adverttu was born!
And what a birth it was! Since then we’ve been commercialising: expanding our customer base, enhancing our platform and growing the team. We have international plans for the future but we’re also realistic. It’s important to scale sustainably.
What advice would you give a marketer right now?
Be bold. Accept that creativity cannot be measured in the same way digital can, especially at a time like this, however, do digitise whatever you can as it’ll free up your time when better times return and build you up as a well-rounded marketer. It’s a good time to invest in yourself.
Learn the power of great copy – clear communication is important too. Stay positive, adaptable and embrace change.
Work with people who believe in marketing – if you’re having to convince a stakeholder of its value from the outset, you’re already on the back foot.
Always have fun too! What’s the point otherwise?