The Operational and Psychological Growth of a Marketing Agency as Explained by Sergey Bazanov

July 15, 2020

Sergey Bazanov carries years of experiential learning as a marketer. Here he shares some interesting information about his company Adsbalance and his role as the VP of Marketing.

Full Interview

1. Sergey, first of all, thanks for sharing your time with MobileAppDaily. Can you give an insight into your professional journey in the marketing industry to our readers?   

I started my marketing career something about 9 years ago, all of which can be divided into 5 stages. 

Stage 1: SEO optimization and websites monetization (Google Adsense), selling links, etc. 
Stage 2: Creating e-shops of my own, PPC advertising, classifieds. 
Stage 3: I turned to CPA and affiliate marketing, growing expertise in targeted ads, teaser, in-app traffic. 
Stage 4: The fourth stage was marked by starting a company to market our own products (digital services and home shopping).
Stage 5 (and ongoing): Building the best international mobile marketing company in Russia, based on all of the expertise I and my co-founder gathered throughout the years.

2. When and what led to the formation of Adsbalance? Can you briefly describe the concept on which it is based?

We felt the need for a fast, lean and creative agency aspiring to be really big to comply with the needs of the market giants.

3. What are your roles and responsibilities as the VP Advertising of Adsbalance? 

Strategy and business enterprise. Shaping the company structure and business processes and well as introducing and trying new ones. Hiring, adapting, teaching the new employees, growth hacking, any kinds of inter-department communication and resource planning, efficiency optimization, risk management.

4. Adsbalance was the first-ever company to sell TikTok ads in Russia. How tough was the project for you, considering you were the first one to do so in Russia? 

There was a deal of uncertainty at the stage of the agreement. We didn’t know the audience's special features, the performance forecasts were good, but they were still forecasts, and we sort of committed to TikTok sales. That meant we had to find the interested clients regardless. The first two campaigns alleviated our concerns, so we didn’t have to suffer the obscurity that long.

 Sergey Bazanov

5. Today, influencer marketing has become a go-to pick for globally renowned brands. Due to this, we have witnessed a surge in the usage of influencer tools. What is your view on that? 

The influencers and opinion leaders have existed from the dawn of civilization. Images and authorities sold stuff, and this worked in the traditional ads, which still resort to a famous face in a campaign instead of a generalized image of happiness or whatever they sell. The novelty of influencer marketing of the 2020s is the possibility to make it 100% measurable and performance-based, so it’s just another working approach”

In my experience, influencer marketing is the most efficient communication channel for plenty of verticals. The market is still growing exponentially and I expect further growth: not only volumes but also tech sophistication: measurability, automation tools, the whole process simplified and “let out of the BlackBox”.

6. Adsbalance owns an impressive portfolio featuring more than 200 satisfied clients to date. Which has been the most challenging project for Adsbalance since you took over as the VP Advertising? 

We cannot tell you what the hardest in terms of media buying project was. It either works or works after you put a load of hard work into it, or it’s not worth the effort. Communication and management are often harder than the user acquisition process itself. For example, we took a risk to persuade Stoloto to be among the first to try the mentioned Tiktok, and their managers weren’t completely sure the app had their target audience. After all, it was a success (the case study is here, and the translated version is here), but had we failed, they wouldn’t trust us their user acquisition any longer, at least there was such chance.

In fact, we have several huge eCommerce projects and each of them is a great challenge because it’s millions of downloads and the according to number of paying users just to “keep up with the Joneses”

That kind of amounts of traffic requires using all possible traffic sources, even the less efficient ones because you need all the audience you can get. That is why we keep a close eye on all of the existing anti-fraud solutions on the market and have our own fraud specialist whose responsibility is to establish an additional level of security and transparency on our side and keep it up to date because cheaters don’t rest and are equally wicked and resourceful.

Sergey Bazanov

7. We have noticed that Adsbalance provides special free strategy consultancy for their clients as well as an education program for the buying team. What was your main idea behind this? How can emerging startups integrate such programs?

Of course, it all started with trying to be nice to our future clients. Also, to show some expertise and build trust. If a person agrees to be given a piece of third-party advice on strategy, and it’s an insight, the “how come I didn’t come up with the idea myself thing, I think we all agree it builds trust instantly. “How many insights can those guys give to you if even the first, free and minimal research-based opinion hits the bullseye?

Apart from this, we use it as an opportunity for research, the opportunity to understand the pains and goals of our potential clients more deeply.

Regarding the educational program: we believe that sharing (the expertise) is caring, the newcomers are thankful for the additional chance to learn, the old-timers strengthen their knowledge base and learn because teaching is learning (we also join forces with fellow projects sometimes). Also, this is a bridge between the working environment where the however flexible chain of command exists and the informal after-work activities, and this is meant to build stronger bonds between our team members.

8. Apart from your education program, what other values do you prioritize at Adsbalance? How are these values important when it comes to meeting your client expectations? 

We have decided to state our values and mission officially quite recently, but now we can say that we are here to make our client’s products accessible to the whole world because of our hard work and creativity. We want our clients to hand in all of the promotion work into the hands of those who do care and can prove it with deeds.

Speaking of team values, we encourage our team members to be bold and daring yet responsible, always aspiring to be as involved as they could be, intending to grow personally, professionally and as a company.

9. Would you like to share some valuable insights regarding the business model being followed by Adsbalance? How do you think this business model will hold in the coming two years? 

Well, if I say that we’re relatively big and still praise the lean startup model: in my opinion, we are super-lean and adjust our goals and the ways of accessing them quite often.

We have recently introduced the OKR (objectives and key results) framework for business planning and it works well so far; we have always measured our progress by the most vital metrics and general growth, but a systematic approach helps the navigation and mutual understanding of what’s going on at all levels of the power structure, juniors to middle and top management. 

Also, I’d like to mention the use of the OODA loop (observe–orient–decide–act): it helps us sort out the operations and lower the management stress level. Research is king!

10. Your journey as VP advertising must’ve given you a steady learning curve in the marketing industry. Would you like to share some dos and don’ts for our readers that are comparatively new to the industry?

Basically, it’s the same piece of advice I could and do give to our employees: the most vital question is not “how do I get my job done” and not even “ how do I reach this goal”, but “Where does this goal lead me to?”. 

Think globally, don’t stick to one workplace and company - the market certainly grows faster than some of the companies. 

Be open for new information and be ready to gather and share the expertise from the people you interact with, from your colleagues and competitors, from conferences and seminars, both online and offline.
If you aim high, do not abandon your soft skills and management skills, moving in this direction is better than finding yourself ready to rule by right of expertise and unfit by everything else (which is quite a lot of stuff).

Some say the traditional time management is obsolete, but, in my opinion, it takes a great deal of time, effort and success to reach the level where it becomes not necessary, so, before you reach the level, do not leave it behind!

Key Takeaways

  1. Sergey Bazanov’s role as the VP Advertising of Adsbalance is shaping the company structure and business processes along with personnel training. It also includes resource planning, efficiency optimization, risk management.
  2. According to him, influencer marketing is the most important channel for a lot of verticals.
  3. Sergey believes that communication and management are most of the times more difficult than the user acquisition process itself.
  4. Adsbalance provides complimentary strategic advice to their clients and educational programs for the buying team. It uses this opportunity for research purposes which includes comprehending the needs and objectives of its clients.
  5. The company yearns for its employees to be goal-oriented, daring, and responsible.
  6. Adsbalance business model has the OKR framework for assessing key metrics and growth. 
  7. OODA is a psychological loop to sort out operational functions and control the management stress levels. 
Twinkle <span>Product Strategist</span>
Written By

She is a writer and content marketer at MobileAppDaily. Her knack around the mobile apps is merely splendid. Her experience in the tech industry has assisted her in churning out the best and more importantly, unbiased mobile app reviews.


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