Haralds Gabrans Zukovs, Head of Marketing at Credolab, explains how through understanding how individuals use their smart devices, marketing teams can create campaigns optimised towards personality traits. He also describes how the additional insight can enhance marketing personas.

Haralds and Mike also discuss machine learning and AI, their impacts, benefits, and limitations.

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Transcript: Interview with Haralds Gabrans Zukovs – Credolab

Speakers: Mike Maynard, Haralds Gabrans Zukovs

Mike: Thanks for listening to marketing B2B Tech, the podcast from Napier, where you can find out what really works in B2B marketing today.

Welcome to marketing B2B technology, the podcast from Napier. Today I’m joined by Haralds Gabrans Zukovs. Harold’s is the Head of Marketing at Credolab. Welcome to the podcast. Harold’s.

Haralds: Thank you. I’m very happy to be here.

Mike: It’s great to have you on the podcast. So we’d like to start off by asking our guests about their career journey. So can you tell me about your career and why you decided to join Credolab?

Haralds: Yeah, well, my career started like some time ago, I, when I was in high school, I actually started a project with my classmate. And it was about the tourist citing places. And I started as a copywriter. And then I slowly moved into social media. And kind of my interest grew through the years and from copywriting and social media, I moved into digital marketing and marketing in general. And then I quite quickly moved to B2B because I understood that I like to work and market with products that are not that easily to market that maybe not everyone would take a challenge like that. So I just started to enjoy working with products and industries that not many would find easily to market.

Mike: That’s I mean, that’s interesting. So you enjoy the challenge of B2B which I love because I think B2B is more difficult, but also far more interesting than consumer. So you obviously joined Credolab? I mean, what did you see about the company that excited you?

Haralds: Yeah, well, I guess, you know, before the crypto lab, I worked in an open banking industry. And at that time, when I worked in that industry, it was still developing, it was still trying to prove its worth. And then when I started like conversations about joining the Credolab, I saw a similar thing. Because like alternative data or behavioural analytic data, it’s still something like it’s very useful. But maybe the audience still needs some educating to do to understand the value of that and how to integrate it into their products. So I just saw another challenge to take on.

Mike: That’s interesting. And I mean, you’ve hinted a bit at what Credolab does, but do you want to explain what the product does?

Haralds: Yeah, so we basically how risk fraud and marketing teams to take better decisions with advanced behavioural analytics that are based on smartphone and web metadata.

So we basically analyse millions of data points. And with those data points, companies can take better decision, whether it’s for risk related things for fraud related things, or marketing related things.

Mike: That’s interesting. So you’re actually using this process of gathering data to actually do a couple of things. I mean, you know, one is looking at risk and fraud, but the other is to actually mark it. So are you taking basically the same data and using it to inform both sides of the business?

Haralds: Like for each of the for each of the products, the data is quite the way we take date is the same. But then the way what we do with that data is a bit different, but still the decision and how the companies interpret that data is on them. But all of the data that’s taken from the interactions with your like smartphone or web, yeah, it’s like, interpret that in modules that companies can use.

Mike: So that’s interesting. I like to know, you know, what the sort of processes for a company to take data and analyse it? I mean, what are they doing, for example, in marketing, to make use of your data to make those marketing decisions?

Haralds: So we build personas by looking at the apps any user has on the smartphone without knowing the identity of that user. And we look at how organised someone is in saving for example, Contacts, Calendar, events, or anything else that they do on their smartphone. And like for example, do you save different phone numbers belonging to one unfriend under one single, or joint contact or rather John one, John two or John three? Like do you schedule meetings regularly? Or not? How many people are in your meetings? Even? How do you charge your phone? Like, how much battery life do you have for your phone at which time and when? And like, like, we can really help our clients understand their users in a very granular way without compromising data protection, and always complying with the privacy laws.

Mike: So that’s interesting, you’re almost using the way someone interacts with their smartphone, to kind of uncover their personality. Is that Is that a fair summary?

Haralds: Um, yeah, yeah, we kind of helped like, but not only the smartphone, also the web, the web.

But I think for the marketing product, it’s, it’s interesting that yeah, we can uncover the personality of the of this person, and then help the company to take better actions and better decisions in into their marketing, like, teams based on this information.

Mike: And so there you’d see someone who’s, you know, very organised and very methodical about how they’re doing it, you know, perhaps responding to a different campaign, to someone who’s perhaps more spontaneous, or maybe less organised. And, you know, you’d see marketing teams customising their campaigns for those sort of personas, Is that Is that how it works?

Haralds: Yeah, you can basically take that data and then customise your images, text approaches, you know, because I think based on people personality, they react differently to different materials, which you see online or receive in your email or like, you know, consume in any way. It is basically based on your personality. So with that data, it might give you additional insight on what exactly to do with it.

Mike: And is this something you know, an approach you’re using when you do marketing is trying to understand the personality of people in a B2B process? Because I think traditionally, B2B personas have been around job roles and you assume, for example, every accountant is very organised and logical, even though obviously, that’s not going to be the case.

Haralds: Well, yeah, and B2B, it’s a bit different than b2c in B2B. You have to think not only about the buyer personas about the ideal customer profiles, but you have to think about the organisation. And then how each of these job titles, because if you’re talking about the job titles, how they fit into that process, and then how to work with them. It might like if we compare the B2B and b2c On one hand, it is more complicated to target them and to get what they want, at the right moment in the right place, but another hand, sometimes the b2c is more challenging, because even if it’s easier to target the right people with the right message at the right time, the value you get out of that not always is as big as from the B2B side. So each side has its own challenges.

Mike: That makes that makes a lot of sense. You know, in terms of you know, we talked about personas a bit, and I think it might be worth delving a bit deeper into personas. How do you go about building personas when you’re doing B2B marketing?

Haralds: It’s actually one of the cornerstones I start with, you know, every join company. I do deep research on personas, trying to talk with the management with the salespeople with the customer success people, like everyone I can, and even with the clients to get as much information as possible to build profiles to understand what are their jobs to be done, how we can help them succeed, then to understand what to do on a sales and marketing side to deliver them not just ads or content, but try to deliver them a better experience when they interact with us.

Mike: That’s so interesting. I mean, other campaigns you’ve run where you can actually see that you’ve had different approaches for different personas. And that’s really worked there any examples in your career, you could bring out that show this benefit of really focusing down on personas.

Haralds: I think that the best approach that we have run you know if you for example, see that your product is being used by more than one industry. And I have compared what happens if you lounge, a generalise campaign for all of the industries, but like telling that this product can help you in this way, or what happens if you segment deeper and target the industries with an industry specific message, usually the industry specific message performs a lot better for the emails, also for the ads, because if you can speak in their language with an ad read the problem that that specific individual maybe in the Account Based Marketing space, or if you have a marginalised campaign, for example, in the industry, space has not only in theory, but on also on the practical side, it has a lot higher chances to succeed. Of course, there have been exceptions from time to time. But in most cases, the campaigns that target deeper and have been created more based on what these industries or account types need succeed a lot more.

Mike: That makes a lot of sense. Harold’s I think I think I can, you know, see that. But obviously, creating these campaigns takes a lot of time. I guess I have to ask the artificial intelligence question. I mean, a lot of people are looking at AI to help them with marketing at the moment. And clearly when you’re looking to segment and personalise, there’s a hope that AI can really drive that, is that something you believe is going to happen? And is that something you’ve seen being used yet, either with Credolab or anywhere else?

Haralds: Well, if we talk about the marketing, I myself think that artificial intelligence like it can’t yet do the job that you need to do. But what it can do, it’s a really big help to speed up like the starting brainstorming or templating processes on which then you can build upon, because in a lot of cases, it takes quite a lot of time to come up with something from scratch. But if you have already some kind of filler, or some kind of a template that you know, that is into the right direction, but still means work, it’s already a better starting point than just like starting from scratch. So in my perspective, at least at the moment from the AI that I have seen, for the pocketing, I would say that that’s the best approach. And if we talk about the cradle up as a product, we don’t really use AI, but we use machine learning algorithms, because using AI presents a few challenges. Like for a start, if you ingest bad, or garbage data, your your output will be garbage results. So basically, it means what data you input that kind of data you get out. So it’s also a bit difficult to explain the outcome of an AI model. So So yeah, so that’s why our products are basically built on machine learning, not AI.

Mike: So you’re learning around the data that you’ve gathered, rather than trying to create a more general purpose AI. Is that is that the distinction?

Haralds: Yeah, well, we have we feel like it’s like a learning based thing that learns on a lot of data points and then tries to like, help find what actions and what like what needs to be done, you know? So it’s, it’s like, it’s like a better approach.

Mike: Yeah, I mean, that that makes a lot of sense. And I know, I’ve seen chat GPT produced some, some very strange and completely inaccurate responses when I’ve asked the questions. And so I think a lot of companies are going to have to build their own machine learning models based upon data they can trust. So that that makes a lot of sense in terms of what Credolab is doing. Yeah, well, I have used DBT a bit myself and I, the thing that usually its downfall in most of the cases has been When, however, it mentioned some kind of data. When you check it, you can trust it because you find out that it’s not a real data. So so yeah. Yeah, I was very disappointed, actually. I mean, I don’t know if listeners know, but one of my hobbies is speed skating. And for a short while, chat GPT thought I was an international speed skater. And it was very disappointing now that it says it doesn’t know me anymore. But yeah, the data that goes in is is really key in terms of training those models. I agree.

Let’s switch back and talk a bit more about marketing. I mean, you talked about AI and being a great way to cure writer’s block. If you use AI, you can actually get something you can start working on, you’re not faced with a blank page. I love that analogy. I’m interested in terms of the the different areas of marketing you’ve worked on. I mean, which are the areas that you’ve enjoyed the most?

Haralds: Yeah, well, I guess I enjoyed the most like ads, especially the LinkedIn ads, email, then I like working with the flip side, some conversion rates, like with websites structure, and then I enjoy a lot working with automation and CRMs, and a bit of our technical integration tool stuff. So I mean, all of those, I guess, are areas that AI could have a significant impact in on in the future.

Well, if it becomes better at what it does, then most likely, but it really depends on there is always, you know, there’s, like always the right tool for the right job.

Mike: So it’s just a question, can you find that right tool for the right job that you want to do?

And obviously, I mean, a lot of the stuff you’re talking about is digital. I mean, that’s relatively new in the world of marketing, you know, maybe the last 10 to 20 years, if we look at some of that. I mean, do you think marketing is gonna keep changing as quickly as we’ve seen in the last few years, as we look forward into the future?

Haralds: Well, if the AI really gets to the point, as you’re saying that it can do a lot more stuff than now, then I think it will accelerate even more. Because you know, in marketing, it’s all about how quick can you do things? How quick can you brainstorm and put out new things to test and learn and move forward quicker. So if that, like, if the speed of the technology increases, then most likely the speed of the marketing will increase as well.

Mike: That sounds a bit of a challenge. I mean, if if you were talking to a young person who was maybe thinking about a course to take at university, I mean, would you recommend marketing as a career? Do you think it’s still going to be exciting and rewarding in the next few years?

Haralds: As I said, that really depends, like I like it’s hard to predict. But in general, I think marketing won’t disappear, at least not yet. Because even though if you could use the AI, it still means somebody who understands what they are getting, like not only inputting but also getting from the output and understand if that’s valuable or not. So I would say that for now, it looks like that, yeah, the marketing is still an exciting place to be, maybe some smaller parts of the marketing will change. Like, you know, I don’t know, the research will become faster. So maybe you won’t have to spend so much time on the research data and analytics, I would imagine will become easier, faster to do than just like going through the sheets, or something like that. So of course, there will be changes. But in general, I think, still, for now, the direction looks like that, it will be that you still need that person who knows what is going on? Who checks if the thing that you are doing actually work or not.

Mike: And that’s great to hear you’ve got such a positive view of the future. And it sounds like actually, some of the things technology is going to do is to remove some of the less fun work. And I have to say whilst analytics is super important, sometimes actually doing that number crunching is not as fun, is it?

No, no. And sometimes it just eat up your time. And then you’ll think, oh my god, I just loved so much time just to come to this conclusion, and I need to restart the testing phase. So I’m basically back to square one. But at least I learned that thing, but But yeah,

Mike: I have another question. Actually, Harold’s one of the things we always like to ask people is about the best bit of marketing advice. So what was the best bit of marketing advice you’ve ever been given?

Haralds: Like the best bit was, there are like, for me, at least there are no problems or issues without solutions. Like you know, if you can’t find a solution, at least at that moment, that it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist at all, even if nobody has discovered it. So, this advice like has shaped my mindset and approach towards challenging situations in marketing. So I always try to find, as I said the right

Like tool or the right solution for the job that you need to do, and I have found that there always is one, maybe just at that moment you can’t see it or like, you need to dig deeper.

Mike: So another positive view of things which is which is great to hear. Harold’s I really appreciate the time you’ve spent on the podcast it’s been really interesting and, and actually inspiring because I think, you know, you see a lot of positives in the future of marketing, which is great. If people want to contact you or find out more about Credolab, what’s the best way to get in touch?

Haralds: So yeah, well, they could find me on LinkedIn platform as handled governance glucose or by searching Credolab on the thing. And then like finding me through the people’s section, or visit the website and going to Credolab website and our website is quite calm. So you can go out and check out and see what we can do.

Mike: That’s brilliant. Harold, you’ve been a great guest. Thank you so much for being on the podcast.

Thanks so much for listening to marketing B2B Tech. We hope you enjoyed the episode. And if you did, please make sure you subscribe on iTunes, or on your favourite podcast application. If you’d like to know more, please visit our website at Napier B2B dot com or contact me directly on LinkedIn.