Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Ekrem Dupanović
We rarely have the opportunity to talk to some of the major technology companies in our region, because there are not many of them. That’s why we jumped at the opportunity to talk about Infobip, the technological giant from Vodnjan, Croatia. The immediate occasion for our talk was the rebranding of Infobip, but we touched upon other marketing topics as well, and how marketing works in tech companies. Regardless of whether it’s because these technologies are quickly conquering the world, or because of the vision of the founders of Infobip, the fact is that the most ambitious company of the Adriatic region is growing in Vodnjani
If you’ve ever received a message through WhatsApp, Uber, Viber or Strava – it probably went through Infobip’s platform that currently reaches up to 4, 5 billion people around the world! The company that was founded in Istria’s Vodnjan by Izabel Jelenić and Silvio Kutić, who were later joined by Roberto Kutić (recently declared the winners of EY Entrepreneur of the Year in Croatia) today has 1500 employees in six continents and cooperates with the world’s largest companies.
Infobip allows companies to deliver messages via any channel and device, at any time and anywhere in the world. Infobip’s technology enables seamless mobile interaction between business entities and individuals and simplifies the integration of almost all forms of communication. Through over ten years of industry experience, Infobip has expanded to 61 offices and six continents, offering its proprietary communications platform that can reach over seven billion devices in more than 190 countries, connected through 800 telecom networks. Infobip also cooperates or has partnerships with leading mobile operators, messaging apps, banks, social networks, tech companies and aggregators.
At the end of February, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, a new visual identity of the Infobip was introduced, incorporating a new design, new logo and a new brand claim – Worlds Connected. The rebrand reflects the vision of a company that connects physical worlds through Infobip’s global presence and local reach and connects the “worlds” of various communication channels, enabling Infobip’s clients to deliver memorable user experiences.
New visual identity is the result of the work of an internal design team in collaboration with Fabular agency, which developed the new logo. It’s a holistic brand, easy to apply and recognizable all over the world.
As a reflection of the ever-changing communicational landscape and Infobip’s growth, the new visual identity highlights the communications platform that is at the heart of Infobip, and its key role in the global communications ecosystem.
We talked about the rebranding, the position, and the impact of marketing in a tech company like Infobip with Sanja Buterin, Marketing Director at Infobip.
MM: Why the rebrand now?
Sanja Buterin: We opted for a rebrand now because Infobip has developed very quickly over time, following the changes in technology, in global economy and changes in market relations. We started in a very niche area – SMS – and since the early 2006 to date, we have greatly expanded the range of communication channels we offer, introducing many new products and solutions. It was simply time for our brand to show the transformation and evolution of Infobip and the influence Infobip has had throughout our industry over years through new logo and new visual identity. A rebrand isn’t just introducing a new logo, it’s a serious strategic upgrade. We’ve been thinking about what rebranding means for a long time, so this project also applies to clear communication platforms. We’ve also changed the tone-of-voice in our communications. We started as engineers, which we still are, but we realized over time that if we only talked about our products an average manager will not always understand us. Therefore, it was very important for us to speak a customer-centric language, ie. a language that will put the customer’s needs in the centre of communication, unlike product-centric communication that focuses on the features of the product itself. We want to move our communication towards the message that we have a solution that can solve your business challenges. This is a very important part of rebranding that is not just a story about a new logo.
Earlier we had a very narrow target group which we addressed. Now, it is much, much wider. We talk to bankers, we talk to retailers, we talk to huge companies like Uber. Each of them has different business challenges, and for each of them you need to create a specific message about what Infobip is and what it can do for them – how it can solve certain problems for them.
MM: What is the role of marketing in a company with so many diverse clients and specific challenges?
Sanja Buterin: In principle, the role of marketing is to explain all the products and solutions we have so that a client can understand what we are offering – that is, what kind of challenges we can help solve using our solutions. That’s a big challenge. We must have a special story for everyone. How we talk to our fellow developers who are decision makers and users of our services, how we talk to a CMO from a large bank because they use a different vocabulary in everyday communication, and who have different business challenges as well… It is very interesting to find the ways how to structure this message in a way that the person you are addressing will understand it – that it is not too technical and is not banal, but simply easy to understand and accept. This is endlessly interesting, but in no way easy.
MM: At which stage does the marketing jump in? Are you involved in formation of a new product that needs to be placed on the market, or do you for example get a bank as a client and then as marketing service you communicate with developers on how to explain to bankers what it is that you offer them.
Sanja Buterin: We talk to colleagues from product development from the very beginning of the product development phase, after we had previously talked with our clients and salespeople and realized what their problem is. We appear very early at the very beginning of development. We get the information on client’s needs and the colleagues from product development immediately invite us to a meeting so we could know from the very beginning how they come up with ideas, how ideas will be implemented and what will they solve. We do so in order to have enough time to build a communication strategy. These are not products that are solved in a month. Our solutions sometimes need more time to be developed, which leaves us plenty of time to learn the basics and how to communicate it to the market.
MM: Developers are a world of their own. How do they accept marketing?
Sanja Buterin: They are the core of our business. Without our developers, there would be no platform, and the platform is the heart of Infobip – it is the foundation that everything rests on. What’s great about our developers is that they “tolerate” marketing, although you’d be hard pressed to find a developer who is crazy about marketing. We don’t expect that they love us, but they do tolerate us and our questions. That’s great, and that’s that special Infobip culture. Whenever I ask our developer or any other colleague something, they take their time to explain it to me. They understand that this channel is needed to tell our story. We all want the story of Infobip to be known much better and much wider than it is now.
MM: You alleviate quite a burden from their backs, because if there wasn’t for you, they would have to communicate with clients directly, and clients can be difficult to handle sometimes.
Sanja Buterin: We have an entire level of sales, product marketing and pre-sales. We have colleagues who are engineers and who go together with colleagues from sales to present the solutions to clients. This is a technologically demanding phase that no sales expert can handle alone. Developers are basically those who make it happen, and the rest of us do sales. Developers are in high demand around the world, and they are really hard to come by. But what surprises me is that we also find it hard to find people in marketing too. OK, I’m aware that we are looking for special people with experience in international marketing, B2B and IT marketing and with excellent English knowledge because we do everything in English. What’s great about Infobip is that we don’t have a problem with hiring a junior, because we have developed a great education system. We have an academy in Vodnjan which is the best on boarding system I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been working in marketing for 25 years. Even if you don’t have any experience in our industry, in two weeks, which is how long the program lasts, you can really go through everything, absolutely everything about the history of Infobip, how the company works and about the products that we have. We are simply aware that today it is hard to get ‘finished’ workers, so we have developed an excellent system dedicated to potential talents, to support them and empower them for quality work. And even with all of this, it is still a major problem to find quality staff, and staff in general.
Right now we are looking for copywriters, digital designers, designers and I can’t find them easily. I’ve been employing people for twenty years now, and we all have the same problems, but I don’t remember finding quality staff ever being harder. We have a system of benefits in place. We have an office in Sarajevo with great quality staff. From this office we run the MENA region. There I have some people from my team. I also have my team members in Colombia, Brazil, London, New Jersey … One great thing in Infobip for me is that I can hire people from any part of the globe, because we have 61 offices around the world. There’s never a dull moment in the search for staff.
MM: What are the goals of Infobip in the foreseeable future?
Sanja Buterin: We have a great goal – we want 100% of humankind to have at least some form of interaction with our services! As of now, we have achieved that almost 70% of world’s population has some form of contact with our services. We will reach our goal with constant technological development. We are currently doing projects for IoT, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence …, there’s no stopping when it comes to technology. We don’t want to be followers – we want to be leaders. We want to turn Vodnjan into a Tech City, a Silicon Valley in Istria. We want top engineers to come here, to bring their families, and to talk about how they will change technology and the entire world at Saturday morning coffee, in Vodnjan.
We have a vision, and we need people. In the next two years we intend to employ 1000 developers and 1000 presales engineers throughout the globe. It would be nice if we could employ half of them in Croatia.