Marketer Interviews

There's this weird thing about content as if we all need to do it for no reason what so ever other than - having content.

Alexander Sumin

Chief Marketing Officer at ClaimCompass

Learn more about Alexander's work at https://www.alexandersumin.com/

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Where are you working now, what is your role and how did you get here?

Alexander Sumin:

I'm a cofounder of a company which helps travelers get paid when airlines screw up their flights. Officially, I look after growth and marketing, but that varies depending on the fires we have to put out.
I guess one of the more interesting bits of our story is that when we first launched, late 2015, the three of us (cofounders) were based in three different locations: Berlin, Glasgow, and Montreal. We all had our full-time commitments and worked on ClaimCompass on weekends and nights. Believe it or not, we got some decent traction and got into 500 Startups. That's when it all changed and we moved out to California.

Prior to all that I worked for one of the larger chartered airlines in Montreal, did a bit of PR and Marketing at an agency in Berlin, and also worked for a couple of years as an analyst for the Canadian Federal Government.

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What is your favorite marketing area? (Social, SEO, Sales etc.)?

Alexander Sumin:

Every once in a while I'll get frustrated with pretty much everything, so that's tough to answer. I guess what I enjoy the most is gathering user feedback and transforming that into tangible product features and seeing the positive impact on both: the users and the business. And there's a lot that goes into that. My least favorite thing is seeing very high rates of users who come through paid channels and very low retention rates - it makes me feel nervous, that we're not under control and at the mercy of these third-party platforms.

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What are your favorite books?

Alexander Sumin:

Some of the books I've enjoyed are Hacking Growth, by Sean Ellis, most of Seth Godin's books, From Zero to One by Peter Thiel, Angel Investing by David Rose, Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore, Blue Ocean by Renee Mauborgne and W Chan Kim, and The Startup Way by Eric Ries.

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What marketing related blogs, magazines etc. do you read to keep your skills up to date?

Alexander Sumin:

I rarely do, but I think you can find most of the things you need to know in the blogs of Paul Graham, Andrew Chen, Brian Balfour. The First Round Review is also great, Social Capital's Essays as well. There's a ton of useful content out there, the challenge is to find the time to read it.

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How do you find good content?

Alexander Sumin:

Define good content.
There's this weird thing about content as if we all need to do it for no reason what so ever other than - having content.
To me, good content is that type of content that serves a particular purpose and does so, well. So if I want to rank for particular keywords, good content would be a piece on that topic that is high quality, gets traction and helps me rank higher.

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How do you get to know your target audience?

Alexander Sumin:

I love talking directly to users and understanding their priorities, issues, the way they view our solution, etc. So I guess it's a combination of a bunch of tools & Typeform, haha.

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What tools do you use for social marketing?

Alexander Sumin:

Our social is pretty much running paid ads, so Facebook Business Manager and a bit of Buffer.

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What tools do you use for analytics?

Alexander Sumin:

Mixpanel and Google Analytics.

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What CRM tools do you use?

Alexander Sumin:

A big chunk of our back-end product is actually a custom quasi-CRM that we've built, so we don't use anything external.

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What's your #1 advice for people starting to get into marketing?

Alexander Sumin:

If you're an absolute beginner, start doing things. Like, write an article, publish it somewhere and try driving traffic to it. See if that's something that you really want to do. There's a ton of available resources out there.

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