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Fireside chat with Sascha Stürze

Who is Sascha?

I am a husband, father and I guess I like to be on stage. My career as a member of a Britrock band (www.balloonheads.de) never even deserved the term “career” so I traded the musical stage for the entrepreneurial stage in 2006 already. Since then, I have (co-)founded a total of 8 Marketing Analytics start-ups. We successfully exited 2, we successfully bankrupted another 2 and the remaining 4 are growing double-digit and profitably. At one of them – Analyx – I am serving as CPO.

Tell us more about your role in Analyx®

As Chief Product Officer, I am mainly responsible for developing and executing the product vision for our SpendWorx solution for agile marketing budget allocation (https://analyx.com/solution/). Large corporate advertising spenders like Swisscom or Commerzbank are using the solution regularly to increase revenue by >1% at constant marketing budgets by smart budget reallocation across their whole portfolio of brands, product groups, media channels and even countries.

Besides my CPO role I also enjoy being something like the “Chief Evangelist” (although I don’t fancy this title a lot) for the concept of data-driven agile budgeting. I do conference engagements, I have co-authored a book on Agile Marketing Performance Management and enjoy the occasional Fireside chat.

What is the most difficult part of your job? But the most rewarding one?

Thinking about insightful responses to questions like this 😉

Seriously: It’s probably most difficult to convince a wide group of skeptical corporate decision makers (incl. CMO and CFO at the same table) to invest sizeable resources into deploying our solution in the first place in order to receive outcomes based on econometric models that many of them do not understand in detail.

It is highly rewarding when this succeeds and you see how a major company moves around significant amounts of advertising money based on the results of our work in 7 countries across 5 timezones.

Is there anything that you would change about your professional path?

In my early days as an entrepreneur around 2006-2010 I was trying to achieve too many things in parallel and kept juggling with too many balls at the same time. Looking back I think that despite all the merits of modern technology there is a virtue in a serial approach in the sense of “doing one thing right and then the next thing right”. In addition, I think I should have brought professional Managers like our CEO Claudio Righetti much earlier into the company.

What’s your key strategy for the development of your company?

If I had to name one it is probably a version of “Land & Expand”: Somehow gain the trust of a major client to go with you despite an immature product, make them 1000% happy without losing sight of product scalability, then learn, learn, learn and grow with their success.

What do you think about the next period of time, keeping in mind the pandemic and the new business climate? How will your industry be affected?

Our work is often paid out of Marketing budgets which typically come under scrutiny to deliver savings first especially in times of recession and inflationary pressure. I expect this pressure to remain high throughout 2023. However, more and more CMOs are looking for solutions like ours to provide data-driven answers regarding the impact (also the long-term impact) of budget cuts. They understand that “30% across the board” is usually a worse idea than precision medicine to protect brand health while still delivering cost savings.

Please name a few technologies which have the greatest impact on your business.

  • Development frameworks that allow to deploy Marketing Mix Modeling AT SCALE
  • Advancements in Computing Hardware (CPUs / GPUs) that allow us to provide complex Marketing Optimization as a self-service software to Corporate Decision Makers
  • Collaboration software that allow us to work truly global in hybrid setups

What books do you have on your nightstand?

As I have a 10 month daughter, my main reading is currently not the latest Marketing book. In the 10 minutes before I fall asleep – I read “What’s going on in there?” by the gifted Neuroscientist Lise Eliot about brain and mind development of very little humans.

From before my daughters birth there is still “Extraterrestrial” on my nightstand by the long time chair of Harvard’s Astronomy department. This is less about E.T. yet more about challenging the concept of “conventional wisdom” in all of us…

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