Interview with Ted Dhanik, CEO and Co-Founder, engage:BDR

Ted Dhanik
Ted Dhanik

“Influencers are really creators, which is hugely valuable to a brand beyond just their reach.”

Tell us about your role and how you got here? What galvanized you towards the tech industry?

I am the Co-Founder and CEO of engage:BDR, but my whole career has been in tech- I previously worked on the launch of the MySpace brand from inception, and at lowermybills.com.

How do marketers benefit from engage:BDR? What made you launch IconicReach?

engage:BDR has been around since 2009, and we’ve been building out innovative solutions to serve marketers since then. IconicReach was created based on a vacuum in the influencer marketing space– our clients were beginning to have an interest in influencer marketing, and we saw that running a campaign manually was incredibly inefficient- from finding and evaluating influencers, to negotiation, execution, and measurement.

How is IconicReach different from other influencer platforms?

Our platform is designed with efficiency in mind- we aren’t necessarily looking to just have a reach play, we are looking at the metrics that move the needle for clients. We want to make it as easy as possible for people to execute campaigns that drive engagement, or sales, or brand interest. Our platform is curated to only include influencers whose engagement is genuine and significant, and we make it easy to do everything in one place.

What is the current state of Influencer technologies in 2018? How much of that state is influenced by the maturity of data science and customer experience platforms?

We are definitely seeing a growth of analytic tools, which I think is fantastic since the space had previously been somewhat of a Wild West. Being able to better understand an audience beyond just a number of followers is crucial to success.

How is the mobile and web analytics industry today different from when you first started?

Since we’ve been around so long, the landscape is completely different and the data is so much richer. With regards to outgrowing audience reach, we are seeing influencers being able to grow their audiences in smart ways. Many of our clients on the demand side are influencers looking to grow their following by collaborating with highly relevant accounts. A year or two ago, lots of people resorted to buying fake followers, which is just not something you can or should be doing anymore. It makes your audience lose value by diluting engagement. So we are seeing lots of influencers being really smart about cross-promotion with audiences that are intuitive fits.

How do you see the influencer marketing strategies evolving around omnichannel customer experience standards?

Influencers are also creators, which is hugely valuable to a brand beyond just their reach. We are seeing clients look to interact with an audience across several channels with the same influencer (IG, youtube, blogs) and then also look to leverage that content on more traditional channels. It creates a rich experience with a genuine voice.

Tell us about your best digital transformation campaign. How did you measure the performance among your audience?

We’ve had many successful influencer marketing campaigns with our clients. One that comes to mind is our campaign with Urban Floor. They wanted to expand their reach and connect with more luxury customers and be recognized as a tastemaker in the luxury living space.

We were able to connect them to a selection of highly relevant influencers to target those interested in luxury homes and interior design. Ultimately, they saw 213% growth in their account within the first 3 months.

How do you prepare for an AI-centric ecosystem as a business leader?

We’re really excited about the predictive abilities that machine learning offerr to enable a richer programmatic offering and very invested in researching and developing with regards to that.

How do you inspire your people to work with technology?

We hire people who are excited about the work we do, so that comes naturally. Employees are empowered and encouraged to stay on top of industry trends and share opportunities that they see for new ways to use technology with regards to our business.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

I’m really passionate about IoT, and my whole home is designed with a series of macros that make my life easier- this allows me to be the most efficient version of myself.

What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?

I don’t run physical errands – my time is better spent learning, meeting people, and working with my team.

What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)

I primarily read the trades every day. It’s important to stay on top of trends and industry happenings.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

My advisor, Don Lavoie, taught me to always do what I say I’ll do. That has really stuck with me. It is one of the company values at engage:BDR and something we emphasize in all areas of management.

Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read

Zach Rodgers.

Thank you, Ted! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.

A co-founder of engage:BDR, Inc. Ted serves as Chief Executive Officer overseeing strategic marketing, sales and business development, client relationship management, and content acquisition. From 2003 – 2008, Ted was with MySpace.com developing strategic marketing initiatives. Working very closely with founders Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson, Ted was responsible for launching the brand in its infancy through a very specific combination of on- and offline campaigns. Ted also innovated business development at LowerMyBills.com in its early stages through acquisition by Experian and was also an integral part of the early development and launch of the consumer lending program at NexTag Corporation.

Mr. Dhanik has worked for or been a partner at several other companies in business development, sales, and managerial positions, such as Xoriant Corporation, Atesto Technologies, Inc., Brigade Solutions, Beyond.com/Cybersource Corporation, and Merrill Corporation. Ted sits on the board or advises other tech startups such as Fighter, LottoGopher and Schizo Pictures, and is an active mentor at Los Angeles-based startup accelerator Start Engine.

engage:BDR
Founded in 2009, engage:BDR is a leading cross ­device advertising solution company, consistently recognized for powering outstanding, integrated Display and Video ad experiences. The world’s top advertisers and comScore’s top 1000 publishers depend on our innovative advertising and managed service solutions to drive KPIs ranging from the greatest reach to the longest time spent with media. Our industry­ wide role and collaboration to deliver innovations that make advertising and publishing better is core to our mission! Founded by several of the industry’s top pioneers, the company is private, profitable and growing.

The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.

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