Tell us about your role and journey in starting Stirista? What opportunity did you see in Data Marketing?
My wife, Candice, and I started Stirista in 2010 from our apartment with the goal of offering marketers the data they needed to run more sophisticated multicultural marketing campaigns. Marketing data hadn’t caught up with America’s changing demographic makeup, and we saw a significant opportunity to make a difference. At the time, we had no idea we would grow as quickly as we have!
What is Stirista today and how much has it evolved since inception?
Today, we have offices in three different countries, and our offerings go well outside of multicultural data (though I think we still do that pretty well, too). Our consumer database alone contains nearly every adult in the US, and we constantly try to push the envelope of what’s possible to offer marketers. Most recently, we launched a product called Visitor ID Graph, which enables marketers to match anonymous website visitors with real identities.
What separates Stirista from other B2B compilers?
The line between B2B and B2C personas is getting increasingly blurry, especially as more professionals use their personal devices in some capacity for work. One of our major differentiators in the B2B space is a product we call StiristaLink. StiristaLink is a proprietary connection between our B2B and B2C datasets. That enables B2B marketers to reach their prospects when they are outside of work.
Our omnichannel ad services are another major differentiator. We can use our data to execute marketing campaigns across email, digital, social, connected TV, and other channels.
What are some emerging Marketing Technology trends you are following?
Increasingly companies are struggling with too much data. There’s data everywhere and every silo. Each individual Marketing manager is running campaigns for individual products. CRM for Sales, Automation for Marketing. I see Customer Data Platforms as the next big thing in Marketing Technology. One true source for data within an organization.
What areas do you predict marketers will struggle with their data in the future?
I predict that fragmented data will continue to plague marketers. Something I hear frequently from brand marketers is that their CRM, prospecting and other data sets are managed by completely different teams. This work often spans different departments with separate budgets, making a unified platform difficult to implement.
How can Marketing Leaders adapt to the evolving needs of the industry?
For a long time, Senior Marketing positions have had a strong foundation in more traditional business functions; after all, most marketing degrees are part of universities’ business schools. Today, however, the role requires an increasingly broad understanding of technology in addition to business. A CMO today might not need to know how to create an API or code a website, but they do need to know what an API is capable of or how SQL databases generally work.
What are your predictions on the most impactful disruptions in Data-driven Marketing for businesses in 2019-2020?
The age of big data is evolving into the age of making better sense of data. Companies that can provide insights in an easy to navigate environment will prevail.
What startups in the technology industry are you keenly watching right now?
Sadly, the startups that get the most attention are the ones getting the most funding. Most of them won’t be around in another 5 years. I prefer to look at bootstrapped companies that understand the value of a dollar.
One word that describes how you work.
What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?
Startups should invest in a proper email server that syncs across devices. Too many people, including me, cut corners and get the free email that comes with email providers which do not sync your phone calendar with your Outlook.
What are you currently reading?
I’ve been resting my eyes and listening to Serial Season 3. I prefer non-business books and fiction is a good way to refresh and recharge.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I have a great amount of respect for my father, who started as a Junior Bank Officer and has worked his way up at the Bank of India. His perspective has shaped the way I manage and deal with people in general, no matter how confrontational they are. He taught me to always treat people with respect and that there is no reason to burn bridges.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
My one greatest talent is something I believe anyone can master–Determination. Human determination is something that fascinates me. It drives people to run ultra-marathons and climb the world’s highest mountains. While I won’t ever do either of those, I believe determination can manifest in the kinds of daily actions–such as answering nearly every email I receive the same day–which helps build a company.
Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read.
Matt Staudt, President, Venture Development Center.
Thank you, Ajay! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Ajay Gupta has served as CEO of Stirista since founding the company in 2010 at age 26. Without accepting external funding, Ajay has overseen the data-driven, marketing services company’s rapid year-to-year financial growth as it has progressed from 2 employees, working out of an apartment, to a 41-person team spanning three continents.
Ajay holds a bachelor’s degree in Financial Economics and Creative Writing with a Mathematics minor from St. Lawrence University, as well as an MFA in Creative Writing from Texas State University. He has been named a Marketing EDGE Rising Star and was part of the San Antonio Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 list. Under his leadership, Stirista has won a DMA Silver ECHO award, a third-place DMN Award, and has been included on the Inc 5000 list.
Stirista founded in September 2009, Stirista is a digital marketing agency that specializes in B2B and B2C segmentation, email marketing, and display advertising. We love data and want to put it to use for you. We believe our services can help you find new clients, and we’ll do our best to accomplish that.
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.