My name is Sergey Konovalov: I am the co-founder and ex-CEO of ‘Mobio’ (spoiler - no longer ex). Today I will tell you how we survived the first peak of the pandemic and understood our way of development, share plans and announce new appointments in the company.
About the difficulties
The year 2020 was a rich year on shocks: a pandemic, changes to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, another jump in the dollar rate. You will remember for a long time how people worried about their close ones, lost their jobs and got used to self-isolation. How other companies closed down because they couldn't pay rent and salaries. Many people's plans had disrupted and their anxiety for the future grew. However, I want to tell you how we went through this period.
In February, a couple of ‘Mobio’ employees got pneumonia: we didn't link it to the coronavirus. In March, even before the start of official self-isolation, we allowed them to come freely to the office. During the officially announced ‘non-working weeks’, the entire team continued to work with understanding. Yes, the IT and digital advertising industry remained active, as we did not have to rely on state subsidies. We understood that no one else would pay our employees' salaries.
The next two months were a serious test. During the first month of the quarantine, many people did not leave their homes at all, and during the second month, they only visited the store. Lucky for those who were able to leave the country in time or managed to rent a country house. Sitting in the four walls of a one-room flat is a great test for physical and mental health.
When people from all sides talk about the coming economic crisis and bankruptcies, it is difficult to keep your composure. Some clients stopped cooperation for an uncertain time: for example, taxi and car sharing services completely curtailed advertising activity. Fortunately, customers from the e-commerce, telecom, entertainment, finance and games segments had left most of their budgets and continued to promote mobile apps. Our account managers, designers and buyers have made every effort to continue to conduct advertising campaigns. We are grateful for this resilience to customers and employees.
About the new reality of office life
The ‘Mobio’ had helped a lot by the remote work experience that I had introduced in 2015. All this time, the company has practiced remote Thursdays: when, in agreement with the manager, an employee could work from home. At the same time, we had begun to build processes and communication based on the Asana, Google and Slack services.
Usually, management fears that employees will stop working without visual control in the office. However, productivity grows in the first weeks or months of remote working. In my experience, another risk lurks here - burnout. It seems as if the work will never end: the person spends all the time in the new “office” and ceases to see the boundaries. We understood that we should limit working hours and talk with colleagues about the importance of rest. Despite the long period of "non-working weeks", we are sending people on vacation to let them have a rest now.
We decided to abandon the large office and change the attitude towards the organization of the workspace. Now the office works on the principle of covering: many common areas, meeting rooms, fixed and flexible places - for those who do not come every day.
About strategic decisions and appointments
In early 2020, I handed over the management of the company to the co-founder of Mobio Alexey Pisarevsky. This has allowed me to look at the development of the agency from the outside, more strategically. All 2019, the company has transformed from a CPI arbitration agency to a mobile marketing agency. The team lacked a single vision of development, often the strategy had based on momentary market changes. This prevented the focus on key products and services, distracted focus from important long-term projects.
The economic crisis has made it clear to me that Mobio's strength lies in our origins. There is no need to transform. It is better to strengthen the agency's core expertise: working with mobile traffic, promoting mobile applications. Mobile marketing is a trend that has become even more relevant during the pandemic.
In May, Mobio's board of directors made a number of strategic decisions. First, the shareholders had invited me again to the position of CEO. I had accepted this offer and returned to running the company with renewed view.
Secondly, Alexey Pisarevsky decided to leave the company, and we had agreed on his complete withdrawal from the Mobio shareholders. Alexey will continue to develop the Epic Growth project, which appeared as an internal agency project and will now be completely independent.
I want to highlight a number of other appointments at Mobio and congratulate my colleagues:
Ekaterina Makovetskaya has been appointed Commercial Director: since the beginning of 2020, she held the position of CBDO in the company, and now she is responsible for sales, customer service, product development and marketing.
Anton Afanasyev was appointed director of Buying, and since 2020 he has been a performance director. In his area of responsibility, the entire production unit: buying conditions and the implementation of contracts.
Olga Kuzmina has been appointed COO: she has been with the company for over five years. She had started as a financial manager and had grown to a director. Today she is responsible for the entire back office.
Anastasia Shchur has been appointed head of the creative department: she had been working for the company for three years as a senior designer.
Herman Kapnin became the head of the performance direction of nonRU. In five years, he has grown from the position of a traffic manager to the head of media buying.
Valeria Shubina has been appointed as the head of the Feedwise and ASO platform. She had joined the company at the beginning of 2019 and, in addition to developing in-app traffic, had managed to increase the agency's App Store Optimization (ASO) expertise.
Mobio today is a versatile experience in promoting mobile applications, a tradition of development and training within the company. What are the recent cases: super-scale retargeting of AliExpress in myTarget, performance with influencers on Instagram for Burger King, promotion of the Herocraft game.
This is a good basis for building an even higher level of customer service, launching new advertising technologies and your own mobile applications. What Mobio will be tomorrow depends entirely on a key element of our DNA - the team - we have managed to adapt to the new reality and get ready for the next stage of development.
Best regards, Sergey Konovalov