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Interview with Shiva Ramani - CEO of creative operations company iMediaBay

A look at what inspired the company and what problems they are trying to solve

Entrepreneur interview by Josiah Motley
January 24, 2018
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/4ae2

Having worked with multiple startups, one issue that we seemed to encounter often was issues with marketing. Whether it was ineffective strategies or simply trying to find enough "stuff" for the marketing team to do when not working on campaigns, it always felt like there should be a better way to go about things. I imagine the same can be said for all levels of businesses, all the way up to enterprise companies.

That's where something like iMediaBay comes into play. Basically, they help your marketing team with projects by connecting you with the perfect designers for the job. This is done through AI and data analytics, but also through the actual team at iMediaBay. I had the chance to speak with Shiva Ramani of iMediaBay to learn more about the company, what inspired it, and some of the challenges the company faced when first getting started. Check it out below!

 

Carry to introduce yourself and your role with iMediaBay? 

My name is Shiva Ramani and I am a serial entrepreneur with a mission to help companies become more efficient and profitable by developing new platforms that drive operational efficiencies.

Product Support

My first theatre of engagement was in the Product Support space. Where I built a support services platform company called CSS/SlashSupport. I helped build support services platforms for companies like IBM, Oracle, Cisco, Alcatel, Juniper, Vonage, Netgear, Linksys.

I built it to a $100 Million dollars in revenue but more importantly helped deliver an EPS growth of over 18% per year for each of my customers. I have had a satisfying experience in growing the bottom line for my customers.

Marketing Support

My current theatre of focus is the Marketing Support Space. I am building a platform company called iMediaBay which optimizes the marketing and digital creative production.

The thesis is, if customers can develop and deliver effective marketing messages, economically and fast, their customer acquisition costs can come down dramatically thereby driving top-line growth.

What inspired the creation of the company?

While launching a new product idea, a friend scouted for ways to get some marketing materials done and went a standard marketplace and got 75 quotes from different people with prices ranging from $90 to $3000 for the same piece of work.  Analysis/Paralysis ensued.  I imagined a curated marketplace with the burden of quality owned by someone specific and with fixed prices.    

As I started to discover the product-market fit, I found the value and the need much higher in growing companies and larger enterprises and with some smart use of already developed technology iMediaBay was born.

In a nutshell, what problems are you trying to solve?

For companies – Marketing activities are in the front end of revenue cycle and they happen in spurts. Not only is it inefficient but creative folks get bored with inactivity if you maintain a full-time team. So, having access to right type of creative designers just in time with certainty would be a huge value ad.  

This can increase throughput and cost effectiveness. Most importantly it can reduce CAC. The true value is the curated marketplace, so companies can pay for approved output and the burden of getting the right creatives is on the platform.

For Designers – Most designers are not fans of business conversations and make it hard on themselves to hold economic discussions with customers. We are the buffer that manages the economic conversations with customers and they just focus on great design.  

Our hope is with more designers and more companies using our platform, general design quality for marketing will have positive impact. The economic benefit for everyone in the ecosystem is also dramatic.

What hurdles did you have to overcome during your early days?

We had a misplaced focus around Programmatic creatives and took a bit of time finding the product market fit. A corollary to that was as a curated marketplace for designers and working with serious companies and enterprises, building a team with a strong sense of creative design and yet understanding the importance of economics was a huge struggle. 

For us to be a game changing company that is our secret sauce. We have some interesting AI and data analytics to match the right designer for the right project, but still it has a high dependency on being the glue between the marketing departments of customers who are under constant pressure and the designer who needs the breathing space to be creative.  At a personal level, reorienting myself from a cost play to a revenue was a huge hurdle.

Do you have any tips for other entrepreneurs looking to looking to find a niche?

Have a healthy mix of action bias and knowledge bias. The most important strategic task you will do as an entrepreneur is product-market fit. Spend all your time worrying about it, for all of the tactical activities recruit and rely on a A+ team. Trust them, you have spent a lot time recruiting them.

How important is passion when creating a business? As important as the desire to create a profitable company?

To build a game/ habit changing company, a passion that is almost delusional is an essential ingredient. From the evolution of a concept to a profitable company, there are multiple stages of development.  At each state of evolution, the object of passion may be different.

Like during product/market fit stage, the passion is directed towards product design, in the initial user acquisition phase the passion is towards customer success, in the explosive growth stage, the passion is towards operational excellence preserving core values of the company, in a mature phase, the passion is towards economic viability and profitability.  

Passion in business is non-negotiable for high quality success, it is the job of the leader to get people passionate about the right things at the right stage of evolution.

Anything you'd like to close with?

Incrementalism has set in digital design. There is a lot fatigue about it as well. This is probably because of the economics and speed of design. My hope and mission is to help designers become more economically viable and companies to be able to design more efficiently with the belief that the outcome would be great designs which can make the world, a better place.