As the CMO of Urent, the leading online marketplace for vehicle rental in the UAE, Vladislav Chernyaev successfully scaled the start-up from $0 to $500,000 in less than 120 days using growth marketing strategies that he has now decided to share with others.
For startups to succeed, Vladislav says marketers need to prioritize strategy over tactics and actual business metrics such as clients and revenue over vanity metrics being clicks, likes and followers. “When most business owners hear ‘marketing’, a million different things start bombarding the brain,” said Vladislav. “SEO, social media, Tiktok, Google ads, blogs, influencers, and, of course, a professionally designed website.”
Consequently, Vladislav says founders are often caught lost in a sea of numerous marketing tactics, moving from one to another until they burn their capital. The solution to this marketer-made impasse is to start by creating a solid growth marketing strategy. While working as the CMO of Urent, Vladislav created and implemented a three-step strategy called the “Traffic-Creative-Funnel” strategy, which helped Urents’ marketing team to quickly scale the company from $0 to $500,000 and become the market leader.
The first step of this marketing strategy is traffic. First, marketers should define their ideal customer and identify the exact media channel(s) where potential customers spend their time. “Instead of jumping from channel to channel,” Vladislav advises, “a startup should focus on becoming active on the exact channel(s) their ideal customers are congregating and researching about their products and services.” It might be Google for one brand, LinkedIn for another, or TikTok for another. Rather than chasing every platform, a good CMO will help create a strategy and do customer research to understand where target customers are.
Once startups identify those channels, the next step is to get the attention of their target customers through attractive creatives being banners, images, videos, and infographics, et al. “For brands, it’s very important to have the right visuals that catch attention, tell brands’ story and drive people to certain actions,” said Vladislav. Furthermore, he says that text is not enough since “our brain processes visuals 60,000 times quicker than text.”
The final step is to set up a funnel that leads the target customers to business action, such as booking an appointment, making a purchase, subscribing to a service. A successful funnel will inform, direct, and persuade, leading the potential buyer from the first point of contact to the sale. Vladislav adds, “you must never make your ideal customers ask ‘what’s next.'”
While implementing this strategy, the goal must be clear: clients and revenue, not vanity metrics. “For years, marketing agencies and so-called ‘gurus’ have been making marketing sound ‘hard’ while hiding behind vanity metrics like views, shares, likes, and followers,” Vladislav laments. “The reality is different,” he continues. “Marketing is about business results – clients and revenue. As a business owner, you always need to ask yourself – does it actually make a difference to your bottom line? Does it bring you more clients and more revenue?”.
With 3,969 startups in the UAE and 94% of the economy made up of SMEs, according to the Ministry of Economy, the success of startups has never been more important for the future growth of the UAE economy. Vladislav Chernyaev believes that if startups can prioritize strategy and concrete business results, they will be more successful and the economy will be better for it.
About Vladislav Chernyaev
Vladislav Chernyaev is the co-founder of Upgrade, a digital growth agency that helps businesses scale exponentially using proven and battle-tested growth strategies. Vladislav is also the Chief Marketing Officer at Urent – the leading vehicle rental marketplace in the UAE, and Klaim – a financing solution firm for healthcare providers. Vladislav is recognized as one of the top marketing consultants in the MENA region due to his hands-on marketing experience in multiple industries.