Alexander Kesler is a visionary B2B digital marketer and has been practicing in the fields of high tech, software, education, and security, among others for over 15 years. Being founder and president of inSegment, one of the leading Boston digital marketing firms, Alexander leads a team of digital marketing experts and specializes in the areas of B2B lead generation, content marketing and syndication, SEO and paid search, conversion-oriented web development, programmatic media buying, and direct response marketing. He graduated from Babson College.
Tell me about your early career.
At 22 years old, I started my first venture, zTrace Technologies, a security software company, which became the second-largest firm in its industry sector, with sales in more than 50 countries worldwide. After an acquisition, I went on to create inSegment. During my time at zTrace, I created the conversion architecture system, which now fuels inSegment’s successful SEM tactics.
How did the concept for inSegment come about?
When I started zTrace Technologies, I employed a myriad of digital marketing tactics to successfully launch it and establish brand recognition. It was then when I realized that I had a knack for marketing to other businesses and that I could help other organizations achieve the same stellar results. As a result, I started inSegment in 2007 to help businesses maximize their online potential through targeted, integrated digital marketing solutions.
How was the first year in business?
We started with a very large client who kept us busy for the first two years in business, giving us as many projects as we could handle.
What was your marketing strategy?
I noticed that the accuracy of leads can be questionable, so I saw an opportunity in the market to provide superior quality leads. To this day, inSegment’s goal has been to be the highest-quality demand generation company in the space. We actually discard over 40% of the leads that we generate for our clients because of quality issues. Our dedicated QA team makes sure that only the top leads reach our clients.
How fast did the company grow during the first few years?
It had a triple-digit growth rate during the first few years, year-over-year.
How do you define success?
Being a top 10 provider in the market.
What is the key to success?
I believe in always pushing myself beyond expectations. I never let myself be content with the results we get for our clients and I always emphasize the importance of going the extra mile to make sure that they are happy. At inSegment, we are constantly innovating and finding new ways to raise the bar in terms of lead quality and client experience.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
One of the most important lessons I learned was that errors will not be detrimental to your business if you are open to change. I’ve faced many, apparently, undefeatable obstacles in my career but found that with patience, perseverance, and experience, one can overcome almost any challenge.
What are some quotes that you live by?
Google’s former CEO Eric Schmidt said that “The characteristic of great innovators and great companies is they see a space that others do not.” This quote inspired me to build a unique leadership development program to find people who share my business vision and teach them to execute it with me. It also pushed me to create an environment that empowers my employees to achieve their goals. And last, but not least, I always strive to innovate in terms of what my company brings to the market, whether it’s a new technology or simply the standard we hold our work to.
What are some of your favorite books?
The Remains of the Day is essential reading for any entrepreneur who wants to have a better grasp on how to maintain humility and loyalty to your profession, while at the same time not allowing yourself to pass up opportunities that could bring both personal and professional success. It teaches you to stay devoted to your work, be reliable, stay motivated, and be decisive.
Also, Get Things Done by David Allen is a productivity and time management system that I have been practicing for years and find very effective for running both my business and personal life.
Tell me about one of the toughest days you’ve had as an entrepreneur.
I focus on good days and delete bad days from my memory.
When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
I always keep in mind that criticism is the most valuable feedback I can get, so I focus on improving myself and my business whenever I encounter it. My experience as an entrepreneur has taught me that no matter how disastrous a problem might seem, there is always a solution as long as you have the drive to seek and implement it.
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
Where do I even start? First of all, focus on surrounding yourself with quality people, rely on your intuition, and always put results in front of the rhetoric. Ship your product early, start iterating, set KPIs and follow them closely, and find a way to get your product to your customers through many different channels while making sure you’re not dependent on any one channel.
Also, many entrepreneurs have a tendency to try to do everything themselves. And while a lot of initial steps can be completed independently, it’s critical to engage the right partner at the right time in order to harness the latest innovative marketing techniques that only those in the business know.
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This interview was conducted for research purposes by author Jason Navallo for his upcoming book, Underdog.
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