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Get to know Split’s marketing technology superhero!

Nikolina Kukoč

Nikolina Kukoč

14.02.2022.

Marketing Technology, which is more popularly known as MarTech, is the term used to reference the technologies, tools, and software utilized to assist marketing teams in achieving marketing goals and objectives. The technology is mostly used in the sphere of digital marketing. However, it can also be used in optimizing marketing efforts across other marketing channels.

Split’s startup ecosystem, no matter its early stage of development compared to some other startup ecosystems in the world, can already boast the presence of a MarTech superhero in its startup ranks – Mr. Popper.

When Mr.Popper isn’t donning his superhero cape, we know it as the MARTECHiNG Platform.

Founded in October 2020 by Darko Majić and Tomislav Šajgo, this MarTech startup currently has three team members and is working on developing innovative and interactive MarTech solutions using data collection and analytics. Mr. Popper is the first product they created.

As with all startups, we were curious to know ‘the why’. That is the reason we asked Darko and Tomislav to take us to the very beginnings: “The initial idea came from a problem we noticed in ourselves: we are all very distracted consumers of video content.

While watching video commercials on TV, sports broadcasts, movies, video commercials on outdoor and indoor advertising screens, etc. our attention is taken away by our own smartphones. These small devices that fit so easily in our palms, pretty much distract us from the video content we intended to watch on the big screen.

Photo by: Student Business Incubator (Get in the Ring 2021)

In addition, we noticed that in the entire advertising chain – advertisers, marketing agencies, production and TV companies, video platforms, etc. – everyone has the same problem: how to keep users’ attention on the desired video content and thus keep video advertising prices.

Furthermore, like most mobile app users, we noticed the passivity of app-using: we have some brands’ mobile apps installed, but we rarely use them, except when we want to buy something at a special price, participate in a giveaway, or if we have the opportunity to be rewarded for loyalty with our purchases.

So, after deliberating on all of this, we decided to connect these two problems with one solution.

Considering our knowledge and experience from two different, but still related areas of marketing, we also had a good starting point to work on finding a solution for these issues. That is how Mr.Popper came to be! In the end, through iterations of this first product, some new ideas have been created, more precisely two products that we are developing at the moment as part of the future MARTECHiNG Platform.

Photo by: Student Business Incubator (Get in the Ring 2021)

For now, let’s just say that Mr.Popper will soon be rebranded because this superhero has successfully completed his task of helping us on our startup journey. Therefore, our most immediate goal is to launch this first product and achieve the first monetization.”

Now, even though the team was followed by a superhero of their own creation from the start of their startup journey, this did not save them from encountering obstacles and making some mistakes along the way. However, they worked through them all and learned something, too:

“We always knew our idea had merit, we never doubted it! However, we often wondered if we realized it too early or too late, so the question of the timing persists.

In addition, we were looking for the right focus for some time. Initially, we were very scattered in the application of our products in the market. The help with this issue came in the form of the 6-month incubation at the Bird Incubator.

Photo by: Student Business Incubator (Get in the Ring 2021)

There we managed to convince the incubator leaders and mentors that the idea we had was indeed a good one, and in turn, they taught us how to find a better focus in the market and how to divide product development into several phases.

Other than that, the obstacles are often in ourselves. But we successfully overcame that fear of failure with humor!

Both of us have very different personalities, we react differently to the same issues. However, we have been friends for many years, from the first day of the university even, so maybe that strong bond between us was a great positive influence that helped us overcome some of the crises we had.

Photo by: Student Business Incubator (Get in the Ring 2021)

Regarding the mistakes we made so far, there were several, but still not too many. Perhaps the biggest mistake we made was that, at the very beginning, we did not understand the importance of scaling. It all comes down to this: it is either completely impossible or possible, but never injury-free, to jump over ten stairs from standing at the first one.

You stumble very easily, you fall, you get injured. Instead of climbing those same stairs one by one and saving yourself the pain. We figured it out later in our journey, but it would have been better for us if it had happened earlier.

The very important lesson we learned from this is that proper scaling in the development of startups is of utmost importance.

And even if you already manage to skip over a few steps, do not blindly continue in the same way until you know the terrain well and your own potential to handle it. We hope others will learn from this, too!”

We love that Darko and Tomislav used this opportunity to promote our values of sharing knowledge and experience, and are very thankful to them for this valuable lesson. Hopefully, it will help someone else in their startup journey!

As we know already, startup life is not all obstacles and mistakes. There are plenty of positives in there, as well. We asked Darko and Tomislav to share the most positive thing and we got a Big Panda And Tiny Dragon lesson as an answer.

Image credit: Big Panda And Tiny Dragon

“We wholeheartedly agree with the Tiny Dragon – it’s the company that’s the best thing on this journey!”

And company is everything in this close-knit team! Darko and Tomislav are, in addition to being co-founders of this startup, longtime friends and business associates. They have worked on several projects together and experienced failures and successes side-by-side.

Although they have collaborated on some joint projects before and have always been there for each other for advice and support regarding any entrepreneurial initiatives they did separately, this is the first time they have co-founded a startup together.

The third member of the team is also not a stranger. Dino is Darko’s brother, as well as his partner in their digital agency Unilink. Therefore, all three of them know each other well and complement each other’s strengths to form a well-bonded team that propels this startup forward.

Photo by: Student Business Incubator (Get in the Ring 2021)

Aside from good company within your team, startups also benefit from good company within the ecosystem they’ve chosen as their own. That is why we wanted to hear some feedback regarding Split as a startup ecosystem:

“Initiating a startup here in Split has been excellent, in our humble opinion!

We won the third prize at the Get In The Ring competition that was held in Split at the end of 2021. One of the prize stipulations was to open a startup company right here.

Because we always thought about it – that, if everything goes well, we will have two teams, one in Zagreb and another one in Split. In the end, considering that one of the founders spent most of his life in Split, the choice to get our startup off the ground here was not a difficult one at all.

On the bureaucratic side, we are also very satisfied, the company was registered relatively quickly and easily. We have also felt the community’s support throughout the whole process.”

We are happy to hear they feel supported here in our ever-growing tech and startup ecosystem in Split. One final piece of advice the team shared with us before we parted ways was this: “Listen to your instinct but be open to feedback from others, too!”

We wish Darko, Dino, and Tomislav many more MarTech successes with their MARTECHiNG Platform!

Cover photo by: MARTECHiNG Platform

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About author:

Nikolina Kukoč

Researching is woven into my DNA, but I am a musician at heart. Interested in too many things and always curious. Forever in love with Split and enchanted by people who teach me new things. When I am not creating content about Split's tech community, you will find me in singing rehearsals, somewhere in nature, in the theater, or with my head stuck in a book. I do my best to live by the verse from the opera "Fedora" by Umberto Giordano: "Love forbids you not to love."

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