Interview with Founder, DojoMojo – Alex Song

Alex Song

“The beauty of technology is that it enables us to do things better and faster than if we were doing it manually, and that then allows for marketers to have more time to form real connections with existing and potential customers, as well as to be more creative and analytical about how they approach their marketing efforts.”

1. Tell us about your role in DojoMojo?
I serve as CEO at DojoMojo, where we work with more than 8,000 brands – and growing – to help facilitate partnership marketing, all with the goal of helping our customers grow their audience. Brands like General Assembly, theSkimm, Condé Nast, and Hearst have used DojoMojo to acquire close to 200 million new potential leads, all thanks to the partnership marketing strategy. As CEO, I work with my team to develop new functionalities and features on our platform, manage our business operations to align with performance targets and ensure that our current customers are pleased with their results.

2. Can you tell us about your journey into this market?
We started DojoMojo in 2015 after realizing that brands can grow efficiently and scale products by accessing each other’s audiences and networks through the power of partnerships. The major challenge in finding the right partners is that it is often time-consuming and inefficient. We created DojoMojo to address this problem.

Our platform empowers brands to find the right partners for marketing campaigns, while making it easy to build beautiful landing pages, direct traffic to different acquisition funnels, and evaluate performance with comprehensive analytics and data-driven insights. Plus, we offer the ability to do all of that at a fraction of the cost of traditional paid channels.

So whether a brand wants to create a sweepstakes, collaborate on paid content or just grow their potential pool of audience and customers, DojoMojo provides an easy and efficient way to connect.

3. How do you think technology is changing the Marketing Sector?
There’s no doubt that technology has made marketing more efficient, more transparent, and more accessible.

The beauty of technology is that it enables us to do things better and faster than if we were doing it manually, and that then allows for marketers to have more time to form real connections with existing and potential customers, as well as to be more creative and analytical about how they approach their marketing efforts.

Technology should be thought of as a catalyst, not as an end-all, be-all. At the end of the day, the smartest marketers are the ones who understand how to use technology to amplify their work, track their performance and drive better results.

4. According to you, how has the application of technology benefited partnership marketing?
With a software like DojoMojo, what we’re seeing – and proving, really – is that technology has the power to greatly impact how brands can find the right partners to work with in a manner that’s not only quick and cost-effective, but also trustworthy and reliable. It used to be that finding the right brand partner could take hours, between the time spent identifying well-aligned prospects, identifying the correct people to connect with, and then the back-and-forth that goes into determining a partnership’s scope and terms. Now, we have this network that enables marketers to use a powerful search engine to identify prospective partner brands a lot more quickly, connect with brands more effortlessly through communication and messaging channels within the platform, and spend less time hashing out the details of a partnership agreement or collecting performance data thanks to our built-in tools and resources.

5. Recently we covered the news about the launch of Media Market. How will it ease the marketing and advertising functions making it more efficient?
Media Market, which launched in April, allows brands to find partners to buy and sell sponsored content including promotional emails, blog posts, banner ads, and social media posts. The tool helps brands work directly with one another, so they don’t have to rely on Facebook or Google to source new audiences and customers.

It used to be that things like content swaps or media sales were reserved for some in-the-know businesses and that was that; it felt incredibly exclusive and only a few select brands had access to it. With Media Market, we saw an opportunity to democratize the connections that fuel partnership marketing in a way that goes beyond just sweepstakes.

Brand advertisers can search within the platform’s existing network of over 8,000 brands and can filter publishers based on metrics like audience size, demographics, industry focus, engagement, and more. Media Market also allows for payment to be negotiated according to different deal structures, including flat-rate and cost-per-click deals, as well as templates for easy design and performance analytics for transparent results. In addition, DojoMojo acts as the trust protocol in any partnership transaction by holding advertiser funds in escrow, contingent on the publisher meeting the contractually agreed upon terms. We built Media Market to make the entire process more transparent, efficient and secure.

6. What are the exceptional benefits that your platform provides to the customers?
DojoMojo’s Brand Network offers a number of benefits for brands looking to build strategic partnerships.  With our search function, brands can search by industry, list size and audience demographic, and then review detailed profiles of each brand like social following, audience geography, income information, and more. We also provide in-app messaging and most importantly, detailed analytics so brands can see how their campaign performed and which partners contributed the most value.

On the Media Market side, we’ve made it easy for brands and publishers to partner on media sales through the same powerful search engine, simplified term negotiations and flexible deal structures, design tools and performance analytics. In addition, every step of the process is transparent to both parties, which ensures a high level of trust.

7. How do you differentiate your partnership marketing platform from your competitors?
For starters, we were early to innovate in this space, so there was definitely a first mover advantage that we had there. Beyond that, though, I think what really sets us apart is the quality of our network. We’ve built a strong network of high-impact brands across a breadth of industries that ultimately makes the quality of the partnerships established on DojoMojo many levels above what brands can achieve elsewhere.

8. What advice would you like to give to the Martech StartUps?
Two of the biggest challenges are trying to find product-market fit as early as possible and finding something where you really have an unfair advantage that you can leverage. Once you have those two, the next big step is really about finding an ecosystem in which you can test things out as early as possible to confirm all of the above, as well as help you establish early on if there’s a real demand for what you’re building.

9. What is the Digital Innovation in Customer Experience according to you that will mark 2019?
It’s a reality of the current business landscape that brands are finding it crucial, more than ever before, to take the approach of tackling their efforts through commerce, community, and content. What that ultimately means is that every e-commerce business is going to need to have a media arm of some sort. While one side of that is leveraging that media arm to promote your own products or services, that can only be done so many times before you exhaust your audience’s attention and patience. Hence the importance of partnering with other brands in order to intersperse different kinds of content to your audience that feels more genuine and helps build trust with your users.

10. What is the vision, on which you and DojoMojo are working on?
The vision really comes down to building a unique marketplace for best-in-class brands to partner with each other through high ROI channels; a marketplace that’s backed by data-driven insights to accelerate the growth potential of all partners on the platform. We’ve essentially brought this network of impressive brands to the table and given them the opportunity to conveniently and measurably engage with other brands in our ecosystem in a variety of ways. In turn, we’re consistently supporting and reinforcing that growing network by using our data to enhance and expand every partnership created on our platform.

11. What are the major developments you are planning, in recent time?
In the near future, we want to take a serious look into how SMS can be used as a high-impact channel for marketers. Obviously, this is something we’re exploring while paying mind to the sensitivity of SMS marketing given how intrusive it can feel when not managed properly.

Beyond that, we’re always trying to find new ways to productize the data that we have access to in order to enhance the actions and insights of brands on the platform and allow them to maximize their growth potential.

12. Can you tell us about your team and how it supports you?
While our team is a collaborative one, it’s also one that champions ownership, and that’s something that really shines when you look at how every member of the team supports not just myself but the DojoMojo team at large. All of our team members are motivated to take ownership of the different moving parts of this business, whether it’s the features that we build or the different stages in our roadmap to success. And that ownership is incredibly important because it encourages a sense of accountability as well as a results-driven approach to decision-making.

13. Which is the Movie that inspires you the most?
I would say “The Pursuit of Happyness,” because it’s a story that really highlights the fact that talent and intellect are rarely enough when they are not paired with perseverance and grit. It is often the two latter qualities that feed the most into success –– even (if not especially) when the odds are against you.

14. We have heard that you have a very joyful work culture, so can you share with us some of the fun pictures of your workplace?
We invest heavily in our culture at DojoMojo, which I think is important but also a pretty delicate thing in that a strong company culture is not something that you can easily teach or that you should ever try to force. So while we try hard to invest time and resources into situations that foster culture – this includes bigger things, like our annual holiday party, as well as smaller team-building events, like bi-monthly book clubs or weekly team lunch on Fridays – we never want to do it in a way that it feels contrived or pressured, because then that’s no longer culture. I think it’s really important to make employees feel empowered enough to drive culture on their own, because when they feel ownership and pride in what they do and where they work, productivity, profitability, and a healthy mindset will follow.

15. Can you give us a glance of the applications you use on your phone?
There are a few different apps that I use pretty regularly, but a few of my top ones would have to be:

  • Trello – This one I use a lot as it does wonders for my productivity. It really helps me track different ideas, as well as categorize and organize my priorities in order to make the most of my time.
  • Audiobooks – I use this pretty much anytime that I’m in a car or on the subway. I used to just listen to just have Spotify open and listen to music, but as I’ve found myself having less and less time to read a lot of books that I would like to, I’ve really come to leverage audiobooks as a way to consume books on the go.
  • Shazam – I actually use this one a lot. I love being able to track a good song when I hear it and find out more about it. I love learning in every capacity possible.

Alexander Song is the Founder and CEO of Innovation Department, a technology and investment company that creates and develops E-commerce, Media, and SaaS companies. Based in Soho, New York, Innovation Department both creates companies that solve practical, real-world problems and equips early-stage founders with the capital, people, and resources they need to bring their ideas to life. Alex is also the CEO of DojoMojo, a Partnership Marketing Platform with over 1,400 brands. Alex studied Business Administration at the University of California, Berkeley, graduating with Highest Honors, and moved to New York in 2004. He spent 6 years with Goldman Sachs in the Financial Institutions, Investment Banking Division, and was then promoted to join Goldman’s Principal Investment Area, an $20bn private equity fund. Alex then joined Pershing Square Capital Management, a $15bn long-short equity hedge fund, where he focused on public equity investments.
Alex’s background in finance brings a unique perspective as he serves not only as an investor, but as strategic counsel to many of the brands he has invested in. Under Alex’s leadership, Innovation Department has helped build a number of companies including WineAwesomeness, WellPath, DojoMojo, ReBloom, Cinematique, and Valyrian Media. Alex has also invested in Pinterest, Dropbox, Lyft, ClassPass, Rubicon Global, and Aloha. Alex continues to pursue technology and venture opportunities regularly.

DojoMojo is a brand network and partnerships marketplace. We empower marketers of all sizes to connect and build sponsored content and giveaway campaigns to grow their audiences at a fraction of the cost of traditional paid channels. Our technology helps marketers save time by facilitating collaboration, removing friction from campaign planning and leveraging data-driven insights to recommend the most powerful partnerships to our customers.
For more information please visit our Website.

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