We’d like to introduce you to some of the people from around the world who make us what we are. In this post, meet Dobrin, a passionate marketer and co-founder of the distinguished carpooling service/app ShredTogether.
Dobrin Grancharov is a product marketing specialist at Progress, but he is also a gymnastics and guitar lover who was nominated for Darik Radio’s prestigious “40 under 40” list in 2018. The initiative features top successful young people in Bulgaria and is organized by one of Bulgaria’s national radios, Darik.
Shortly after completing his bachelor's degree in Bulgaria, Dobrin’s desire for success and eagerness to advance in the marketing field led him to the Netherlands for his graduate degree in Strategic Marketing. Later his enthusiasm to improve his knowledge and professional skills inspired him to work across companies such as Nike and start-ups like Swipes and JoinThePlayers, before joining the Progress team.
“Ever since day 1 of joining Progress, I knew I found my place! The opportunity to work for an industry giant with immense history and globally-renowned products alongside a team of highly-experienced professionals is something that I would recommend to anyone. I’d say that the past two years have been the most rewarding and satisfying period of my life, and I feel that there is much more to come,” says Dobrin.
Read our interview with Dobrin to learn more about him, his nomination for “40 under 40,” his latest personal project ‘ShredTogether’ and how Progress helped him achieve it all.
Recently you were nominated for Darik Radio’s prestigious list of successful young people, “40 under 40,” for your personal project about ridesharing for extreme sports fans. Tell us more about that.
That was quite a surprise for me, to be honest. The list included some pretty inspirational people who contribute immensely to society. I still think I have much to improve in that regard and I was humbled to be nominated for the prize. The project I am working on together with a few friends is called ShredTogether—a group of likeminded individuals who love extreme sports and nature. Our initial aim was to create a carpooling service for people to enjoy skiing and snowboarding together by sharing the costs for travel. That quickly escalated and our Facebook group now has more than 8,000 people who post, discuss and share stuff on a daily basis on topics ranging from avalanche training, riding techniques and advice all the way to social causes and initiatives.
When did you start the project and what has its impact been so far - how many people have been engaged, and what feedback have you received?
We started ShredTogether over six years ago. The main channel we reside in is Facebook, as this is the most widely adopted social media in Bulgaria and our scope is to build it up starting from the local community. As far as engagement, some social media tools have listed us as the most engaged and vivid group among all Facebook groups from Bulgaria. Furthermore about 20-30% of the people post almost on a daily basis. We’ve made partnerships with numerous brands that share our vision and also have run our very own Avalanche Training Group and Season opening and closing parties. A few months back, we released the Beta version of our mobile app, which plans to facilitate the process of people carpooling for daily or weekly trips. The feedback so far has been tremendously positive and that’s why we plan to continue investing in it.
How has your experience at Progress helped you in starting and leading this project?
Working at Progress has helped me develop both my marketing and interpersonal skills. Being able to look at the bigger picture and work on big campaigns, product launches and other initiatives has been very beneficial for the creation of the mission and vision of ShredTogether, as well as the execution of our Go-To-Market plan. We are a non-profit organization, so I’d prefer calling that Go-To-People plan, but that does not differ much. In summary, I’d say I’ve shifted my mindset from only being a doer to also being a tinkerer and instead of just executing on a bunch of tasks, I constantly review the big-picture and think of how each action benefits that.
You are a marketer - what is the biggest myth that you’d like to debunk about marketing?
Hah, that’s actually a really cool and tough question at the same time. Back then when I first started working in marketing, a common notion that was spread across the other business units was that “Marketing is always a cost, with questionable results.” I think that the industry has since realized just how important marketing is and what its benefit to the organization is in general. With the numerous tools that measure the effects of marketing actions, marketers are better equipped than ever to back up their spending and show how this has influenced Return on Investment.
Another myth that I think is still pretty widespread is that marketers would promise anything to generate a sale or a conversion. I strongly believe that this is false. Why? Well, to start off, users are getting more and more used to being bombarded with marketing messages and ads, and the question on every marketer’s mind is: “How can I stand out in the crowd and make an impact?” For many low-involvement goods that require little to no investment from the client, questionable ads with ambiguous promises might work. For example, “The brightest flashlight in the world for only $9.99!” However, when it comes to products and services that are aimed at improving productivity and well-being, as well as business results, users aren’t easily tricked into a sale solely based on promises.
That’s why marketers need to back up their claims by results and data, which is not easily achievable if you have misleading information about your product. What you would end up with is a dissatisfied customer, who has the ability to spread the word among his peers and your whole business would suffer in the long run. That’s why sincere marketing would always work better than false advertising. The more marketers start adopting this methodology, the better.
What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned at Progress so far?
One of the best lessons so far for me has been to always look at the big picture and address every activity and initiative as part of a solid strategic plan. Too often, we get bogged down by mundane tasks, which don’t contribute to the overall business. Additionally, we sometimes fall into the trap of persuing a big project that is just not as important at the moment and get poor results in the long term, because the rest of the business units are not chasing the same objectives, where in fact you could invest your time into something that everybody is striving for. Prioritization is a key factor in both product management and product marketing and as such you need to always reassess your activities and spend time on the most critical items. This is especially valid as a company is growing and has multiple and various projects that need to be completed. There is just so much that you can do in a certain period of time and as such you need to prioritize and even drop some tasks for the sake of the bigger picture. I personally have adopted the methodology that Stephen Covey presents in his book “The seven habits of highly effective people,” which has been really helpful to me in my day to day work.
Let me also add that prioritization applies to both business as well as your personal life. Always think what the most important stuff is for you and act on it. If something just does feel right or does not help you improve in those crucial personal goals, you might reconsider doing it.
Aneliya Stoyanova is part of the Global Communications team at Progress. She has extensive experience in the technology media and communications field. A news junkie and technology lover, she enjoys writing and finding the best way to communicate across all exciting news around Progress.
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