“I need mobility. I don’t need cars. “
This month we sat down and talked to Marti Torres – Director of marketing and sales with 20+ year experience, mentor, and consultant. Read the interview to find out the expert opinion about the marketing and innovation and, of course, Marti’s opinion about Volvero. Scroll down!
7 min read
For how long have you been mentoring startups and how did you come to it?
Well, my first experience with start-ups was in the 2000s. At that time I was a marketing director in an FMCG company in the cleaning tools sector. I left the company to join a startup that was financed by Deutsche Bank. It was a startup that was proposing the first mobile payment system in the world. The system was being launched in several countries: Germany, Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, it was the time when the technological bubble exploded and the company did not succeed. We were out of the business in a couple of years. We spent a lot of effort and we reached the leading position in Europe but it was very difficult to maintain the company after the fall of the technology investment bubble. So, since that moment, I’ve been helping other startups or friends and colleagues that are asking me for help.
Meanwhile, I was still working as a marketing director or business director for other companies. It was not until 2014 when I created my own consulting company, where I give consultancy and mentorship not only to big companies or big corporations, but also to small and medium companies, and also to startups. We always have a part of our time dedicated to startups.
Since you mentioned that you established your own company. How was it for you? What difficulties did you face?
My point of view on the working philosophy has always been an extrapreneurial or intrapreneurial approach. That means when I was working as a marketing director, as a product manager or business unit director, I always worked as the company was mine. I always had this idea that I was working for a common objective and with an entrepreneurial spirit.
Creating My own company was the natural thing to do and I did it when I I had the right mix of energy and expertise. When I work as a consultant or as a mentor for other companies, I always maintain this extrapreneurial approach. The goal is not only to give good advice but also to implicate yourself from an emotional point of view, to move the team, to give some extra power to any project. It’s a mix of passion and vision.
You are right, only with this approach, one can contribute 100% of their effort to the work.
Sometimes it’s not easy because you may feel that you are the only one who believes in the goal or in the common objective. You see that you have some colleagues that are not playing in the same way, but it’s much better to believe than not to believe. Even if sometimes you get a little bit disappointed, it is better to have trust in what you do than being skeptical about such an important part of your life, that is your job and your work.
“The best thing about a startup is also the worst thing. Start ups are “in love” with their idea of product or service. So “in love” that sometimes they are not able to admit that their offer is out of the market needs…“
Absolutely, skepticism does not lead to growth. Coming back to the mentorship, what is the most common problem with which companies come to you? Is there any pattern?
From my experience, the best thing about a startup is also the worst thing. Start ups are “in love” with their idea of product or service. So “in love” that sometimes they are not able to admit that their offer is out of the market’s needs. They believe that they have the best product in class and sometimes, they don’t want to hear anyone saying that maybe their product is not matching consumer needs, that maybe they have to change something in their marketing product definition. It’s better to understand that maybe you need to include your customer in the product improvement and the product definition processes. If you only consider the opinion of your friends and family, you can have big problems in implementing a mass-market approach. So, I always advise to contrast and refine/reframe the product or the service in order to be sure that you have the right market traction. This is actually the main problem. If you are very well oriented to the market, then normally sales will come. If you have an operational problem, you can solve that. But if you are out of focus in the market, if you are not matching the needs of the market, that’s something tough to maintain.
“Right now, we are already prepared and we will see in a very short time the creation of jobs like chief metaverse officer. “
Speaking of love for the job. I see that throughout your career, you were always in marketing. Looks like you found your passion quickly and you are following it throughout your life. Did you ever consider changing your career path? What is in your future workwise?
I’m in marketing because I have a global view of MARKETING [with capital letters], not marketing understood only as a tactical approach, as something superficial, that is looking for short-term results. Actually, MARKETING is really what a company is about. It’s how we match our product and service and the markets’ consumer needs in a profitable way. In other words strategy, innovation, and market understanding. And that’s what I like. I like the marketing that helps companies to better adapt to the market and find new opportunities which are there, but nobody sees . Anything related to innovation also has an extra interest for me because it’s a way of creating added value and giving some heritage to the world.
Regarding the future I’m looking for a spin-off of my service or a new approach to the consulting service that allows companies to get part of this service in a much more scalable way.. One company I already created is 1 Hour Experts Ltd, that is helping companies to get marketing information about consumer insights, hidden barriers, through experts interviews.
I have other ideas regarding a consulting platform that puts together clients and consultants, or a mentoring platform that helps at the beginning of the relationship between a mentor and a company that is looking for mentorship.
From your point of view, what are the most innovative and fast-growing industries nowadays? Any predictions for the future?
Right now, we are in front of two main changes of rules. The first change is marketing automation and artificial intelligence. I see many marketing departments where the product manager role is disappearing and instead they are being replaced by technical people to control marketing software. The micro-decisions are taken by the machine with a speed and with the capability of adaptation and flexibility that no human can have now. So, it’s clear that technology has entered all marketing spheres and we can see it in many, many CRM solutions in fintech, in e-mobility….
The second revolution is the metaverse, the new digital universe. There was already a trial in that sense. It was called Second Life many years ago. It was not successful, but even without being successful, they already created a metaverse where companies had their own real estate, well, digital estate, to place their shops, there were crypto coins moving around, where people were paying to get dressed and get more digitally attractive. It was very curious, but that was not able to go beyond because the technology was not agile enough. Right now, we are already prepared and we will see in a very short time the creation of jobs like chief metaverse officer. Our kids will probably go to a birthday party in Roblox, a digital party. We’ll see that many cosmetic companies will apply their efforts to create digital cosmetics in order to improve people’s attractiveness in the digital world. Together with cryptocurrency and with all the technology that we have, the next step would be quantum technology, which is the next revolution. But for that, maybe we need some 5 to 10 years, while metaverse is here and it is going to be our next chapter.
Stepping back for a moment to the physical universe, what is your opinion about Volvero?
First, you have a great team and that’s the most important thing of any startup. You have a good mixture of profiles, technical, marketing, and sales. And you have a good leader, Marco. He is very good at recognizing people and delegating, at playing with public affairs and public relations matters. He is very keen on that.
Second, you are on the right track: sustainability, cities with air pollution, traffic congestion, young people who want a new way of mobility… You have many trends that are pushing your service.
Third, you have the right team, you are in the right sector and you have an innovative approach. Why? Because you are using blockchain, unique insurance, adaptive policies, and artificial intelligence to provide a solution of drive sharing. So, it’s a new spin on car-sharing ideas that you refresh with new technologies and with your young team.
Thank you, we really appreciate the feedback. What about you: how do you move around?
Well, my first option is always walking. I try to do at least 10000 steps every day. Instead of taking a taxi, car or bike I try to walk… It is full of advantages: you have time to think, you have new inputs as you see the beautiful buildings, trees, people. And at the same time, if you have enough time, you get a little bit of fitness for free.
“I need mobility. I don’t need cars. “
Would you consider using drive-sharing when it comes to Barcelona?
Yeah, absolutely. My ideal scenario would be: “This weekend I am going to the mountains with the whole family or with my friends, I open the drive-sharing app and get a big jeep for a weekend”. It’s more convenient than having two or three cars for the whole year. Or one day if I have to go for a long trip to the north of Spain or to France, maybe I can take a quicker car that is not using so much fuel. So, I need mobility. I don’t need cars, and drive-sharing has this great advantage that is giving me much more options. The key point is to make it easy, and comfortable in the sense that I don’t have to plan too much my mobility options. If I want a car, I want to make decisions in one hour. That would be ideal.
So we already have a potential client for when Volvero comes to Spain, great news!
Anyway, that’s all we wanted to ask, thank you a lot for your insights.
Ekaterina Efimova, Marketing & Communications Lead at Volvero