Viktor Szuhai, the CMO of Xeropan (and co-owner of Planet of the apps), tells us about studying English and German using interactive quizzes on everyday topics.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Xeropan.
Viktor Szuhai: I am the co-owner of the Planet of the apps, one of the biggest mobile app marketing agencies in the CEE region, and I was looking for new partners. When I found Xeropan, they had just changed their monetization strategy and were looking for a new mobile marketer. I met Attila Algharawi and Ferenc Mile, the founders of Xeropan, we had a really good conversation, and we found out that we look at the challenges Xeropan will face in the same way. They told me they were looking for someone who could reach the 100% ROAS within a year, which seemed to be a huge challenge because they were pretty far from there. But since I love challenges, we agreed to start working together, at first only part-time, but the company’s vision and the challenges made me focus more and more on Xeropan. We reached the 100% ROAS within 9 months. It was clear that we could work together well and have an exciting journey!
Do you have small habits that made a meaningful impact on your life and business?
Viktor Szuhai: Planning, re-planning, and lots of online meetings. Since Xeropan had a really intense journey during the pandemic, we doubled our sales within 3 months, released Xeropan Classroom to a totally different target audience, and got into Google Accelerator Program. We are not afraid to review our plans and re-plan our activities if necessary. And to make sure everybody in the team is in line with the company’s goal (even during a pandemic with everybody doing home office), we organize lots of short online meetings with the team, where we talk about the successes of each team, and the goals we have to reach together.
How does Xeropan market its product/services online?
Viktor Szuhai: Since our investors had really strong expectations about the growth of Xeropan, we had to find the best-performing channels and markets and optimize our campaigns constantly to have higher and higher ROAS even when we did not have new features. At first, we only used channels and ad types where we could optimize for install overviews or clicks. And when we had enough data, we changed our campaign settings to optimize for in-app actions ( trial signup and subscription ) over installs. With this, we can make sure we do not spend our budget on channels where we do not see a direct impact on our sales. For this, we found Google App Campaigns as the best platform, but we still use other channels ( Facebook, SearchAds ) for branding purposes, and we are always testing new app-focused platforms to see if we can have better results.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to manage your online marketing?
Viktor Szuhai: For tracking our marketing activities in one place, we are using Kochava, but we also built our own dashboard where we can see the main KPI-s of the users’ in-app activities. For managing skills, we started to use OKR-s in order to have a personal goal for each team member. We have weekly calls every Monday where we can prioritize each employee’s tasks for the week. We also do retrospective meetings every 2 weeks where we can talk about how things went well in that period and what we could do even better.
What is your hiring policy/process, and how do you retain your employees?
Viktor Szuhai: About hiring, we usually give a test assignment to our candidates, and we only schedule our first call when the candidate completes that task well. It saves us lots of time for us.
We pay attention to organizing online calls and offline meetings where we can have some fun together as well. We have yearly team-building trips, but a random organized after-hour dinner or beer is usual at Xeropan. At the C level, we pay attention to giving the possibility to our colleagues to give us (and the company) regular feedback, and we are open to changing our processes when a good idea comes up. For example, right now, we are just about to start a common step challenge to bring the team together and even healthier.
How are you funding your growth?
Viktor Szuhai: We had 2 fundraising rounds in the last 3 years that helped us reach our goals, and we spend most of our income coming from the application stores on user acquisition to be able to grow continuously.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Viktor Szuhai: We look at Busuu and Babbel as our biggest competitors. Our main USP is our content because Xeropan only contains lessons that were created by language teachers and translated by professional translators, while our competitors usually make lessons and translate them using AI, which is getting better and better but right now, cannot reach the level of humans in this sector. And our content development team is doing a great job, so we are just about to launch our new languages, French and Spanish. Also, by having Xeropan Classroom, we can reach out to a different audience and market, where we have less competition.
Tell us a customer success story of yours.
Viktor Szuhai: We have over 2 million downloads from more than 170 countries around the world, so we have lots of success stories. But we are always happy to see when we receive a message from the older generation, and we can see that we help users even over 70-80 years old learn a new language.