Hi there, my name is Kamil Dębski and I would like to invite you to listen to the next episode of LOANDO Podcast. In our series, we present the profiles of company employees and reveal how the work behind the scenes in the largest fintech group in Poland looks like. Today my guest is Michalina Maruszewska, LOANDO Group Head of International. Good morning! Hello! You have the position of Head of International in our company. Can you tell us briefly what your responsibilities are? At LOANDO Group, I am responsible for all activities on foreign markets. We are currently developing five European markets and are planning to expand into new ones. My duties include administrative issues, team building, but first of all I focus on business activities, i.e. attracting new advertisers and providing them with an appropriate form of promotion (both indoor and outdoor). How is the process of foreign expansion going on? Can you share with us some details? There are two main axes of this process. On the one hand, we work with clients from the financial sector and, just like in Poland, we focus on companies that provide loans. Clients who already know us and know our value are more willing to enter into cooperation with us on other markets. We also include local companies in our portfolio and want to work with them. On the other hand, we provide these advertisers with sources of traffic through our own databases of customers interested in these products, building our own websites, carrying out SEO activities or SEM campaigns. In addition, we establish cooperation with external publishers and affiliate networks. I would like to talk more broadly about establishing cooperation with foreign publishers and affiliate networks. Cooperation with external sources of traffic is carried out through our Affiliate 44 affiliate network. Publishers are individual owners of websites, portals or databases with customers interested in this financial area. Although the scale of activities with publishers is usually slightly smaller than in the case of web activities, such spaces are more targeted and adapted to our products. Therefore, the quality of these potential customers is higher, which also affects the level of e-commerce coefficients. Affiliate networks bring together such publishers. We cooperate with affiliate networks that have a similar end customer profile or work with similar products. In this case, it is easy to determine the scale of activities. If you had to compare customer acquisition i.e. loan companies and establishing cooperation with publishers or affiliate networks. Which process is more difficult? Which one requires more work? I think it is easier to work with affiliate networks because we all speak one language, we know all the integration and cooperation mechanisms and processes. Acquiring larger individual publishers is more difficult. This is due to the fact that more networks or advertisers compete to use their advertising space and enhance their portfolios (laughs). You are responsible for the development of LOANDO Group in foreign markets, but one of those foreign markets is quite special for you. By this I mean Spain, where you spent a few years. What were you doing there? I had the pleasure to live there for almost 10 years. I graduated from my studies and gained a lot of professional experience, especially in online marketing, international communication, SEO and SEM activities. In the period of almost 10 years you have certainly managed to expand your knowledge of the culture, customs and way of life of the Spanish people. Does all this make it easier for you to develop this market? This definitely helps, because I can communicate and discuss business topics in Spanish. Thanks to speaking Spanish it is also much easier to verify what we do, which is to be up to date with some trends or content that we create for our own websites. Aside from the Spanish market, LOANDO Group also operates in several other countries. Could you tell us in what ones? Yes, we operate in Russia, Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Romania, but this is only the beginning. I would like to know which market is the most demanding? Each of these markets is a little bit different and poses different challenges, so these difficulties are changing dynamically, especially in terms of administrative matters. For example, cooperation with Russia, which is not an EU member state, is quite difficult. Sometimes these are legal issues that regulate the activity of our clients and advertisers on our market. Usually it results from some structure or saturation or maturity of the market. When working with several foreign markets, I will never complain about the lack of challenges (laughs). Can you tell us what is common and what is different about the markets on which LOANDO operates? The sector of the markets in which we operate is not very diverse. This is due to the nature of the products we promote. The only thing that can is different is the degree of regulation of lenders’ activity in these markets. For example, Spain is one of the last markets in the European Union where there is not much regulation in this field. Interestingly enough, the law on loans was passed in that country in 1908 and has not yet changed… In Russia, on the other hand, there are completely different rules concerning the provision of Internet services in cooperation with the European Union. You have recently come back from Barcelona, where the Affiliate World Europe 2019 conference took place. Why did you attend this event? It was a great opportunity to represent LOANDO and Affiliate 44 in Spain, which is now one of our priority markets. I also knew that it would be easier to find potential traffic providers there, not only for our Spanish campaigns, but also for other markets where we operate. Did you manage to accomplish what you planned to during this event? I think so! We have come back with quite a lot of contacts and we are now in the process of signing the first ones of them. The effects of this conference will be visible not only when it comes to foreign markets, because during this event we managed to gain new sources of traffic for the Polish market. I know that over the years of your career you have attended several international conferences on the subject of affiliation. Can you tell us something about them? Which one of them made the biggest impression on you? I was at the Affiliate World Europe conference for the third time, earlier it was organised in Berlin, the it was moved to Barcelona. A noteworthy event is also the large technology fair, Dmexco, which takes place every year in Cologne. I also visited Israel Mobile Summit in Tel Aviv, Affiliate Summit East and West in New York and Las Vegas. How would you compare Affiliate World Europe in Barcelona to these events? Both in terms of organisation and subjects? It’s a very well organised event, so I suggested that LOANDO attends it. At this conference, I always managed to establish promising business relations, which then translated into satisfying results. I think Affiliate World is one of the most valuable affiliate events in Europe. Are you planning to participate in any other foreign conferences? Yes, because of our presence in Russia and Ukraine, we are going to the Kyiv Affiliate Conference at the beginning of October. This is a new event in Europe that promises to be interesting and we should be there! Tell me, what are the most satisfying goals you have achieved at LOANDO so far? I think it’s too early to boast of big successes because I’m not working for this company long enough. I’m happy to see Loando and Affiliate 44 at the conference in Barcelona, so that we can slowly gain more international recognition. It is also worth mentioning the first recruitment successes, recently Nicole has been hired to work for the Spanish team. The team is tasked with creating content for Spanish-speaking websites. The business results are also promising for the time being, but recently it turned out that Loando.es has doubled its results. I am glad that we made it happen! At the end of our conversation, I would like to ask you what challenges will you focus on in the coming months? As far as the international expansion of LOANDO Group is concerned, we do not want to stop at just doing business in Europe. Mexico will be our new direction and I can already reveal the information that the Mexican version of the Loan Comparison Service will be available soon. Thanks talking to me. It was my pleasure. I would also like to thank the listeners for their time and encourage them to follow our LinkedIn profile and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Talk to you soon!