Spotlight on Marketing: A Conversation with Dana Cass, VP of Marketing, IVIX
One of the great things about working with start-ups is the opportunity to work with founders to find the right marketing talent. Matan Fattal and Doron Passov, co-founders of IVIX, the first technology platform purpose-built to combat the shadow economy, needed a new VP of marketing to help them propel the company forward. When the three of us met Dana Cass, we knew she was the perfect fit. Now that she’s officially joined the team, I got to sit down with her to talk about her new role and the opportunity at IVIX.
Why did you join IVIX?
I’ve devoted my career to helping institutions use data and technology to serve the public more effectively. Prior to joining IVIX, I spent nearly a decade at Palantir, a company that builds software for government and industry to make data-driven decisions. First as a proposal writer, then as a marketer, I grew to love helping public servants deliver on their missions and sharing their stories of success and impact. I look forward to applying the lessons I learned at Palantir — from landing key civilian contracts to revamping the brand strategy to taking the company public in 2020 — to my work at IVIX.
From my first conversation with CEO Matan Fattal, I could tell that IVIX had that elusive combination of unique technology and strong business momentum. Selling to government is hard, but with talented engineers and an excellent bench of advisors who are leaders in the world of tax, IVIX is well-positioned to succeed. I jumped at the chance to build this promising company’s story from the ground up, and I can’t wait to get started!
What’s changed the most about your job as a marketer over the course of your career?
Speaking as a B2G marketer: In 2012, few startups were pursuing government business, and simply being from Silicon Valley was a draw. Competitive positioning was as simple as “We’re not Beltway bandits.” (That’s what Washington DC calls the systems integrators and service providers who sell to the US federal government.)
Fast forward a decade later: Founders and VCs have realized that government agencies are great customers. The “Beltway bandits” are investing heavily in technology, and tech companies often partner with them on bids instead of always competing directly. And the Silicon Valley label comes with some baggage these days.
We marketers are working a lot harder to differentiate ourselves from the competition, and we’ve added partner marketing to our plate. We’re also rigorous about communicating our values and ethics, as governments and the public rightly pay more attention to the risks of technology.
What’s the hardest part of a marketer’s job today? Specifically working with a start-up like IVIX?
Breaking through the noise. It’s an age-old problem for marketers that’s evolved along with digital marketing. It’s more or less an imperative these days to have a robust, multichannel content marketing program, so just about every company is producing and promoting a ton of content. To build and maintain equity for a new brand, you need to create quality content, for multiple channels, at the consistent and frequent cadence that our algorithmic distribution channels reward. It takes time and effort on behalf of not only the marketer, but the whole company — and that’s a lot to ask of a lean team with competing priorities!
What is the brand you admire most and why?
Microsoft. With even-keeled leaders such as Satya Nadella and Brad Smith, and simple, thoughtful messaging, they gracefully navigate controversies that trip up their peers. Now, that’s probably because of lessons hard learned during the 1998 antitrust trial, but I love to see a company learn from its mistakes and move forward.
Finish this sentence. If I weren’t a marketer, I would be…