How to Manage Distributed Teams Across Multiple Time Zones

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In the post we put the spotlight on Zemanta — a content-marketing automation platform. Zemanta is a platform for content management, distribution and measurement — all supplied through one dashboard. In its four years, it grew to 30 team members, spread across San Francisco, New York and Ljubljana, Slovenia.

In this interview, Dillon Ferdinandi — a product marketer on Zemanta’s corporate team — shares the strategies behind Zemanta’s growth and success. He also explains how they use dapulse Project Management and Team Collaboration to manage distributed teams across multiple time zones. The interview includes real screenshots.

Question: What exactly does Zemanta do?

Answer: At Zemanta we’ve built a platform for content marketing automation. We enable marketers — from Fortune 500 companies to digital agencies — to simplify and scale their entire content management, promotion and measurement process.

Q: What’s the product’s unique advantage?

A: Our platform — Zemanta One — is unique because it combines cross-channel media buying, audience insight tools and aggregated engagement analytics. As more and more organizations adopt content marketing as a core strategy, they will require tools and services to help scale, automate and optimize their programs.

Q: How is Zemanta different from its competitors?

A: In the advertising and marketing technology world, many technologies obfuscate data. At Zemanta we take pride in building a platform that provides complete transparency to the costs and performance for cross-channel media buying.

Q: Tell us a bit about the company. 

A: Zemanta was found in 2007, by Bostjan Spetic and Andraz Tori. Our original technology was built for the semantic web. We were really good at taking an article and understanding its meaning and context. Our first tool supplied bloggers with recommended and images, that related to the content they created.

Since, our business evolved, with the launch of our Content DSP (Demand Side Platform) in 2014. But our focus on content creation and distribution and the belief that every piece of content deserves to reach its total potential audience, has remained the same.

Now we are a team of 30 people, spread across San Francisco, New York and Ljubljana, Slovenia. We have over 100 brand marketers leveraging our technology to manage their content programs. And we’re growing rapidly as more and more organization focus on content marketing.

Q: How do you contribute to the success of your customers?

A: Before working with Zemanta, many of our customers had to maintain multiple vendors relationships without much automation or aggregated reporting. Zemanta-One simplifies the entire paid content promotion for customers, into a single dashboard and account manager.

Q: What has been your biggest go-to-market challenge?

A: While many organizations now understand the value of content marketing — statistics don’t lie — they are still just dipping their toes in the water. Beyond working to bring marketers on to our platform, we are constantly evangelizing the value of content marketing. So far, we’ve been successful. But there’s always more we can do!

Many organizations now understand the value of content-marketing — statistics don’t lie. But they are still just dipping their toes in the water.

Q: What has been your biggest growth engine?

A: In the last couple years, our biggest growth came from word of mouth. Marketers are always talking to other marketers about the software they use to be successful. We’re extremely fortunate that some of our biggest customers have come from referrals.

Q: How do you use dapulse to manage distributed teams?

A: We use dapulse in a few different ways:

  1. Product Development Status: Our engineering organization is always busy working on new features and the next iteration of our platform. We have a dapulse board that communicates a weekly status of each project to the product management and executive teams.
  2. Product Roadmap: We use dapulse to create and prioritize our product roadmap for each quarter.
  3. Engineering Status: Our engineering organization is divided into four nimble teams, each with their own focus — such as next generation technology, automation and data science. We use dapulse to track progress and understand which team member owns the project.

 

Q: What pain does dapulse solve for your business?

A: We’re a distributed team across multiple time zones , so we’re not in the same room together. We use tools like Google Hangouts and Slack to communicate in real-time, but we still need a project management tool to ensure all of our product-management and engineering organizations are operating at fast pace.

Q: What was “before dapulse”?

A: Before dapulse we used Google Docs, which we found very cumbersome. Google Docs is great for real-time collaboration, but it lacks the organization and project management features that we found valuable in dapulse.

Q: How does dapulse facilitate success for your company?

A: dapulse enables our company to stay organized and focused on shipping great software.

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