Stirista Founder Ajay Gupta Talks About His Recent Award from Marketing EDGE

Stirista is honored to learn that our founder and CEO has been named a Rising Star by Marketing EDGE, a national nonprofit devoted to marketing education.  The award goes to six young business people annually.  As described by Marketing EDGE, the Rising Stars Awards honor talented professional 40 years or younger who are leading the industry by disrupting the status quo and changing the way they market their organizations, while making significant strides in giving back to marketing education, all while achieving significant business results.

Read as B2B author and educator Ruth Stevens interviews Ajay about the award.

Q: This is quite an honor, Ajay.  Congratulations.  How are you feeling?

It feels really good to be recognized by my peers.  With this award, I am seeing that the approach we’ve taken to marketing is being validated.  It’s about marketing with quality data and transparent reporting.

Q: Why do you think you were picked?

For a long time, Stirista has been the plucky underdog.  But now we are being seen as a company that can really make formidable marketing programs for companies of all sizes. Having won an ECHO Award from the DMA last year was perhaps the first step for us in developing that recognition.

As a data company with agency services, we’re breaking barriers. Traditional agencies are trying to get more accustomed to using data.  We went the other way.  We began with data insights and used that to support traditional agency work, like campaign strategy and execution.  We are able to apply the innovative use of data to drive marketing decisions.

Q: How do you feel that this reflects on the growth of Stirista as a company?

In eight years, Stirista as a company has grown from two people to 42.  And luckily, most of those who started with us at the beginning are still here.  They’ve helped us realize the vision of a data company that can service customers with marketing communications.  The Stirista team is made up mostly of people who started here right out of college.  That’s the same journey as mine. We’ve all evolved as individuals and professionals together.

Q: Marketing EDGE prides itself on picking winners who “give back” to marketing education.  Is this an area of particular interest for you?

Most people, including myself, don’t really plan to grow up to be marketers.  Stirista can fulfill an important role by showing young people that data-driven marketing is not only a viable career option but has applications beyond marketing as well.  Learning how to use data analysis to find business opportunity is a set of skills that can be useful in many job categories.

Q: How do you plan to use the honor to grow your business?

This award arrives at a time of heightened awareness of traffic fraud and other serious problems with digital marketing today.  We plan to leverage the award as a platform to expand the reach of our ongoing message about honest and transparent marketing communications.  We want marketers to understand that there are big differences among providers in this space.

Second, we plan to take action in our local San Antonio community to foster marketing education.  This region isn’t as active a marketing hub as you find in Austin and other areas, but we see an opportunity to grow the profession here.  For example, Rackspace was taken over last year by private equity, and a sizable number of former employees have launched startups locally. This is very exciting.  We plan to get involved with the two local universities and the Alamo community college and help develop an educational event for students and professionals later this year.  What we have in mind is possibly a 2-day crash course in digital marketing.  I look forward to helping this idea take shape and become a tangible contribution to our community.

About the author

Stirista began as an ambitious project from an apartment in San Francisco. But as office space expanded, so did our client base. After a few short years, we have worked with the largest healthcare insurance provider in the world, the biggest telecommunication company in the US, and some of the most prestigious universities in the country. We are on the preferred vendor list for a handful of Fortune 500 companies, with three of the ten largest companies in the world turning to us for...


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