Lev Kaye, CredSpark
The Di5ru.pt blog

It all starts with asking questions. Specifically, when B2B and specialist media routinely ask questions of their audiences, they unlock their best competitive weapon against the Big Platforms–creating conversational, value-added interactions, says Lev Kaye, Founder and CEO, CredSpark.

Lev will be one of our roundtable hosts at Media Makers Meet (Mx3 Berlin) on 19 & 20 October, where he will help facilitate participants’ collective wisdom to discuss topics core to the industry’s future. In particular, he will focus on First-Party Data Strategies for specialist media, having conversations around questions such as:

  • What is the potential for First-Party (or Zero-Party) Data to level the playing field against Google, Meta and big platforms? 
  • What specific, implementable FPD strategies can specialist media use to simultaneously improve revenue and become closer and deeply relevant to their audiences?

Before we learn a little more about Lev, his career and his thoughts on media challenges and opportunities, for those of you still wanting to register for Mx3 Berlin, you can do so here. And as part of our ongoing Meet the Speaker series, you can do so with a speaker discount of 20 per cent using the promotional code “Di5rupt_20” when you register.

Mx3 Berlin takes place on 19 & 20 October at Fabrik23 in Berlin, Germany. Read more about the event at mediamakersmeet.com

Over to Lev…

Tell us a little more about yourself.

After 20+ years in tech and learning businesses, I left the corporate world to start CredSpark, a software and services business that helps media firms create more engaging, more valuable digital interactions. I’m a father of three who lives in Brooklyn, New York. When not working, parenting or seeing friends, I feed my twin habits of consuming Spotify and magazines.

Tell us about your earlier career.

After graduating from a small liberal arts college, my first seven working years were in tech/telecoms, including one of the earliest Internet startups in the US, founded in 1993. I got an MBA from Harvard in 2001 and was soon drawn to educational tech & publishing. During roles at larger firms (Kaplan, Princeton Review) and startups, I grew more fascinated with how people in the workforce learn, interact, and build relationships informally from diverse sources, such as B2B publications, industry events, and so forth. I realized that with the right digital tools, companies producing content were well-positioned to help their readers/subscribers improve their professional knowledge; build important relationships; gain insights, and have more meaningful and compelling experiences with content—all of this helping advance their careers and grow their businesses.  

Tell us about your current role.

As Founder & CEO of CredSpark, I’m proud to lead a small but highly-talented team spread across four continents, with about half coming from Europe. We are a ‘bootstrapped’ startup, with no outside investors. This healthy budgeting constraint forces us to focus rigorously on creating measurable ROI for clients to grow; we have neither surplus time nor funds to waste. At the same time, the small team means there’s terrific collaboration and near-zero ‘office politics’, which my colleagues and I all enjoy.

What are the main challenges for B2B/special interest media verticals?

I think their biggest challenge lies in re-imagining themselves: They need to stop thinking of themselves as creating content and instead think of themselves as catalyzing conversations. It’s conversations that build relationships, which in turn build understanding and trust, which then create real value—specifically, conversations between their media brands and audience members, between audience members themselves, and between vendors/sponsors and individuals. B2B and special interest media need to take specific steps to become conversational and more community-focused in their audience approach.

What are the main opportunities for B2B/special interest media verticals?

B2B and special interest media are well positioned to mean more to their audience members than anyone else: They can be a trusted and ongoing source of knowledge and guidance to individuals while at the same time having the best available audience first-party data and insights for advertisers and sponsors.

Google and Meta/Facebook are too big to compete effectively with focused media companies that:

  • Ask questions of their audiences on an ongoing basis, in order to deliver more relevant and helpful content and experiences.
  • Put peoples’ trust, privacy, and consent to the fore while getting the right marketing & messages in front of the right individuals.
  • Develop smart, interactive content that can serve as a ‘guide on the side’ to individuals seeking to advance their careers, craft or business.
  • Create interactive, compelling experiences across content, events, advertising, and more to deepen audience relationships.

If you want to register for Mx3 Berlin and meet Lev and other international colleagues, you can do so here. As part of our ongoing Meet the Speaker series, you can do so with a speaker discount of 20 per cent using the promotional code “Di5rupt_20” when you register.