Meet the Team: Interview with CoinLoan’s CMO Ilia Stadnik

Many CoinLoaners are curious to learn more about the people behind our brand. This has inspired us to launch a series of interviews with staff members. Every few weeks, one of our colleagues will give you a glimpse into the inner workings of CoinLoan. Today, we are speaking with Chief Marketing Officer Ilia Stadnik, who has been at the helm of CoinLoan’s promotional campaigns since 2021.

— Ilia, could you tell us about your background?

I started my career in the United States — after getting a degree in Investment Finance, I worked for a car rental business with a strong focus on technology. Back then, in 2011, its booking app was a real trailblazer. Then, after a stint in information security, I got hired by an award-winning financial solutions company in Estonia.

Before joining CoinLoan, I dealt with marketing consulting for tech startups, including a couple of unicorns. At that time, I was working for a UK fintech bank that aimed to modernize local finance. Many big institutions there rely on decades-old solutions. The banking system is over 600 years old, so the idea of shaking it up inspired me.

— How did you eventually settle on marketing, and why crypto?

While working for the car rental startup, I had to wear many hats. I handled P&L planning, finance, insurance, presentations for stakeholders, and more. Once marketing was added to the mix, I realized it was exactly what I needed to focus on.

Crypto is an exciting fledgling market, but its benefits have not been fully realized. New businesses can create groundbreaking products and become pioneers. Their teams can feel part of something truly outstanding. The prospects are fascinating.

— What do you see as the most challenging aspect of promoting a crypto lending platform?

As the crypto market is still budding and lending is a novelty, gaining trust is the biggest challenge. There is an obvious lack of awareness. Naturally, attracting active traders is easy, but we have to explain the purpose of lending to users who are not crypto enthusiasts.

Secondly, explaining who we are and what we do to potential partners is not enough — we need to repeatedly prove that we are reliable, licensed, and so on. In crypto, unlike conventional banking, getting a license does not automatically make a company legit in the eyes of the public. Negotiations with partners are continuous.

In terms of marketing, our needs are similar to those of fintech. While there are special instruments for crypto audiences, they are still very limited. Unfortunately, conventional promotional platforms hesitate to accept crypto businesses. Even giants like Google have vague policies when it comes to crypto.

— How would you describe CoinLoan’s competitive edge? What are you doing to stay ahead of rivals?

Our competitive edge is our emphasis on providing a superior crypto product. We have full confidence in what we do. Some companies are bigger, and their marketing campaigns are more conspicuous. Yet, in terms of conditions and quality of services, CoinLoan is unrivaled. Looking ahead, competition will only grow more intense, but product quality will always be paramount to us.

Unlike competitors, we have a self-financing model. This approach has pros and cons. On the one hand, the absence of stakeholders is an advantage — we can develop excellent products and conditions without having to meet externally imposed targets.

On the downside, had we stuck to the conventional approach, we would have a bigger budget at our disposal. CoinLoan is a well-established company, but we cannot afford extravagant marketing stunts like putting our brand on a soccer field. All resources are channeled into developing products, attracting users and enhancing the CoinLoan ecosystem. We have to be forward-thinking to stay competitive.

— Do you try to attract “non-crypto native” users?

Absolutely, and we are on the right track — last year, we opened almost 900% more active accounts. Mainstream audiences have only started to explore this exciting new world — around 70% of users are yet to discover crypto. As new technologies, products, and services emerge, the crypto industry in general and CoinLoan, in particular, will offer more and more novel benefits.

— How many new coins and tokens has CoinLoan added to its platform in the past year, and how did you choose them?

Over the past year, we have included eight digital coins and one fiat currency — the British pound. If a promising asset is well-received by the crypto community and its circulation volume is sufficient, we can add it to our offering. For example, this was the case with Polkadot (DOT), Uniswap (UNI), Cardano (ADA), and SushiSwap (SUSHI).

New tokens and coins are popping up all the time, but they are not created equal. We pick candidates based on three criteria. First, legitimacy — we must protect users from scam tokens. Secondly, the origins and purpose of the token. Thirdly, the level of adoption among crypto investors.

— What developments of blockchain and crypto technology are you most excited about?

To me, the most thrilling facet is transactional potential. Crypto is convenient, fast, and safe for the end-user. These benefits are undeniable. Global digitization, which was accelerated by the pandemic, makes them particularly salient. Business relations, like personal connections and travel, are more globalized than ever.

We have learned to establish diverse interactions through the internet, and crypto has the power to advance them. Blockchain applications facilitate business operations, which is their key aspect as I see it. It is now possible for companies to automate their agreements execution via smart contracts, but these technologies are still nascent — they are far from reaching their full potential.

— Do you expect the surge in mainstream interest in crypto to continue, and is your platform scalable enough to support it?

Yes, the interest is bound to grow. What’s more, crypto businesses are yet to reach their key audiences — as I have said before, around 70% of users have not even begun exploring crypto.  The first obstacle is a lack of comprehensive solutions. The second reason is a lack of awareness — many consumers are not ready to look beyond familiar solutions. For example, they don’t understand the benefits of crypto payments over mainstream methods.

As new companies emerge, crypto services will continuously evolve. CoinLoan will keep coming up with exciting solutions, so our platform will attract more and more users. In terms of scaling, we are poised for success. We won’t scale for the sake of scaling, though — it is crucial to maintain the same quality of services as CoinLoan grows.

— What would you say are the biggest achievements of your company over the past six months?

We have finalized our marketing strategy and team. Previously, after a period of organic growth, CoinLoan gained credibility but still lacked exposure. Over the past six months, we have made headway to expand our client base and form a roadmap for the future.

For CoinLoan as a self-financing company, a strategic plan backed by solid research is indispensable. Any action we take is based on strong evidence.

— Could you tell us about the most exciting case in CoinLoan’s marketing?

This is probably the influx of interest from one region where we used to market our platform. The local ad campaign came to a close long ago, but new users are still coming in. Essentially, the client base is still growing without any effort on our side. This shows two things: the audience trusts us, and word-of-mouth is incredibly powerful.

— What are CoinLoan’s practices for collecting customers’ feedback? How do you apply customer feedback to product dev and operations?

Our approach to feedback has three pillars — continuous support, business development, and NPS research [Net Promoter Score is a customer loyalty metric]. We collect information from users perpetually to keep up with their changing needs. Every month, the team produces a summary of their suggestions to define key insights. Keeping abreast of market trends is important, but we make products for our target audience, so we trust it more.

— How do you address users' security concerns?

First, we have a strong product security team. Secondly, we operate in the EU legal field and adhere to its requirements to the letter. Our compliance approach is comprehensive — it includes all legal and technical aspects.

It is true that crypto is a wild west, and there are plenty of fishy companies willing to capitalize on the demand. To keep our users safe, we make decisions based on market research and their feedback. We feel it is better to be safe than sorry, and time proves us right again and again.

To anticipate threats, we are constantly analyzing our niche and the market in general. Clients of CoinLoan have nothing to worry about.

— What can we see from CoinLoan in the future? What lies ahead?

In the grand scheme of things, we will continuously develop new solutions that will boost demand for crypto and help it reach its full transactional potential. In the short term, CoinLoan is going to update its loyalty program and launch its innovative Visa card. This product will give users more transactional power — they will be able to store, swap, and spend fiat and crypto conveniently worldwide.

Through continuous innovation, we are building an all-encompassing financial ecosystem. Ultimately, our key priorities — convenience and excellent service — will continue to define our direction.