In this captivating interview, we have the privilege of speaking with Ben Plomion, a marketing veteran with an impressive track record spanning over two decades. As the CMO at Dibbs, a groundbreaking tokenization platform that is transforming the world of collecting in Web3, Ben is at the forefront of driving innovation and collaboration with influential entities like Amazon and notable individuals such as Chris Paul. Prior to his current role, Ben served as the Chief Growth & Marketing Officer at GumGum, where he played a pivotal role in shaping contextual advertising. His leadership journey also includes holding various esteemed positions at GE Capital, where he spearheaded the company’s global digital media practice. Beyond his professional accomplishments, Ben is a recognized contributor to Forbes, a board member of the MMA, and a trusted advisor to Deanna.ai, PebblePost, and #Paid. Join us as we delve into Ben’s vast expertise, insights on marketing, and his impactful contributions to the ever-evolving digital landscape.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got started in your field?
I’ve been in technology for over 20 years, and I love the fact that this industry is constantly evolving and intellectually stimulating. I started my career in fintech in London, where I worked on the first mobile application for a Dubai telecom operator in 2000 (before smartphones even existed!). I then moved to New York City and worked in financial services for a few years. I led GE Capital’s Center of Excellence for digital marketing, which is where I became passionate about advertising and marketing technologies.
I joined the adtech industry in its early days, when we built the infrastructure for programmatic advertising. Programmatic was wild back then, but it’s now the most common way to deliver ads online. I sold my first adtech company to Magnite, a leading video and CTV company. I then moved to Los Angeles to work as Chief Growth Officer for GumGum, another adtech company. After more than 12 years in adtech, I wanted to find my next challenge in a new, emerging industry. Web3 was an obvious fit. It’s wild, it’s disruptive, and it’s the future.
I joined Dibbs as CMO to launch the company’s Tokenization-as-a-Service (TaaS) business. The business was founded by Evan Vandenberg, our CEO, who needed help managing all commercial activities. In my current role, I’m responsible for strategy, sales, customer success, and marketing. I love the challenge of working in a fast-paced, ever-changing industry, and I’m excited to be a part of the web3 revolution.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career, and how did you overcome them?
Web3 as an industry is one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in my career so far. My role is to develop a set of products and services that help our brands and IP holders enter web3 without the hassles that are associated with this new category. We do so by leveraging things that these organizations are familiar with: physical collectibles. In addition to conducting market research, developing a value proposition, and going to market, I am also the voice of the customer to Dibbs’ senior leadership team.
The fundamental challenge I try to solve for our clients is to make our value proposition as compelling as possible in a space (i.e., the web3 industry) that is changing almost every day. This requires a lot of education: we have a small marketing team that is producing high-quality content. We just published the most accessible and easily digestible piece of web3 educational content I’ve ever seen to-date: a comic book that demystifies web3 for marketers. These are the sorts of things that can move the needle for the industry, and Dibbs, as well.
What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned throughout your career, and how have they influenced your approach to leadership?
Never rest on your laurels. Consumer behavior and technology are constantly evolving, so it’s important for marketers to stay up-to-date on the latest trends. This means being curious about new technologies and platforms, and being willing to experiment with new marketing strategies. It also means being constantly learning and growing, both professionally and personally. Curiosity is the most important trait I am looking for when hiring new team members.
Over communicate. Do what you say and say what you do, and do that a couple of times each week. In today’s fast-paced world, it’s more important than ever for leaders to communicate effectively with their direct reports. For example, in the absence of communication by the senior leadership team, employees feel the void, and it is not generally for the better. Many challenges can be solved by simply communicating frequently to your team. This means being clear, concise, and consistent in your messaging. It also means being transparent about your goals and objectives. It also means being open to feedback and input from your team.
Adjust to a post-COVID world. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the way we live and work. As a result, we should adapt to a new reality. This means embracing new technologies and platforms, and finding new ways to reach and engage with your team (e.g., having global teams with flexible hours, offshoring advanced marketing skills, blending work and personal life, adopting new communication tools such as Discord, etc.). It also means being flexible and adaptable, and being willing to change your plans as needed. All of these things need to be embraced, not feared. Employees have never been happier, so let’s keep it up!
What project has been the highlight of your career so far?
I know that AI is a really hot topic right now. I don’t mean to be a hipster about it, but I have always been interested in AI technology. This project is five-years-old and was one of the most fascinating ones I’ve done. At my previous employer, GumGum, we wanted to figure out how closely a machine could mimic the human creative process. We created a visual Turing test to see whether humans could detect AI art from a selection of human-made art.
One thing that people don’t know about you?
I have a beagle named Madame Popeye. She is 10-years-old and the bane of my existence 🙃 I have truly become her janitor but, despite her constant ramblings, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Do you have a favorite marketing podcast, social media account, or series to recommend?
I got into NFTs a little more than a year ago, and my collection is growing constantly. I am a Moonbird token-holder and community member, so I love listening to Kevin Rose’s podcast. Even if you are not into NFTs, this show is truly about marketing to communities.
What advice would you give to young professionals or entrepreneurs who are just starting out in your field?
Try out a few things, and remember that you are more likely to shine in areas that may not be initially popular. No marketer really wanted to learn about neural networks 10 years ago, and yet now, AI is all the rave.
We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Ben Plomion for sharing his valuable insights and experiences with us during this interview. Ben’s extensive background in technology and marketing, along with his passion for innovation, has truly been inspiring. We appreciate his openness in discussing the challenges he has faced throughout his career and how he has overcome them, demonstrating resilience and adaptability. Furthermore, his emphasis on continuous learning, effective communication, and adjusting to a post-COVID world offers invaluable advice to professionals and leaders in the field. Lastly, we would like to express our gratitude for Ben’s recommendation of the Moonbird podcast and his encouragement for young professionals to explore emerging areas and technologies. It has been an absolute pleasure speaking with Ben and gaining insights from his wealth of knowledge and experiences. Thank you, Ben, for your time and valuable contributions!