Maria Sirbu has over 7 years of marketing experience, successfully leading teams to achieve business goals. As Marketing Manager at AscentCore, she is known for turning complex challenges into new opportunities for growth, leading both marketing and employer branding efforts. Maria focuses on driving business value and maximizing impact through process improvement, project delivery, and team development.

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Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’ve been passionate about marketing since high school, where I began studying the fundamentals of the field. However, my fascination with public speaking led me to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and eventually a Master’s degree in the same specialization. During my college years, I was deeply involved in the largest international student-run NGO – AIESEC, which sparked my interest in event planning. 

My professional journey began at an event planning agency where I spent over three years working with a variety of B2B companies. This experience broadened my understanding of different industries and honed my skills.

Looking for a greater challenge, I took on a leadership role as Marketing Manager for one of the largest coffee shop chains in Romania. There, I built a professional marketing team and developed strategies to align the brand with European trends. I also led the marketing efforts to open new locations across the country and expand online sales. This role was a pivotal moment for me, as it revealed my passion for helping companies grow by building capable, self-sustaining teams to increase brand awareness and drive lead generation.

As my career progressed, conversations with friends in the tech industry piqued my interest in the marketing efforts of software development companies. When the opportunity to join AscentCore arose, I embraced it wholeheartedly. Three years later, I continue to find the work both challenging and impactful. From the beginning, I recognized the untapped potential and numerous opportunities to enhance AscentCore’s market presence and drive lead generation, especially given the company’s specialization in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

Can you tell us more about AscentCore?

AscentCore is the preferred partner for world leading brands because we build software better, faster, smarter, and more efficiently by intersecting three value anchors: immersive client relationships where AscentCore becomes a deeply integrated arm of technology innovation, award-winning and actionable AI solutions to accelerate development, and superior development execution and high satisfaction scores based on decades of experience implementing and optimizing best practices.

Despite years of accelerated growth, the backbone of our work has never changed. AscentCore was founded with a singular vision: to be the arm of technology innovation for our clients – the exact characterization we were given by a previous enterprise customer. This commitment to pushing boundaries and delivering quality, velocity, value, and innovation remain at the center of our work – creating long-term trust in the partnership, the process, and the outcomes. The ultimate validation comes from our clients. Our exceptional service and commitment to tangible value is reflected in a sky-high net promoter score – 100% of our clients are promoters.

Our team is selected from the highest tier of talent and curated based on initiative and interpersonal skills to ensure an effective intra-team working relationship. Their deep integration into our customers critical business areas allows for valuable input and ensures solutions are tailored to address their specific challenges and goals.

Finally, our award-winning Artificial Intelligence research and solutions demonstrate our deep mastery of the technologies that are reshaping our world. Our commitment goes beyond simply talking about AI – we’re doing AI that delivers real-world results. In just one year, we’ve developed and implemented more than seven impactful AI solutions, empowering our partners’ businesses across various sectors. We also understand that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work in AI. That’s why we offer a comprehensive portfolio of AI solutions combined with the expertise to develop custom models that address their specific pain points, automate workflows, and unlock new opportunities for growth.

Based on your experience, what marketing strategies have been most effective for AscentCore?

Recent trends in the marketing landscape have shown that people – whether they’re your target audience/the ever-elusive ICP, or general consumers – are more likely to trust and interact with other people rather than companies or brands. Recognizing this, the AscentCore team has shifted our marketing outreach strategy to be founder or leader-led. This approach allows us to connect with potential customers or partners on a more personal and relatable level, fostering trust and engagement.

While AscentCore continues to engage in traditional, company-focused marketing efforts (people/followers especially love all of the team-building activities, company events, and executive speaking engagements we share), our primary focus for new lead generation and interest has been on tech-driven channels that have proven to be highly effective in reaching and engaging our target audience, instilling confidence in our new approach. These efforts put a new spin on traditional outreach and marketing campaign methodologies. In traditional marketing, we would put out our message about our company and what makes us great. With our renewed focus on customer/target-driven engagement, we look first at what our target audience is saying, then join the conversation at their level. By making the customer – rather than our company – the champion and coming to them at a more personal, one-on-one level, AscentCore is seeing an increase in exploratory conversations, meetings, and new development opportunities.

Digital marketing has many tactics, channels, formats, etc. Can you tell us how you choose the best ones for AscentCore? How do you decide where to put your efforts for the best ROI?

When it comes to selecting the best digital marketing tactics, channels, and formats for our company, the strategy begins with understanding our target audience and where they spend their time. For us, this means focusing on reaching C-Suite executives and high-level decision-makers at companies seeking outsourced software development and AI solutions.

Our approach involves scaling our outreach efforts to effectively engage this audience. We leverage platforms where our target audience is most active, ensuring our messages are tailored and relevant to their needs. Personalization is key to our strategy, as it significantly increased engagement and response rates. By continuously refining our outreach messages and approach, we’ve achieved notable success in connecting with potential clients. This has led to high engagement rates and a substantial number of scheduled meetings, demonstrating a strong return on investment from our efforts.

To further enhance our outreach, we also use data-driven insights to identify and connect with individuals and companies that align well with our services, even before they realize their need for them. This proactive approach ensures that we reach the right people with the right message at the right time, maximizing our impact and efficiency.

If you could change one thing about digital marketing, what would it be and why?

One thing I’d like to change about digital marketing is the level of personalization in customer interactions. Despite advancements in AI and data analytics, many marketing efforts still feel generic and impersonal. Increasing the level of personalization can significantly improve customer experience and engagement, leading to higher conversion rates and stronger customer relationships.

What does “success” look like for AscentCore?

Success, for AscentCore, means exceeding client expectations through innovation and building lasting partnerships. 

Our exceptional service and commitment to tangible value is reflected in the sky-high net promoter score (100% of our clients are promoters), and the fast-paced growth over the last few years as recognized by Financial Times in the “FT 1000” ranking. 

We take pride in fostering partnerships with world-leading companies that extend beyond 6 years, solidifying the trust and results we bring.

What trends do you currently see shaping the marketing industry? How are these trends influencing your marketing strategies and decision-making processes?

Beyond the hype, AI is fundamentally changing the landscape. Here’s what it means for us.

AI is changing the way we approach our strategies, allowing us to accelerate processes, more accurately segment our audiences and create highly personalized marketing messages that resonate on an individual level. Our expertise in delivering AI solutions is also attracting new clients who are eager to incorporate advanced technologies into their operations, making AI integration essential in today’s marketplace.

Another key trend influencing our marketing strategy is the increasing demand for content personalization and enhanced customer experiences. Consumers are tired of generic advertising and communications, leading to a growing preference for personalized, interactive and immersive content that speaks directly to their needs and interests. This shift is driving companies to invest more in creating customized omnichannel marketing experiences to more effectively engage their audiences.

Reflecting on your journey in digital marketing, what is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned that you would pass on to someone just starting out in this field?

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in digital marketing is the need for agility and adaptability. The digital landscape is constantly evolving, and what works today may not work tomorrow. For someone just starting out, it’s important to be open to change and ready to pivot strategies based on new data and trends.

A practical approach is to regularly review and adjust your marketing tactics based on performance metrics. Always be willing to experiment with new ideas, but just as importantly, know when to abandon what isn’t working. This mindset will ensure that you remain relevant and effective in a rapidly changing environment. Embrace the idea of being a lifelong learner; the best marketers are those who continually seek knowledge and adapt to the latest industry developments.

I’ve found that building strong relationships is vital. Networking and building connections with other professionals in the industry can provide insights and opportunities that are not always visible from your immediate perspective.

For newcomers, I recommend investing time in attending industry events, participating in online forums, and engaging with thought leaders on social media. These interactions can provide fresh perspectives, advice, and support that are invaluable. In addition, collaborating with others can lead to innovative ideas and partnerships that drive success. Remember, digital marketing is as much about the people and connections you make along the way as it is about the tools and tactics.

In your opinion, what’s the best book in the world:

While I can’t pinpoint a single “best book in the world”, for staying adaptable in B2B marketing (trends move fast!), I’d recommend a resource that keeps you up-to-date: the Exit Five podcast.

About AscentCore

AscentCore is the preferred partner for world leading brands because we build software better, faster, smarter, and more efficiently by intersecting three value anchors: immersive client relationships where AscentCore becomes a deeply integrated arm of technology innovation, award-winning and actionable AI solutions to accelerate development, and superior development execution and industry-leading satisfaction scores based on decades of experience implementing and optimizing best practices.

AscentCore was established in 2017 with a single vision: to be the arm of technology innovation for our clients – the exact characterization we were given by a previous enterprise customer. Toward that end, we partner with our clients to successfully bring world-class software products to market, with a specialized focus on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

AscentCore was recognized by Financial Times in the “FT 1000” ranking, and honored with The European Technology Award for Artificial Intelligence in Paris in 2022, recognized as the “Most innovative Artificial Intelligence Brand” both in Romania & The United States in 2023, among other recognitions.


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