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Case Study: Payelp

Branding, B2B Marketing Strategy, PR, Content

Specializing in digital payments and business solutions, Payelp was the North American brand of Dengi Online, one of the largest online payment companies in Russia (HQ: St. Petersburg). I was hired as their fractional Head of Marketing and PR to do branding and B2B marketing strategy as well as executing on tactics to increase brand awareness and meet business growth objectives. I worked with the team for several years, and was later hired as a fractional CMO to help build the CEO's next venture, EPrime Global.


The company already had success as Dengi Online in Russia, but that name wouldn’t work in North America so the brand Payelp was formed. I was in charge of brand strategy, working with the CEO of Payelp as well as the CEO of the parent company to help position the company as a leader in digital payments and business solutions in North America.

B2B Marketing Strategy

Payelp’s goal, like many B2B companies, was to become a thought leader, gain publicity for the company, and obtain new client partners. Although they were relatively new, they were already targeting some of the largest brand names in the world as key target accounts, so we decided on ABM (Account Based Marketing), focusing on strategic content, events and publicity to form and strengthen relationships with partners and key accounts as well as helping to establish Payelp as a thought leader.

Execution: PR, Events + Content

As there was so much to do, Payelp hired me on full time as a contractor for 2 years, and during this time, I planned and managed all conferences including GDC, Gamescom, Sociality Rocks, etc., as well as writing the press releases and pitches for media coverage. I also wrote the brand messaging framework and web copy, and managed creative direction of all assets, including marketing collateral, booth and event designs, the web site, presentations and more. Although I did a lot of the work myself, I managed a small team of contractors to help with graphic design, content and events. Payelp obtained prolific media coverage in Business Insider, VentureBeat, Games Industry, PC Gamer and many other tier one and niche publications.

The Challenge

As part of Payelp’s goal to become a thought leader, gain publicity for the company, and obtain new client partners, the CEO wanted to speak at GDC (Game Developer Conference), where most of their target accounts would be that year; GDC is one of the world’s largest B2B PC and online game conferences held annually in San Francisco. Unfortunately, the Call for Submissions had ended, so I had to ‘think creatively’ and come up with another option.

Case Study
The Solution

As Payelp specialized in monetization for games (and also payment solutions for retail), I approached the CEO with the idea of Payelp becoming the Platinum Monetization Sponsor, a package that would give Payelp the opportunity to have a full day of panels and Q & A’s, in addition to visibility throughout the convention (through banners, tote bag inserts, etc.). The cost was outside of the company’s budget however (I had only been working with them briefly at this point, so I was unable to plan for this event properly), so I asked if I could approach some of the leaders of their key target accounts that I knew would also be attending the convention. 

My idea was to come up with panel topics and Q & A’s that would resonate with each of these accounts based on their specialty and geographical focus and also be topics that would be interesting to the audience, thereby helping to strengthen these relationships as well as (hopefully) positioning Payelp as a thought leader. I asked them if they would each pay a portion of the cost (around $4,000 for each partner) to join in on the panels and Q & A’s, as it would also be beneficial for them; the vast majority (90%) agreed.

The Results

We had a very successful event, partnering with C-suite executives from Microsoft Game Studios, Tencent, and more. As a result of this event and strategic partnership with key accounts, relationships were forged and Payelp gained their #1 target account, the largest online gaming platform in the world, resulting in over $1.5 million in revenue and a 9900% ROI from this one event. I also managed their PR, and Payelp gained significant press coverage in Business Insider, VentureBeat and other tier-one publications as a result of this new client partnership.

Albert Donahue, CEO of Payelp:
"I definitely recommend Heather Sabitov, whom I have worked with for over 4 years in different companies and projects. Besides being a joy to work with, Heather is a ‘take-charge’ kind of person and she greatly understood the agenda and the goal of any assignments and developments she was in charge with. Heather served in many capacities, including online marketing, branding, web design and site optimization and PR, including event coordination/management and moderation of round tables."