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Optimove’s CEO Pini Yakuel shares his notions on what’s next for the marketing industry.

Video Transcript

– [Pini] All right. So, very exciting, everybody. Thank you for being here. I’m going to start my talk by first of all introduce myself more properly. My name is Pini Yakuel, I’m the founder and CEO of Optimove. Actually, it’s my first job. And I’ve been doing this for a while and this thing kind of like, it’s a life journey for me. And I always say that I’m the one that’s growing the company, but in return the company is also growing me. So it’s this relationship that we have. And yeah, today I’m going to talk about…I’m going to start with a few slides about just, kind of like, the State of the Union, which has never been stronger, and just a few stats, a few things to mention about…oh, yes, I’m probably going to need this… to mention about us as a company. And then I’m going to go to the main topic of the presentation. So let’s get started.

This is us, by the way, in Optimove Connect last year. As you can see, Amit’s always wearing the same thing. He has a costume just sometimes he changes the bowtie to a tie. But, yeah, so he’s the linchpin of our marketing. So this was us a year ago, and today we have a stronger and better show, as many of you can see, the ones that came back. But let’s get started. A few facts and figures. So clicker? Yeah, thank you. So a few things to mention. So first of all, growth. We live in a capitalistic society and essentially, we’re all measured on growth.

So Optimove is a more mature business now. We are 150 strong, the size of the staff, across three offices in the world. The main office is still Tel Aviv in terms of R&D and development and marketing and customer care. But we also have strong representations in New York and London, whereas there we do customer facing and sales. So we take care of our customers in those territories personally. We grew from 100 last year. In terms of growth, revenue growth, we grew 60%, which is an impressive rate. And we believe that we can continue in this rate in years to come, and really become a massive force in the world of relationship marketing. Thought leadership. So PostFunnel, sorry, yeah, thought leadership. So, by the way, Optimove Connect, on its own, it’s the evidence of our commitment to thought leadership. So thought leadership is about really bringing content and having unique thoughts. Actually having thoughts and ideas about the space in which we operate in, and essentially bringing you guys together, having you share ideas and thoughts.

And to express this commitment, we actually launched a newspaper. We have our own newspaper called PostFunnel. You can talk to them over there, you can actually get a physical printout of the paper, but essentially, it’s an online play. And PostFunnel uses external riders where we edit them and we choose the topics to cover everything post funnel, everything that has to do with relationship marketing, CRM marketing. So these are the main three things kind of like that happened in terms of the types of clients that we work with. Thank you. Oh, thank you. So in terms of the types of clients that we work with, we are still leaders in gaming.

So gaming being from Tel Aviv, this is the initial industry that accepted us being so much more savvy and digital than everybody else at the time, especially. So great companies like we saw today on stage. We saw Sisal, Lottoland is here, Miniclip, obviously GVC, LeoVegas, and many, many more great brands, both in social and real money gaming. And we are, by far, the leaders of that space, and happy to say that now it’s effect, we are also a force in eCommerce and retail. What we find is the most innovative retailers work with Optimove. You guys saw a few examples on stage today. And you saw from the lectures, the level of depth and understanding that these people have. So we feel that it’s a great testament to our brand that they choose us. So people like Stitch Fix and and Glossier, and many, many others.

So Optimove and retail is now really, really a strong partnership. And continuing into the future, financial services, we have a foothold in financial services. Companies like Chubb, which is a massive insurance company in the United States, GoCompare in the UK, and eToro, a wonderful Fintech company here in Israel, and we saw him on stage. And financial services, for us it’s another vertical, and we go beyond that. And I think what’s unique about Optimove, that our ability to go cross vertical so our predictive model can be adapted and molded around different types of business stories. And that’s a great strength that we have as a company which can take us miles and miles into the future. So, yes. All right. So let’s go to the…this was the state of the union, and let’s go to the topic of this presentation, it’s “Marketing 2027: What Will Marketing Look Like 10 Years From Now?” And just a short kind of like revelation that I want to make is usually I’m not the type of guy that talks about the future. Okay?

So recently I read this book called “Zero to One” by Peter Thiel. And he talks about us, he urges us as a society to take an active approach in designing and shaping our own future. He says that a lot of us are kind of like indefinite optimists, meaning that we feel that the future will be better, but we have no idea why. And we should be more active in thinking why the future should be better. How can we shape it and take much more of an engineering approach to that problem? And this is our take on it, so our take at it. So I kind of like spoke to a number of people, both in Optimove and outside of Optimove, and we try to look at how marketing will look like in 10 years from now. So Marketing 2017, here we go. So the first prediction, the biggest prediction, which touches each and every one of us, is that in 2027, rich and diverse consumer data will become a commodity.

So think about it for a second. Customer data becoming a commodity. This means that it’s cheap, it’s abundant, we can get it everywhere, and we’re losing privacy. I think that the battle for privacy is probably already a lost one because probably us as consumers, we want the benefits of personalization. And all the trends show that this will happen, right? Today the third-party data that you can get on people and the data that companies capture on people on their databases. And I don’t want to talk about Facebook and Google, which they’re already there by the way, they have it all. But we believe that this will happen. So we’re going to have rich and diverse data sets on customers and it’s a commodity. It’s cheap and we can all use it, right? As a result, consumer data will be available in every marketing channel. Even marketing channels like TV and radio, right? As those channels get digitalized, they’re going to get the same access to this abundance of customer data. And we’re going to get this data in all the channels. All the channels. So today we have…it’s still a little bit siloed, right? We see a little bit of overlap. We see ourselves in CRM. We’re able to talk to some of the ad platforms and do CRM campaigns in Facebook and Google. We see in display, for example, we have lots and lots of segmentation capabilities, buying data from DMPs.

So we see the beginning of it, the initial buzz, but it’s not yet the real thing. It’s not yet connected, it’s not fully identical in all the different channels. The thing about a world where you have tons of data, customer data, it’s cheap and you have it in every channel. What does that mean? What will this create? So what I believe this will create is that this abundance of data will lead to a single, continuous customer life cycle. A single, continuous customer life cycle. In short, let’s call it continuous customer life cycle. And if we have it today, we can think about the World of 2017 now. We have those three realms of marketing, right? We have acquisition, we have conversion, and we have retention. In many companies, those three are isolated into three different departments, right? It’s also three different practices of know-how, right? So different people with different skills work in those three different departments or three different realms. And think about the fact that in 2027, we’re going to have one continuous customers life cycle. Exciting? Probably.

So, all right, this thing have a light sight. Yeah. What does this mean for marketing? So when I think about what it means for marketing, we want to break it down into two meanings. The theoretical meaning and the practical meaning. So the theoretical meaning is that let’s talk about the mindset of building campaigns. So all marketing campaigns will be built with a “starting a conversation” mindset versus a “look at me” type of a mindset. So think about the way you build campaigns. In the world of acquisition, typically you’re trying to build a campaign. We call it a “look at me” campaign because it’s like, “All right, I have my value proposition. I want to push it out to audiences. I want them to see me and to find me and, hopefully, I can do some smart calculations, I can do some bit optimization, and I can refine that more and more and more.” But the mindset is a specific mindset. Whereas in the world of retention, we’re always looking to start a conversation, right?

So we find an interesting group of customers and we say, “Yes, we can say something to these people because something just happened to them.” So it gives us ideas for the creative, it gives us ideas for when we want to talk to them. So it’s this “starting a conversation” mindset versus the “look at me” mindset. And we believe that in the future, all campaigns will be ran like CRM campaigns. So the mindset of starting conversation assuming we have abundance of customer data and one continuous customer life cycle, this type of mindset will reign. This type of mindset will be the popular one and the dominant one. So we will no longer look at it as converting or acquiring or retaining customers. Instead, what we’re only going to be doing is building relationships with people, right?

So this brings us to a moment of singularity in time where, essentially, all marketing will become relationship marketing. Yes. In a way. So isn’t it great that it’s a bit narcissistic of me probably to say that the entire universe will look like what Optimove is doing, but it’s a prediction for 10 years in the future, it might happen, and I think still there’s a lot of things pointing that direction, that in 2027, the single continuous customer life cycle will be a relationship marketing one. Let’s talk about what does this mean in practice? So first of all, think about your CRM database. You have your CRM databases today, all of you. Imagine this database encapsulates the population of the world. Every individual person, every single person on the planet, is going to be in your database, right? So that’s crazy, right? You guys are having a hard time dealing with your databases today, think about having like this database that contains all the data. Because data is a commodity, right? And it’s in all the channels, right? And it’s accessible and it’s cheap. So your CRM database will be the entire planet.

And then, what you need to do, what’s a key differentiator, what is something that you’ve got to master, is obviously this notion of machine learning and AI and data science, and however you want to call it, data mining, data predictive analytics, is the ability to hone in this unique asset that you’re going to have, that each and every one of you are going to have. So what will be the differentiator? The differentiator’s going to be the ability to leverage those capabilities that companies will build in-house. So companies that can do better machine learning, and better translation of this machine learning into insights and deployment in a scalable manner, that’s the way into the future. And what else does it mean in practice? It does impact also the organizational structure of marketing departments, marketing teams. So we believe that we’re going to have, instead of having a few marketing departments, we’re going to have one, self-sufficient relationship marketing studio, in which channels are not siloed.

Channels represent specific, specialties, but it does not mean that the department…I’m not going to have an email department or a Facebook department or a Google department. I’m going to have one marketing studio which is self-sufficient. Being self-sufficient gives marketers the speed from ideation to execution. So we saw a session yesterday about the speed from ideation to execution. Everybody in the panels talked about how much time it takes them to build campaigns. When you operate as an hierarchy, right, that you can get everything you need from the same team, then you can be so much faster. So this is one thing that’s going to happen.

And the second thing is we believe, and we also see today as trends, is that relationship marketing will attract the best and brightest talent, again, on the planet. I mean, you guys saw today. You saw some amazing lectures. You saw some really talented people, people that can… Amit was talking about it this morning, about this new breed of a marketer, a person that gets data science or at least is data science literate versus a person who also gets marketing and art, and somebody that can, you know, walk across these two fields in the same time, that’s a type of talent that we’re attracting today. That’s the type of talent that goes into marketing. Because you see the challenges become ones that attract those people, right? So to do data science, and to do this art, and to walk in this continuous customer life cycle, you need this type of talent.

So all of this basically leads us to the place and the reason kind of like we built all of this is to show you how we build, how we think about our identity. And our identity as a company is that Optimove is the science-first relationship marketing hub built for smart marketing teams. So if you break it down, you see that we emphasize the relationship marketing hub. This is who we are, this is what we are. We are all about relationship marketing because this is the future. However, it’s a science-first relationship marketing hub. This is where the machine learning comes in, and the AI, and the ability to derive insights and patterns from data to help us build better conversations with our customers, to engage in better discussions with our customers. And lastly, it’s built for smart marketing teams. And if not smart, people who aspire to be smart.

So if you have a marketing team that needs to go through a few revolutions in order to get there, but they have the hunger and the curiosity to get there, they’re definitely a good fit for us, right? However, if people are not with that mindset, it’s not a good fit. We’re built for specific types of companies and we’re good with that. So that’s Optimove. And next I want to start an announcement about a new product release, a new product innovation in our sixth version. So it’s about the Visitors Lifecycle Stage, and first Amit has prepared a very corny video. Clichéd, super American, but you guys will enjoy it.

[Video on Screen] When does a relationship start? First kiss? First date? First sleepover? No. Relationships start long before that. So, when does relationship marketing start? Newsletter subscription? First purchase? Not anymore. Relationship marketing starts long before that

– Thank you. Great. So the visitor’s life cycle stage, this is our sixth version, this is the main release of the version. Some of you saw it in the webinar, but what I want to show you is how we think about the visitor’s life cycle stage and I want to use an analogy from “The World of Relationships.” So we ask a question, “Does a relationship start at the first date?” Right? So if you think about a relationship between two people, it starts with like so there’s the first date, they fall in love, they move in together, they get engaged, they get married, they have kids, and then they divorce or they stay together. But it’s like you have this entire relationship at different stages. However, the question is it actually starts before that.

So, even before you see somebody, you engage digitally, right? There’s SMSs and phone calls maybe today, even more than that, right? With Tinder and Facebook and things like that. So actually, the relationship starts before you see somebody, right? And that’s the main message that we want to convey here. And in our sixth version, what we’ve done is we actually brought the two together. So we’re making the anonymous known. So we have the anonymous visitor and then we have David Smith, which we know, right? But before David Smith registers or buys for the first time, or makes a deposit for the first time, we can identify that person with cookies through the browser and we can see that person in repeat behavior, right? So we can follow that person again and again and again, and capture data and, you know, we can build a relationship because we have a foundation, right? We have somebody that we know, we always work with people that we know. We work on databases of customers that we know. But essentially with technology today, we’ve built this infrastructure that contains, essentially, two major data sets.

One data set is the customer data set, and the second data set is the visitor data set, but both of them are connected. That’s the whole point. They’re connected together, and this means that there’s so many benefits to gain, right? So what do we know about a visitor? So this is pretty simple, what we know about a visitor, where they came from, so did they come to our site or app through Facebook, Google, through a blog, through a piece of content. Which type of device they’re using and the location, the type of onsite and in-app activity that they did, all the behavior, what did they search, where did they look, did they stay for a long time, are they coming every week, every day, at night, at day, all of that we can capture. And more importantly, we’re adding third-party data.

So third-party data is data that we buy and append to every individual cookie in terms of the gender, age, income, kids in household, and various interests, right? So all of a sudden we know a lot of things about a visitor. Of course not for everyone, right? Because these models and third-party data doesn’t capture every individual cookie. However, you do have some interesting metrics. Some of them are stronger than others, and this is an abundance of data about a visitor. Now the reason this is so strong is because this connection gives us two main things. Because we connect the visitor data with the customer data, we’re able to predict things about the visitors. The visitors become a part of the Optimove predictive model. They become a part of our, essentially, mark off chain, where they have their own micro segments, but their micro segments talk to the micro segments of the existing customers.

So if somebody just visits the site from Facebook, and exhibits some kind of a behavior, he falls immediately into a micro segment. And I’ve seen people like that, and I’ve seen how these people evolve throughout the database. I’ve seen them become VIPs, I’ve seen them become churn customers, I’ve seen them become active medium customers. So immediately I can predict the future of a visitor. I can predict the future value of a visitor, how much money I’m going to get for that person, and we can predict the probability of conversion and many, many more things because we attach the two databases together so we can gain this immense benefit of predicting the visitor’s behavior.

On the side of existing customers, we also get a lot of benefit because new customers are customers typically we don’t have a lot of data on, right? They just registered, they just came. So they gave us a little bit of data, but we don’t know a lot about them. If we can connect all of the browsing behavior, from when they were visitors to the entity of the new customer, we gain a lot of information in terms of which type of marketing we can do for that new customer. There’s a lot more information, there’s a lot more room for creativity. Visitors in action. So in the Optimove platform, basically, you see across the system in many things, most importantly you see an inductive model as the first life cycle stage. The visitor life cycle stage is the first one, the one that gets started. Then the “Funnel Explorer” is where we can analyze and detect different patterns, where we can explore the behavior of visitors. This is kind of like an after tweet. Analyze visitors and the “Visitor Campaign Wizard” is a specifically designed wizard to run visitor-related campaigns across Google Retargeting, across real-time on the site and in the app, and across Facebook.

So we don’t have their emails yet, right? So we can’t do email. Of course, if they give us their email in their first visit, we can also trigger that. So we have all of those channels and a specifically designed approach to run visitor campaigns. So this is the visitors actually, and the last piece of the presentation’s going to be about, “How is this Tied to Marketing 2027?” How is this connected to what we did, what I talked about, 10 years from now? And we feel it’s very much connected.

So the way we see it is that this visitor life cycle stage is essentially a step towards the future in the sense that we are now making this connection. We are now connecting retention and conversion, and conversion optimization is no longer siloed. It’s no longer, you know, isolated, and is ran by… Of course I know it’s going to take time, and a lot of your companies are built in a way that these departments are still separate. But ask yourself this, will they stay separate in 10 years? Probably not, right? So we want to be there. We want to be there when everything becomes relationship marketing, we are relationship marketing today. Thank you very much.