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Interviews

Interview with CEO and Co-Founder of Optimove – Pini Yakuel

 

 

“The trend we’re seeing is that slowly but surely, customers are becoming a commodity.”

 

1. Tell us a little bit about your role and how you got here. (what inspired you to start a martech company)
I am the CEO and co-founder of Optimove, a science-first relationship marketing hub. I started Optimove right out of college with Shachar Cohen, who I met while attending Tel Aviv University in Israel. When we first started the company, the primary goal was to give marketers a better way to model customer data. This led us to start a consultancy, Mobius Solutions, to help companies build better customer analytics and gain true, actionable insights from them. We learned so much in our consultancy years; we worked closely with clients, we solved their problems, we dug deep into their data, we optimized their models, refined them, and made them better and stronger over time.

This experience formed the foundation of our own software platform, Optimove, which we launched in 2012.  The first iteration focused only on analyzing customer data and offering insights on it; today, Optimove offers full, end-to-end marketing automation. We collect customer data and track marketing campaigns, surface insights for marketers based on what works and what doesn’t, and can orchestrate communications, messages, and campaigns to potential clients via cross-channel marketing. We put a lot of emphasis on the “relationship” part of relationship marketing, and want to help our clients communicate with their customers in emotionally intelligent, relevant ways.

2. Given the massive proliferation of marketing technology, how do you see the martech market evolving over the next few years?
Right now we’re at the discovery and excitement stage. More and more, problems are being solved by various marketing technologies. In a few years, we’ll see that some issues may never be solved, or may not be important enough to find solutions for, at which point, we’ll see consolidation. At the moment, there are too many vendors and too many methods/technologies, which makes it difficult for companies and marketing teams to utilize and fully understand all the tools available to them.

3. What do you see as the single most important technology trend or development that’s going to impact us?
The trend we’re seeing is that slowly but surely, customers are becoming a commodity. As a result, a single, continuous customer lifecycle is formed. Meaning, a brand can now communicate with the same person through various funnel stages. Common marketing practices like acquisition, conversion and retention consolidate into ‘relationship marketing’. What this means, essentially, is that all marketing will eventually become Relationship Marketing.

4. What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?
With offices in New York and Israel, communication between the two offices is critical. And as we continued to grow, communication via email, video calls, Slack and IM became overwhelming. So I devised a new model for information sharing to encourage us to curate our updates, connect with our colleagues and regularly reflect on our work. Everyone at the company curates five significant points from the past week — achievements, disappointments, worries, goals — and publishes it via Trello, an online project management tool.  This new system has helped us shift the focus of our team meetings from status updates to strategic discussions and cut down emails by about 30 percent.

5. How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a marketing leader?
I think we keep doing what we have been doing. We’ve made AI the foundation of our product. Beyond that, our team is constantly making sure not only are we not falling short of what we promised our customers we can deliver, but that we’re consistently ahead of the curve in terms of what AI has to offer.

6. What is the core marketing technology capability of your firm that you bring to a marketer? Where does your product fit in vis-a-vis the customer life cycle?
First and foremost, Optimove is a customer data platform — meaning we built a data warehouse for the marketer. We take all the first party data the marketer needs and organize it in away that it becomes marketer-friendly and actionable. Our platform offers an AI technology that is truly data-driven which allows marketers to hyper-personalize communications to customers to build relationships and build loyalty at every stage of the customer lifecycle, from acquisition to retention.

7. Are there any new features or upcoming upgrades that you’re excited about and would like to give us a sneak peek into?
We are working on a feature I’m really excited about that will leverage the sophisticated AI already at work within our platform in a more continuous way throughout a customer’s journey. More on that soon!

8. What is your take on the massive explosion of MarTech across so many categories? Do you see competition, opportunities to partner and/or integrate?
Within the Martech space there are very few companies that are science-first in their development of AI, which is our strength. We see opportunities to integrate with companies  in areas that will help us consistently deliver on our data-driven marketing promise to our customers. For example, this past year we acquired the Powerinbox DynamicMail business, which allowed our customers to integrate dynamic email capabilities into their marketing campaigns. This helps us increase the overall emotional intelligence of our platform, expands the sophistication of our customers’ email capabilities and underscores Optimove’s commitment to bring our clients best-in-class technologies.

Pini Yakuel co-founded Optimove in 2009 and has led the company, as its CEO, since its inception. With two decades of experience in analytics-driven customer marketing, business consulting and sales, he is the driving force behind Optimove. His passion for innovative and empowering technologies is what keeps Optimove ahead of the curve. He holds an MSc in Industrial Engineering and Management from Tel Aviv University.

Optimove is the Science-first Relationship Marketing Hub, used by hundreds of customer-centric businesses to drive measurable growth by scaling customer engagement. Optimove combines the art of marketing with the science of data to autonomously generate actionable insight, empowering marketers to deliver highly-effective personalized customer marketing campaigns across multiple channels. The company’s unique technology suite helps marketers maximize customer spend, engagement, retention and lifetime value.
Optimove is trusted by leading brands, including Adore Me, Deezer, Glossier, Freshly, River Island, Happy Socks, Go Compare, Chubb, GVC, Mini Clip and Oanda

For more information please visit our Website.

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