How I Built A Scalable Marketing Machine
Originally I was a farm boy from the North of Israel. I managed our family farm that held some 2.5K head of cattle until I turned 25. At the age of 23, I opened my first business — a high end smoothie bar for huge events and festivals. This was one of my best businesses ever and was the biggest in Israel at that time.
At 27, I co-founded my first web agency, Compass Internet Solutions, with two other partners. We mainly serviced my two partners’ businesses in the States and Canada. That was (and still is) a huge operation with a few dozen employees and is considered as a meteoric success story as far as it relates to revenues and growth. I was the CEO for almost 4 years and then I decided to move on.
This opened a new era of advising to mega brands mainly in the agricultural arena. The pressure to make money was on (I love pressure by the way). I advised these companies on how to build internal Marketing departments so that they would have their entire marketing funnel operating inhouse. At the same time, I also had a small project called kidEbook, animated books for toddlers working on iOS devices.
In August of 2012, I met with Shmulik Grizim, Webydo’s Cofounder & CEO whom I knew for several years already. After that meeting, I started out strategically advising Webydo up until they endeavored on a soft launch of their product. Then, during TechCrunch Disrupt NY in April 2013, I led the launch as the company’s CMO. This was a fun time filled with a lot of trial and error but, as time passed, I was able to solidify our Acquisition-Conversion-Retention marketing funnel and started building up a team of talented marketers.
Today, we are backed by over $18m, 50+ employees, 300k users (all B2B) and feel that we are just getting started. My team of talented marketers — Ryan Abrams, Caroline Reder & Ran Berkovich, were essential in these achievements.
I am also mentoring in my free time for a select group of small startups. I also have a cool little side project called Zest. Zest’s vision is to make content flow faster. From discovering new content through consuming it, to integrating the key takeaways of each article to your workflow as a marketer. Zest is currently in beta and i just started to roll it out.
Make your product an integral part of people’s business or life
Without a doubt, the project I am most proud of is Webydo. My evolution, specifically how I have matured professionally, is one distinct benefit I have received working at this company. Looking back and seeing all of the things we’ve been through, all of the challenges that we faced and in the end, doing everything we can to make sure that it will be a profitable business is hyper fulfilling.
To see that Webydo is the go-to place for tens of thousands of designers as a full B2B solution for their own business, is a dream come true for me. Making an impact as a marketer, means that you are changing people’s lives and perceptions, especially when they start using your product as an integral part of their business.
There is another small thing that I’m extremely proud of and although it’s not on the same level as Webydo, it keeps me smiling every time I hear of another achievement. When I was advising Tama Farm Grown Solution, an enterprise world leader manufacturing of crop packaging products, there was a demand to create a Facebook page for the company. However, some stakeholders found it hard to believe that farmers would be able to engage on social media or on the web, in general. Together with some extremely bright people at Tama, we were able to put together a nice strategy accompanied with beautiful, catchy design. Today, Tama’s Facebook page has around 360K followers and their posts have an insane engagement rate.
Do you need a brand marketer or a funnel marketer?
Many marketers, even the best ones that I know, are confused by the notion of brand marketing versus conversion marketing. The former is less numbers-oriented and more about PR, social campaigns and buzz generation. While these aspects of marketing are important, the ROI is not as clear and the tactics themselves are less scalable in nature. Media coverage is addicting. The first year at Webydo, we were solely focused on brand awareness and getting our name out there. We received coverage in Forbes, HuffPost, TC, TNW, BBC, etc. and we couldn’t get enough of it. But, with what I know now, if I were to do it again, I would have put much more effort into the following:
- Defining funnel-wide KPIs such as MQLs, SQLs, Opportunities, Sales and other SaaS metrics like MRR, ARR, CAC and CAC Recovery
- Building a scalable marketing machine. Whether you’re talking acquisition, conversion or retention, figure out what point in the funnel you’d like to target regardless of channel — be it paid, content, nurturing, outbound, etc — identify what’s working in a certain stage and start scaling.
- Not letting perfection get in the way. Ask yourself this: As a marketer, when looking back on something that you did such as launching a campaign, specifically the creatives you used, the content you wrote or how you distributed it; wouldn’t you change everything completely? Of course you would. This is why no marketing asset will ever be perfect or convert/engage in the way you expected.
Bring campaigns to a production-level readiness, work on them, polish them a bit and launch. Eventually you should track reactions and understand what performs better. After that, optimize and retry.
- Making sure that you properly define your targeted personas and UVP (Unique Value Proposition). Why? Because focus is everything. You only have so many opportunities for trial and error before a campaign becomes irrelevant or, to the extreme, are forced to close the doors to your startup. By shaping your UVP to targeted personas, you will find that your marketing efforts and processes will be much more efficient. All of your images, key messages and design will follow suit. This will also affect your campaigns and geo targeted locations; your messaging will be carried on down the funnel as you will communicate it more cohesively not only in your digital efforts but inside of your company as well through the customer-facing departments.
Working with other departments is a must
- Cultivating an environment that puts an emphasis on daily feedback from other departments such as Sales, Product or Customer Success about your marketing efforts. I’m talking about the people in your company that are speaking with clients and are actually qualifying your bottom funnel performance. It is hard to get feedback and to be judged by someone outside of your department, but that way, you will a) become a better marketer and b) improve your company’s overall performance.
- On the same note, making sure to involve other departments in both your planning and final product approval processes is important as well. If you will add individuals from Product and Sales teams to your process of campaign planning you will be surprised at the positive results of their input.
Product might come up with some cool workarounds for challenges that you might face saving you a significant amount of time. Sales might actually come up with the best idea for your campaign’s messaging. As a bonus, I’d suggest, showing some of your marketing materials such as banners and newsletters to other departments. Again, their input might blow your mind.
- Accepting that competition might just very well be your best friend. Make sure to map your competition landscape from the start and track developments with tools such as Mentionand Google Alerts or with platforms such as Product Hunt. Don’t let their progress define your goals or roadmap but be aware of what they do, how they do it and what works for them. Keeping your finger on the pulse, especially in the fast paced of industry of SaaS is extremely important.
1 year of ‘doing’ equals to 2 years of learning
Don’t rely on fancy degrees as the basis for cracking the industry or getting ahead. I was blessed enough to manage over 150+ marketers in the last 10 years since starting my first business. Experience is much more important than a degree as far as I am concerned. For me, 1 year of ‘doing’ equals to 2 years of learning.
That being said, I can only speak from my own experience. I didn’t pursue an advanced degree. Even high school was too hard for me and I barely graduated. I associate my success with deep learning, or reactionary learning, specifically by getting my hands dirty with the various sub-disciplines of marketing with which I felt I had a better orientation towards. At that time, it meant Local SEO and geo targeted SEO campaigns.
Bottom line — study and learn, but make sure you are working or at least getting some friction with the real world within your field. This friction will quadruple your professional progress.
Tools I use religiously for my marketing work:
This list is nearly infinite but here’s a brief summary of the tools I use in my marketing efforts:
- Email — OutLook.
- Preferred Social Network — LinkedIn
- CRM — SalesForce
- Communication — Whatsapp & Slack
- Project Management — Trello
- Content Interaction Measurement — BuzzSumo
- Competition Monitoring — Mention and Google Alerts
- Email Automation — MailChimp
- Content Discovery — Zest
- Social Sharing — CliClap
- Social Share Analytics — Social Analytics
- On-page SEO Elements Dictator — SEO Meta
- SEO Analysis — SEOquake + Web Developer
- Competition Analysis — Follow.net
- Design — Eye Dropper
- Font Detector- WhatFont
- Site Pixels & Tools in Use — Ghostery
- Twitter Profile Analysis — Klear
- Mobile Friendliness Checker — AMP Validator
- Site Construction Analysis — BuiltWith
What I read
I’m addicted to content and am subscribed to nearly 1,000 blog newsletters in the marketing industry alone.
These are my favorites:
Communities i love
SEO & Local SEO
Metrics & Analytics
Who I follow
People from the marketing field that I continuously stalk on all known social networks are below. Of course, I’m following tons of other people abroad but I want to take this opportunity and emphasize how important it is for us Israeli marketers to support our own. Israel is a marketing superpower with great brains and products — we should be extremely proud.
Each individual below is constantly adding to my knowledge as an entrepreneur, as a marketer and most important of all, as a human being.
- Tal Shmueli — Account Manager at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions
- Amit Lavi — CEO at Marketing Envy, Startup Marketing / Ex-Facebook, Ex-Google
- Yan Yanko — Facebook Mobile Campaigns Manager at moblin, Owner at Yan Yanko
- Or Fialkov — Chief Executive Officer at Fialkov Digital
- Lior Frenkel — Entrepreneur, Educator, Technologist. CEO at The nuSchool. Founder at UNDIGITIZE.ME.
- Hillel Fuld — Co-Founder @ZCastApp;Mentor Google | MSFT; Startup Advisor
- Roy Povarchik — A Growth and content marketing consultant for startups. Founder of ‘Growth By Content’ agency.
- Charlie Even — Head of Marketing at herO
- Miriam Schwab — CEO of illuminea
- Efrat Fenigson — Head of Marketing at Airobotics
- Moran Barnea 🙂 — Advisor at Techstars // Founder of this blog
- Yael Kochman — Head of Content Marketing, International at Teradata Marketing Applications | Founder of Fash &Tech Israel
- Eliran Ben Yehuda — Country Manager — Israel at Taboola
- Motti Peer — Co-CEO at Blonde 2.0
- Aaron Zakowski — Facebook Ads consultant, CEO at Zammo Digital Marketing
- Kfir Pravda — CEO of Pravda Media Group
- Shuki Mann — Conversion Rate Optimization Expert, Serial Entrepreneur
- Yuval Maoz — Digital Growth at Klear
- Gabriel Ehrlich — Digital Growth Specialist
- Amir Shneider– Marketing Manager at ELDAR GROUP
- Talia Wolf — Conversion Optimization Expert, Advisor & Keynote Speaker
- Gabriel Goldenberg — Conversion Rate Optimization Specialist
- Iris Shoor — Entrepreneur and co-founder Takipi
In the future, my dream is to go back to my family farm, cultivate the land and raise stocks of calves. Probably vacationing in Fiji from time-to-time would be nice as well.
On a more serious note, aside from seeing Webydo grow and dominate the niche of B2B web design platforms, I really want to continue with my efforts in helping others. As I mentioned earlier, in my free time, I aid budding startups in putting together their marketing strategy and tactics. I believe that as time goes by, I will find myself expanding this activity as it fills me up with good vibes.
Connect with me
[Interview was originally published on Marketing Ramen’s blog]