Nao Talks: Yael Kochman & the Future of Marketing

MARKETING WILL BE TARGETED TO SPECIFIC USERS

We’re always asking ourselves what marketing will look like in the next couple years as technology continues to evolve. A lot of times, it can feel like we’re in a constant race just to catch up to trends. As head of the Israeli-based content marketing platform Roojoom, Yael Kochman finds herself right in the middle of shaping online content marketing. We chatted with  her during our Nao Talks series about where she sees online marketing’s immediate future, how to hold a user’s attention, and the energy of Israel’s startup scene.

Nao Media: What dominant trends do you see influencing marketing in the next 2-3 years?

Yael Kochman: 1. Deep segmentation: I think that as technology evolves, marketing will become more and more segmented. No more of the same message for everyone, but a well-defined message that hits a specific target audience’s sweet spot. This will directly affect content marketing as we start aiming to truly speak to our readers.

2. Mobile. Yes I know it was last year’s trend (and the year before) and this is nothing new. Yet, the potential of mobile marketing is far from tapped. The majority of websites are not even mobile compatible yet! Marketing to our customers on their mobile devices is not the same as on desktops, and I don’t believe that we, as marketers, are fully taking advantage of the opportunities mobile marketing has to offer.

NM: You founded an Israeli fashion startup, IL Couture, in 2011. How have the challenges for startups evolved since?

YK: As more and more startups enter the ring, the battle over resources gets tough. I’m not just talking about funding, but also quality manpower, PR opportunities, etc. If in the past any startup that sent a funding announcement to TechCrunch was automatically featured, today you need to work hard to win your PR due to the flood of announcements sent to journalists and bloggers each day.

It is also becoming much harder to stand out. Whatever marketing strategy you come up with, someone else probably did something similar before, and you need to find a way to be different and better to get people’s attention.

Marketing spending has increased significantly since, as a result of more advertisers. On the other hand, there are many new solutions and ways to get free or low budget advertising if you know where to look.

Finally, the support cycle is much stronger today– there are forums for everything, free content on every subject you can imagine, so you can learn from other’s experience – we had less of that back in 2011.

NM: Your other startup, Fash&Tech, places a big emphasis on bringing a group of people passionate about fashion but with differing skillsets together. What role does community play in how you view the future of technology?

YK: Fash&Tech is not a startup, it’s a community of startups. I started it as a meetup group when I had my own fashion startup because I felt there was no place for fashion in the tech world. Within a year this meetup group grew from 35 to 600 people, including major brands like ASOS and eBay as well as many, many, entrepreneurs.

I think community plays a big role. A startup is a small organization, sometimes as small as 1 person. Resources and experience are not high… but when many startups come together as a community and share their experience and opportunities with one another, they become much more powerful.

NM: How has the attention economy influenced how content is created, and what is the key to holding user attention?

YK: Interesting question, as it interacts directly with the problem that Roojoom is trying to solve.

Because we are flooded with so much information coming to us from so many directions, our attention span is becoming shorter and shorter. So much so that the average time people read a webpage is only 40 seconds.

Think about it: you go to read an article, you click on a link inside of it and then on another link inside the next one and all of a sudden – you’re lost. You don’t even remember where everything started and what it was that you were looking for.

Roojoom solves this problem by keeping you engaged in a track of information. Each Roojoom contains multiple pieces of information that were bundled together for the purpose of creating something much bigger – a collection of content on a subject. It could be a guide, a collection of information, an eBook or anything else, and as you read through we keep your focus and encourage you to read through the content till the very end. This is why a Roojoom’s average reading time (compared to the 40 seconds of a web page) is 9 minutes and 36 seconds.

Our next step is to help companies convert those focused readers into leads, and we do that by placing smart Call-to-Action buttons and lead generation forms.

NM: What are the most important lessons you’ve learned since Roojoom went live in August 2013 in terms of growing a company?

YK: The most important lesson I learned is that we don’t know anything innately. As a startup, you should constantly listen to your users and your community, measure, AB test and analyze as much as you can to lean and evolve.

I also learned that there nothing you can’t do if you set your mind to it. You can use Twitter and Linkedin to reach out to anyone you want, and you’d be surprised how willing they can be to help you out once you know what to ask of them. But this is the catch: you need to know what you want in order for them to be able to help.

What is the biggest challenge facing Roojoom right now?

YK: Roojoom is located in Israel, which is a great place to start a startup as we have the best team and a supportive community that pushes us forward. But it is challenging to scale outside of Israel when you are physically so far away from the US and Europe markets. We work around the clock to adjust to US hours but this still presents our largest challenge, particularly since our clients are large companies and enterprises (Microsoft, Payoneer, Panaya to name a few). Sometimes there is nothing that beats going out to lunch or having a drink with your clients to build the relationship– and you can’t do that over Skype. This is why we are currently looking for partners and affiliates to represent us in the US and Europe.

NM: Roojoom has been a part of Microsoft Ventures Accelerator, Innovate Israel and StarTau – how important was it for your company to go through incubator programs or pitch competitions as a way to hone a vision?

YK: Extremely! Preparing to pitch your startup is the best way to sit down and really get the essence of what you’re doing. Suddenly you need to explain it in 5 minutes, and this means you need to choose out of all the knowledge that you have about your product only the most important things. You can read about the process we went through as a startup while preparing for Microsoft’s demo day from the interview I did with Rami Ricanati, our Co-Founder and Head of Product.

NM: With so many cities striving to be the “next Silicon Valley”, how have you been influenced by the startup scene in Tel Aviv? Do you have any desire to go to Silicon Valley?

YK: Most of my friends are entrepreneurs and we all help and support each other in whatever way we can. I am involved in more than 50 entrepreneurship groups on Facebook alone (and a few more on Linkedin), I manage 2 meetup groups, I am a part of a Whatsapp group of women entrepreneurs and I speak at entrepreneurship events and workshops… so yes I would say that I have been influenced J

I don’t think I will ever stop working for or with startups. The community here in Tel-Aviv is so lively and fun to be a part of, that I can’t imagine my life without being a part of it.

 

Yael is an entrepreneur and marketing professional. She  is the Head of Marketing at Roojoom – a content marketing platform that increases engagement and lead conversion by creating a dynamic branded content experience.

Yael is also the Co-Founder of the Fash&Tech Israel community and Co-Author at SteamFeed.com. For more about Yael, connect with her on Twitter @yaelkochman.

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