“I’m relearning everything I thought I knew about Gen Z marketing.”
Marketing needs to be leading the way for a company, says Adi Itach, CMO at Sayollo
You've held incredible marketing positions at the most incredible companies in Israel. But you were an officer in the IDF in the paratroopers, and you were one of the first women to do a full yearly reserved service in a combat unit.
Actually, at the end of this month, there's a farewell event and I get my plaque and I tell IDF goodbye for good. It's been a crazy 16 years. I've really enjoyed myself and I've learned a lot. And most importantly, I got to do my service with an amazing group of women and men that have the best intentions at heart and the best commitment to the country.
I take my innovative approach everywhere I go. I try to clear the path for others.
Share with me a little bit about your perspective on marketing.
I think my marketing philosophy actually is that marketing is the north star of the company, the leading wind or the wind beneath the wings of the company. It has to be 10 steps ahead of everything else. In order to do good marketing, you have to have a holistic point of view, like a 360 view of everything. You cannot focus on one niche. This is the approach that I've developed in my career throughout the 10 years of my experience.
When you have an end-to-end point of view, you can be very creative. You can be very strategic about how you do your marketing. You can have the best results in the long run. Marketing is a strategy. Marketing is a creative process. Marketing is a fluid thing that goes in and out all the time. And you have to keep going and stick to the strategy, and you have to maintain a 360 view of that.
How does this translate to reality and practicality? How do you balance the bird’s eye view and the details?
This is the biggest challenge that the marketer has. It's a kind of a journey up and down. The key is not to get stuck either on the bird's point of view or the little details. The secret ingredient is flexibility. It's like a muscle that you develop that allows you to go up and down this elevator and not get stuck.
The main tool that helps me achieve that is sticking to the strategy and the vision of the marketing and of the company. Once I know where I'm going, I'm more able to make better decisions with the little details and for the long run also.
It's a delicate balance between those two. It's taken me a long time to learn how to do that. And I'm still learning. This is what I love about marketing. It's an endless process of creativity.
How does this translate specifically, for example, when you're doing both B2C and B2B marketing for Gett?
In Gett, we had a saying that "it's B2B and B2C, but it's also P2P,” people to people. Maybe the positioning and the messaging are a bit different, but essentially, you're talking to people. When you remember that, then the balance between the B2C and B2B becomes more tangible and more clear to you. It's the same target audience in the sense that they are people and you're talking to people. You have to be understandable and you have to resonate with them.
Share with me your transition from a company like Gett to a startup company for Generation Z gaming. How has that experience been?
This was a decision that I made because I felt that this was my next step in my professional evolution. I'm a person that always loves to learn and do things differently. The reason I chose Sayollo is because they are introducing a new market category to the world that is a combination of gaming and commerce, where you can purchase physical products while you play in mobile games.
For me, it was a no brainer in the sense that it's a huge marketing challenge. And for me, it was not a smooth transition because I had to learn a lot about gaming and Gen Z marketing. I thought I knew everything I had to know about Gen Z marketing. Absolutely not. I am still learning this target audience because they are our end users.
We just launched an avatar. We tried to decide internally the name for the avatar. We put it out there on social media for Gen Z-ers to decide what they want our avatar to be called. Everything I thought I knew about Gen Z marketing, I'm relearning it, reevaluating it, and discovering that it's an entirely different situation.
Marketing is endless because you get to learn and relearn as you go. You have to stay flexible and you have to stay open-minded. In the few months that I've been in Sayollo, my consciousness has expanded so much. I had to change my mindset and shift it to a different direction altogether. This is what I love about marketing because I feel the shift inside of me; I feel the change inside of me.
Where do you find your joy in what you do?
The first thing that comes to mind is my employees on my team. My job is to let them have the space to be as creative as possible. When they get creative and get confident and enjoy themselves, I enjoy myself as well.
I also enjoy the little outcomes, the little reactions from customers on social media on the product. And obviously, results. But it all comes from within. If I feel that I bring my A-game and I evolve, then this is my joyous moment.
Going into these creative projects, where do you get all this inspiration from?
Inspiration comes from within. So I try to tap into my inner creative places. I listen to music and I love going to the beach. I take inspiration in great leaders and great friends that lead their lives the way I want to lead my life.
How I make sure that what I'm doing is resonating is that I directly connect with my target audience. When I had to learn all about Gen Z marketing, I did Zoom and live focus groups with Gen Z-ers. I've learned a lot just by sitting with them. I don't believe in doing marketing from 30,000 feet. I have to know my target audience. I've learned a lot about US Gen Z-ers as well, and the differences between the Israeli ones and the American ones.
I took those common denominators and I developed them. When I sat down with them, I was like, "They have no values." But actually, they do; they’re just different values. They're very transparent. They're very gender neutral. They believe in equality. They're very diverse. They're very unique in their own way. They are not afraid to be different. That's very inspiring also.
If you have to think of a few words that you would use to describe yourself, what would they be?
Creative, loving and a leader.
Michael Matias, Forbes 30 Under 30, is the author of Age is Only an Int: Lessons I Learned as a Young Entrepreneur. He studies Artificial Intelligence at Stanford University, is a Venture Partner at J-Ventures and was an engineer at Hippo Insurance. Matias previously served as an officer in the 8200 unit. 20MinuteLeaders is a tech entrepreneurship interview series featuring one-on-one interviews with fascinating founders, innovators and thought leaders sharing their journeys and experiences.
Contributing editors: Michael Matias, Megan Ryan