Episode 09 | Transcript

Dror Meir: Customer Journeys, Marketing Enablement, and Geotargeting

Anthony Lamot: Hey, there, I’m Anthony from DESelect in today’s interview. I talk with Dror Meir, founder of WEKU Solutions. He shares the kind of insights you get from working with Marketing Cloud for as long as 11 years and explains how new SMP products as well as the app exchange play a role in we strategy. Now, if you have any questions for Dror, like usual, just leave them in the comments. Meanwhile, relax, sit back and enjoy. Hi, Dror. Welcome to the series.

Dror Meir: Hi. Thank you for having me.

AL: It’s a, it’s a pleasure. You know, we’ve been talking a bit over the last few months. So I think it was well overdue that we’d have you, but I would like to jump straight into the topic of Salesforce Marketing Cloud. What was the most interesting project you delivered so far? Related to SFMC?

DM: Well, we did many projects with many sectors, but I think that if I can think about one that we found very interesting is usually the one that challenges us. We had a project that combined many sources of data. Some of them were on-premise and some of them were completely offline, some such as a POS, or even real delivery mail. And this combination of data architecture that you have to think about that was quite a nice challenge, the ability to understand when someone is you in the shop and someone visit your website and he called the support and he saw your first time on YouTube all heard about you from some kind of a PR announcement. So the ability to understand that this is the same person that’s seeing you and understanding his behavior, combining all these tooling, and the source of the data that was quite a nice challenge. And yeah, I, you know, that’s what makes everything much more interesting. The harder it gets, the more interesting it gets, that’s my slogan.

AL: I agree. And from that point of view, I can say it’s been very interesting for me too. But what industry was this about?

DM: So, this one, was a very famous bank. And, you know, in the bank, you have the ATMs that you’ve been using, for some cash or you go in face to the rep or you call in the support, or there is a ticket, a credit card on your way home. So there is entire communication until you get it. So if you take all of these all of these touch points, when the clients actually meet the bank, if it’s offline or online and to understand how to talk to that person. So to have the same conversation. So, when he called support, for example, the support knows that he actually went, to the ATM yesterday and asked for a mortgage two months ago. And so, the ability, to give the representatives all the information that’s something that upscale first, the way that the bank talking to their clients. And more than that gives the person a sense of someone know him, you know, someone talk to him. And there is a lot of let’s say, psychological elements in it. When you talk to something like a bank which a lot of people can be very scary, all of it, you have depth. And so, so it’s always that a positive conversation you expect to have. But the fact that it feels like you’ve talked to someone that knows you understand your needs, understand, your action, understand the way that you behave. I think that was quite a challenge more for data architecture, technical perspective, to bring this thing on the table, for the bank representatives, in all different departments. So, of course, departments as we…

AL: Very interesting talking about these departments? Of course, marketing is of our peculiar interests. So what do you think that marketers struggle the most with when it comes to the platform?

DM: Well, I will say that there was a kind of a revolution started maybe six, seven years ago. I’ve been doing it for the last 11 years. So I actually felt that in the change of the role of the market here. So even in the past, let’s say the average market needed to handle a more marketing aspect. So like really hardcore marketing aspects such as creative content, how to bring our, how to bring a call to action. And, and these things change massively because today we are all in the end all of us available in different types of channels and digital channels, I mean. And, and that basically create needed to create a new generation of marketers when they can understand the data and how to analyze the data to understand the behavior of their clients or their leads… and understand what the technology can give them and what a technology with the technology they have in house, the lack of the features that they might have. So I will say, in a much larger perspective that the marketeers should, until this day we’re still seeing it should upgrade, their game and to be… more technical and more understand data processes and data architecture. So they can really… let’s say efficient their entire marketing activity. So, you know, they can live up to this login that they want, to do to live in which is the right message to the right person in the right channel in the right time. And that’s not happening from just having a CSV with a list of emails and one big image that you want to send to everyone. And that’s something that in general marketers are challenging. I can say that from my experience, also CMOS, or anyone that actually touching any type of communication between the company, their clients or their leads have to go to that direction of understanding better data technology alongside with of course the marketing elements.

AL: Very interesting. So embracing the data, not being scared to get a little bit more technical. If, if we would take that lesson to Marketing Cloud itself, do you think there’s things that could be optimized in Marketing Cloud?

DM: Well, I think it’s going to that direction anyway. Salesforce as a vendor which is a vendor that I really believe that they took the right direction. And that’s why I chose to be focused on those tooling is that in the end, so put in the middle… the person itself that you want to communicate with. So the client or the lead itself in the middle and they look at it and they’re trying to make their systems around that person, looking at the company and not the other way around. So it’s not how should manage their operations. It is how a person looks at the company and from that point they’re starting. And that thing that’s a very good starting point. And that basically led to many… features, and more sources of data and channels that you communicate that you can collect some in one place, to make your communication much better. So, things that happen in today such as… the last acquisition the sales for had with every gauge that gives the ability to now communicate also in the web based environment, and combine with other elements, which is why you have in your service and your sales and you all your media channels. So the combination of all of those, it’s something that I think that’s already happening. And, and now, of course, with that just joined as well to the, one of the channels that the Salesforce Marketing Cloud can work with. So I will say that it’s already been taken that direction. And the more flexibility the Marketing Cloud will give, to professional people that know the tool, the tool will be optimized to the client’s needs.

AL: Indeed, I think it’s very interesting points that you’re touching upon it. It’s clear that Salesforce is a very good strategy here in taking a more central role when it comes to data and giving that central view of the customer which is of course completely aligned with their DNA as a CRM provider. But I feel that with, for instance, the announcements of the average acquisition, the C360 launch, it’s all even speeding up a bit more. It’s very interesting times for I think people like you and me to live in.

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DM: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. We, we really enjoy by this approach of Salesforce. And I think that there is a reason why, they are taking the world with them with that philosophy because first it really works and second they have really good players. I will give ourselves a complement as people who want to take these technologies and really build things for the best of all their clients. So the entire perspective of one hand taking care of everything in terms of technology and the tooling and data architecture, and sources of data and channels, combining with how they handling partner relationships, how they think about market and the fact that they’re giving the end toolings to people like me that we really can customize and it’s not just off the shelf so, and which remind me, you know, that, if six, seven years ago I did only see for Marketing Cloud itself today, with our company, we are providing such a much larger set of tooling. So we are analyzing all the marketing activities, and of course going, with the Marketing Cloud as well. We have the average, we mentioned before, the audience, the 360 and of course the commerce. So everything relates to the communication between Salesforce and the end client is, and the fact that you can customize it along with people like us that’s a, I think gives really amazing solutions, to the clients and especially the ones that really wants to have, you know, a very precise message for each person they talk to and so on. Like the bank example that I gave before. And I think this is, the direction it’s been taken. And yeah, we definitely joined the fact that we can, we are lucky enough to have toolings that we can actually build what we think would be the best for their clients. And that’s quite an amazing time. I would say for both of us in that respect.

AL: I would agree. And as we’ve shifted gears to talking about I solutions, your company has an impressive customer base in Israel which I noted, how would you describe this region’s usage of Salesforce? Are there like any differences between other parts of the world?

DM: Yeah, that’s a very good question. Actually, I will say that Israel is in general, and I’m Israeli myself even though I’ve been doing most of my work, from Amsterdam… we recognize the opportunity in Israel, to basically penetrate the market. And today we are serving most 80 percent of the clients that have been using Salesforce Marketing Cloud, all the toolings around it. And that basically gave us a kind of understanding how Israel is, I think. And you know, everybody, I mean, Israel, we’re familiar with the fact that they are the startup nation, and you can feel that also with when we are, when we are talking to our clients and the way that we work with them, they tend to be more tech, I would say than the average clients that we are familiar with. They want to learn more about the codes. They want to learn more about the data architecture. They understand better the advantages, of those toolings today because they also understand that you can customize it as I mentioned before. And, and I think this is something that maybe it’s a bit different in the way that the Israelis approach this kind of solutions. It’s it’s true about Cloud solutions, but it’s also true about any other solutions that.

AL: Right. It sounds like they set the bar high.

DM: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. But that’s basically a very good thing because in the end, when, you know, sometimes when you talk to marketers, they not all CMOS, yeah, or directors that they wanna take their companies to that direction. They can’t always understand, you know, all the way to what you can actually do for them. And they don’t really understand always how the technology behind it should work. So they see something like, you know, like a process someone did. Nike, for example, but they don’t understand that there is an entire team that building infrastructure around it and data architecture, and so on. And, and when you approach, the average Israeli company, they are there with, you. Do I understand the effort that you put in, they appreciate how your, the way that you want to basically help them to customize the solution that’s good for them. And I will say this is, the main difference. Let’s say in terms of this type of solution for yourself, you have, you know, some Israelis, they will be more tech-focused. 

AL: Exactly. It’s good to be prepared, right? Well. And now, of course, you have clients outside of Israel as well across all of ME and beyond. Now, I was kind of curious since most side have certain focuses or capabilities, other types of clients that are really good matches for you and are there some kind of clients that are probably not a good match for WEKU?

DM: Well, I, yeah, definitely. I, we are not, we are lucky enough to, we have good reference, a good reputation. So we actually never face, the situation where I need to actually impress someone, with my ability. So that’s always a good starting point. But in the end, I think that there, I will divide this one to two main let’s say elements if the company is first willing to invest, you know, I will take it, you know, I will be very transparent. You need to have… the right budget to invest in such a tooling. And in… such a solution, you bringing everything to the cloud over there, Salesforce solutions, are extremely advanced and you can build whatever you have in mind in 99 percent of the cases around it. But that comes with also, the ability to put, to have the right budget for it and which my perspective, is extremely important for every company of course. And I would say something that it’s even more important than that is the mindset and the vision. So when we are talking… to some clients, that show interest in these type of solutions, we learning well, most of all, they need to come with some kind of understanding that they want to improve massively the entire communications, with their clients or with their leads. So they need to understand or let’s say they need to have the will to basically have a much better e-mail marketing and an SMS. And that in Facebook, people see the commercial on tiktok, on LinkedIn, the right commercial to the right person at the right time and, they need to have the will to upgrade their entire way that they look at the way that they communicate with their clients and not that all of them, is going in that direction.

AL: A willingness to increase our marketing maturity as some would call it.

DM: Exactly. Well, said, yes, definitely.

AL: Well, it definitely helps working with clients that wanna get ahead of course now.

DM: You want your client in the end… to challenge, you want them to come with first for I will say for your own personal challenge, you know, it’s nice to have something that you haven’t faced before or that you really increase the level of your technical knowledge. And so you want the client to have a very strong vision and you want them to have a much better communication, and that they would know how to basically how they want to present themselves from the outside. And, and those are the types of clients that we really like to work with. Yeah, the more the merrier as we.

AL: Now something that might be of interest to potential clients who are marketers and are listening to this show. You recently went through a rebranding process at WEKU. So what trigger the change? What considerations did you have to make there?

DM: Well, I have to be very honest about this one. It wasn’t planned properly. You know, sometimes as an agency, you focus so much on your work and your clients that when I started when I established the company and I had already so many clients or potential clients, and leads and so on that wanted, to use, my knowledge and my health. So I didn’t dive into any of that in the beginning. You know, I built a website by myself from scratches very quickly. I just put some kind of a logo and I chose a name just on my way to registration, of the company. So I can’t say it was really planned. But with time we learned that now we can have a much better of course, a way to present ourselves and to brand ourselves and to differentiate ourselves from other let’s say, agencies, competitors, but also to actually really bring ourselves to the front of the things that we’re really good at and not to put masks on things that we are less good at. And so… we chose to have this kind of a rebranding, that basically it’s bring rebranding about everything that we are presenting and everything that we are doing. It’s starting from the logo and the name. But it continues also with how we are different. So the fact for example that sometimes our competitors on the tables are huge corporates, you know, 200,000 employees worldwide and we are mostly winning against them. And that’s because, we are taking the more the commander approach, you know, very professionalized and well experienced more than others. Usually, you know, 11 years of experience in this market is a lot. And so we come with that knowledge. We come with that approach and dedicated team and of course, with more flexibility around the pricing and administrative thing. So you can just call straight away, the developer on what’s up. For example, you don’t have to start schedule a meeting with the project manager that will organize an internal resources and also the agency of being let’s say more like boutique in that respect that’s something that we wanted to present. So we chose to change everything around how we wrap ourselves as an agency.

AL: Just this little idea of having what sub groups to communicate directly with devs, I think is very interesting because it takes away so much friction.

DM: Yes, definitely. No, we, I mean, we all many years in the ones that many years in this market know that when you talk to an elephant, as we say, that elephant has many things that you have to deal with, you know, like a very high budgets and high demands for the managers or the manager or the managers and so on. And they have targets that they have to face. And, and here we are coming from a different perspective saying, well, first we put service is the most important. So the minute we have a client, that client, and everyone, all the people that work with us from the client and have direct communications to myself, the solution architect, tech architect. So any one of the people that involved in the projects and everything is, can be quicker. And if in the past, let’s say five years ago, it would be very hard for us, to find the, you know, enterprise organizations to work with us today. It becomes more legit because they’re saying, okay, we have this very small group of people we can work with. They are more dedicated usually because they’re a small company. They really wants to improve themselves and they have more to more let’s say, more enthusiastic spirit to bring their service much better. So, yeah, in general, you’re absolutely, right. It, it become more focused about again the client and not about how I run my processes in house and so on. 

AL: One more thinking about the branding. I saw that your logo now features a certain face, what’s the story behind that?

DM: So it’s actually come from old habit of mine. I’m reading a lot of philosophy and mathematics and I’m an accountant, in my dark days. One of the things that I started to read about when I established the company is what I’m actually doing. I started asking myself very philosophical questions about what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. And during that process, I came across a person called Heron of Alexandria which was a very for the people that are familiar with that, with that history, very interesting investor. And what he created is basically kind of an, the first automatic machine. So the first machine that continued working after initial start and initial trigger. So basically create kind of an iron ball, and close and from that iron balls, you have two pipes going to opposite directions and he put some Wood inside and he boiled it. And what happened is that the smoke inside put out of air pressure and that’s basically create this ball from start grown in round and continue as long as the burn is working. That’s by the way… is how a steam engine is working until today when it burns something. And the pressure, of the smoke that’s coming out of it. So I found it very nice story. And something that I want to bring, to our company first is to understand that in the end that person thought outside the box and that’s really wants to everyone in our company to think not to be as everyone else but to actually find to think beyond and to understand beyond what you’re doing and not just doing it because you need to. And I found this kind, of approach to life in general much more interesting. And that’s the type of let’s say five I want to bring, to my company and that’s why we chose, that character.

AL: Very inspiring. So to so to let you let your employees essentially think outside of the box, let them find new interesting ways to do things. And it’s not just to draw it in the lines but or do things as they’re supposed to do but really like for the best new solutions.

DM: Exactly. Well said. Yeah.

AL: Okay. Maybe one last thing about how you run your practice, of course, topic close to my heart. To what extent is AppExchange a part of WEKU’s strategy?

DM: Well, I think it’s something that in Salesforce Marketing Cloud is getting better. I must say, you know, regardless of this conversation, thanks to you guys… I think we haven’t faced enough good apps that’s built by third side companies as yours. And, and first time we came across, your product, it was very fresh because it was for us the first time that the company actually took something that was really a pain point, for marketers or for users, in the system and to make it more approachable, easy to use. And in the end, you know, when I come with such a project, to such a product, to our clients, they can basically run things much faster. And today, when you are talking about how efficient you can be as a marketeer in terms of the communication and the speed of communication. So you don’t have to wait through now your it department to start building, some scripts or SQL’s or JavaScript around creating some kind of content segmentation. This thing should be much more approachable. And… I must say, and it’s not because we are talking now, you know what I think about the product that in the end, the product of DESelect, is something that we are really missing. And, I hope in general that more and more tooling is like, that improving the experience of a daytoday usage and make it more efficient. That’s something that we would like to use more and more as a service provider as well.

AL: I’m very glad to hear that because I can already tell you we will not stop at the current DESelect segmentation offering. We were also looking further. I think there’s many opportunities to do more marketing enablement in general, to give them tools there, on the one hand, you have to train marketers and make them understand they have to embrace the data as we already established. On the other hand, you also want to give them better tools, easier tools. And I think when those two can meet halfway as one is basically this is job right? And the other one is an is job. And then you can have real, really powerful things in Marketing Cloud and for marketing jobs in general.

DM: Definitely, definitely. As we said before, the more the merrier the more options we have, but the quality is something, that I think, was improving recently because I think that six, seven years ago you couldn’t find really good tools, in the AppExchange and it’s getting better. And as I mentioned, the more the merrier because it will give more options to the end clients in the end, to use in a much efficient way.

AL: Super now as we’re about to slowly wrap up, I’d like to touch base with giving some advice to some of our listeners. So for instance, many of our listeners are early Marketing Cloud practitioners, and is there some kind of advice that you who has 11 years of experience in this industry could share with them?

DM: Sure. Good question because I’ve been hearing that a lot from also other, all other beginners that just jumping into this world. All people that actually been doing it for the last three, four years and they’re asking me okay today that you are 11 years has been doing that. What can you, what can you share? So, I can definitely say that you need to treat, the, this type of tooling is I can talk especially of course about the Salesforce Marketing Cloud is that you have to take the time and the understanding that is a real profession by itself. It is for some, it might it seems as a niche which is okay depends on what, the agency has been doing, all you as a market has been doing. But if you wanna be really professional in it, there is nothing like, you know, like we said make your hands dirty like try things. When I started. You can imagine that 11 years ago, there was no real documentation. It was called ExactTarget. I learned everything by myself and it’s not that I’m kind of a genius or anything like that. I think it’s just, when I started to find this thing very exciting to learn something new and to face a new challenge. So I just started to send myself in emails and send myself a SMS, and see what happening with the data and changing the data. You know, I always try to do things alongside with the fact that then clients started to come and, to challenge me, with their custom solution. So that require me to actually again upgrade my understanding and to really dive into the codes and the commendations and features and combining with other features and other third side tooling. And so, so I would say, for those of you that listen to this, and I understand where I’m going with it is that in the end, you can learn now two years on the surface Marketing Cloud and it will not be enough because in the end, what you mostly need is two things one the excitement to learn something new and second to deal with things by yourself and facing, the heart challenges. And that comes with experience. And I would say in a much philosophical educational perspective, in the end, I believe that you learn the best by doing and… you need, I believe three-four years to be a really good senior solution architect that can actually provide a much deeper understanding. Your role is more than just creating an e-mail or making a unsubscribed process is to understand the client in front of you and how he manages his operation and the level of the knowledge they have continue with what they want to achieve and what their target is, understanding their data needs and combining with the data architecture that you can build within the Marketing Cloud or the tools in around it. And, and also in the end, to make everything more efficient in the way that the client is going to use it. So, there are so many aspects here that there is no magic here. It’s all based on experience and make, your hands dirty. And so if you go in that direction, you’re choosing the right career for yourself, but be aware that in as many other things, you have to be patient and you have to yeah face the challenges. 

AL: All right. Well, I think there’s actually some excellent advice to completely wrap up with. So I want to thank you for today. It was really a pleasure having you on the show. Thank you so much for your time.

DM: Thank you very much. Really appreciate that.

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