For marketers, the world has changed completely. Whereas previously, channels such as conferences and live events were one of the main drivers of growth, today marketers have to look elsewhere to fuel their organization’s development. We spoke with Yaron Saghiv, VP Marketing at UVeye, and in a wide-ranging discussion touched on marketing of the future, staying agile, and leadership insights.
Yaron knows marketing. Having been an entrepreneur since age 23 he has successfully founded and marketed numerous businesses. He now heads up marketing at UVeye, which is setting the global standard of vehicle inspection – whether that’s homeland security at border control, a mechanic checking a car, rental companies and bus operators – or on the production line of some of the world’s biggest manufacturers such as Volvo and Toyota.
So how does Yaron see the future of marketing?
Why is having no sports to watch so hard right now?
“Sports is escapism, that’s why people love it, it gets you out of the routine of your normal life, gets you out of thinking of whatever you have at work. You follow a storyline. It’s a story that is like a living movie, every season is a movie that’s happening in real time, it’s entertainment, it’s escapism, it’s just longer.”
You’re a marketing expert, with extensive experience in the space. How have you adapted to this new reality?
The first thing, before anything else, is that no matter what the crisis, change or challenge is, the key is to move really quickly. Companies that realized this early and made changes were at an immediate advantage.
In this case, our response can be split into three channels or avenues. First, we realized we had to be relevant to what’s developing. For example, very quickly we decided to install thermal measurement systems on all our hardware, across verticals. So now from border security to delivery fleets, we can detect if someone has a fever instantly, without needing to come close to or into contact with that person. Immediately this led to a tremendous amount of brand awareness, not to mention allowing us to help in the global fight against the coronavirus.
Second, we harnessed the power of video. From webinars to demonstrations, video is so powerful, as we’re all seeing.
Finally, we worked on improving our long-term infrastructure. Whether that was improving our CRM systems, our product marketing, or many other important projects that we usually don’t have the time to give the necessary attention to. This was the perfect opportunity.
When it comes to marketing, conferences have always been a huge driver of results. How do you see organizations replacing this engine in the short and long term?
I often speak about the three pillars of how I look at marketing: Research, Brand and Performance. Conferences are a powerful way to drive brand awareness, and obviously we’ve had to look at how to work around the challenge of a changed world, reinvent what we do and stay relevant.
It’s clear to everyone that in the short- and even medium-term, conferences as we know them aren’t going to be relevant. One of the biggest challenges is that you’re not going to have all the right stakeholders at one event.
So we’ve seen that switch to video presentations, roundtables, webinars. Partnerships are key when it comes to producing great content. For example, we partner with relevant associations in the U.S. to create informative webinars.
Marketing has to become much closer to business development. You’re going to need to form the right partnerships to reach out to the right people.
In the longer term, conferences are going to return in some way. Even if they’re domestic, or pull people from one country into one place and connect to similarly grouped people in other countries, it’s going to incorporate an offline element and won’t stay online forever. We might even see differentiated packages, with a more expensive live event, and a less expensive “virtual” ticket.
This will require the right set up. A venue that looks good, that’s geared for this type of event, with the right infrastructure, comfortable seating, strong internet, video conferencing facilities and so on.
Obviously tech is becoming more prevalent, and we’ve all got used to Zoom meetings. What other types of technology do you see being widely adopted?
So we’ve seen tools like Zoom being widely adopted, along with the likes of internal communication tools such as Slack, and management tools such as Monday.com, Asana and Trello.
We’ve also seen the increased usage of virtual B2B platforms. At a recent virtual conference, we used B2B Wizard for example, which enables virtual fireside chats, conferencing and networking.
Physical meetings, and a place to meet, will still be important – perhaps more than ever. How do you see routines changing to incorporate this?
I think companies will need really great looking spaces with the right infrastructure and facilities, with privacy and without noise, to actually show what they do – whether that’s webinars, whether that’s online meetings, or any other type of communication.
It could be three or four people from your team coming together physically to video call a client in another city, or showing a pitch deck. I also see domestic restrictions relaxing, so teams from different cities in the same country will be able to meet up more frequently.
We’ve seen that during Corona, in some roles efficiency has actually gone up. A lot of companies will rethink how much space they really need. They’ll re-evaluate spending funds on big, flashy offices. This will manifest through increased work-from-home policies, and people coming together to meet up at meeting areas. Companies that don’t need constant physical space will reduce their space usage when they can, and make use of on-demand space providers.
This is obviously a time of great change and great challenge, but also in some ways a time of great opportunity. In which areas or fields do you feel that opportunity lies, and how should tomorrow’s successful leaders be acting today?
We should acknowledge that there’s an element of luck involved. If you’re the leader of a company like Zoom or in the delivery space, this situation was never specifically planned for, you just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
What are some of the challenges in making a profit from ghost games?
“The TV side doesn’t change a lot. If you’re someone who wants to buy an outfield wall because you want your logo to be seen, you can still do that. What will change is the brands who are looking for the ballpark interaction. To connect with people through an experience. Each individual contract we have is different in terms of what the client is looking to do and get out of their sponsorship. Their goal might not be for their logo to be seen on national television, they may be looking to connect with a specific local market, to touch people and give them a memorable experience. That will be our biggest challenge, to try and convert and retain revenue with assets that might not have been top of mind initially. In addition, dealing with folks that in this economy may not have the extra dollars to do that. We will be needing to convert them to something they may not have wanted in the first place, and to pay a premium for it.”
Successful leaders, from the outset of any challenge or crisis, have embraced “Keep calm and carry on”. Corona will pass, but we know there will be other challenges ahead. We’re more resilient than we think. No matter how crazy the current situation seems, we’ve already adapted to it to a large degree.
The bottom line? Leaders must persist, not get anxious, and keep pushing to move one’s business forward. Adapt like Corona is there, but keep on working as if Corona doesn’t exist. In a year’s time, when we’ve forgotten Corona, those leaders will be at a tremendous advantage.
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