What I Want Marketers to Know: Ohad Hecht, CEO, Emarsys
Ohad Hecht is absolutely one of the most cultured individuals I’ve met. Read on and you’ll see why.
He’s a polyglot – fluent in English, German, Hebrew, and Chinese. He’s lived in Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, and as of recently, now resides here in Indianapolis, IN, USA.
A little background on Ohad: He built Emarsys’ market-leading presence in Asia-Pacific between 2010 and 2014 and returned to Vienna to serve as the company’s COO in 2014. He was appointed CEO in July 2016.
In addition to serving as a great global leader here at Emarsys, Ohad is also one of the sharpest marketing minds I have had the pleasure of working with. And here’s what he wants marketers like you to know.
Current Location: In the cloud. Literally. Flying from Europe to the U.S.
Current Role: CEO at Emarsys.
One word that best describes how you view the state of marketing today: Challenging.
Tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today.
I was born and raised in Israel – but I consider myself a citizen of the world (especially over the past 20 years). I’m married with three children. I’m a marketer by profession, with a deep love for sports, reading, good food, and wine.
I’ve worked in three different industries on four continents, which taught me a lot about value creation from different angles, as well as working with people in different cultures. I was an Emarsys customer in Hong Kong where I lived for 12 years, and joined the business in 2010 to build our presence in APAC. Moving to our HQ in Vienna from Hong Kong as a COO several years ago, I succeeded our founder Hagai in his role as a CEO in 2016.
What do you wish marketers knew (but you’re pretty sure they don’t)?
The shift of budgets from traditional to digital, along with huge momentum in the e-commerce space, has resulted in marketers becoming more and more directly responsible for revenue. But in the fast-paced technological space, marketing as a function is struggling to deliver on the promise of marketing. Budgets shrink, CMO tenure decreases each year, and CEOs demand faster results. The job just becomes more complex. Marketing execution needs a big shake-up.
What do you see as the biggest challenge faced by marketers today?
Understanding consumers on an individual level, treating each person differently, and driving truly personal interactions to each customer. The explosion of channels, and the change in behavior of consumers across channels and devices, led to the explosion of data – data that needed to be collected, unified and transformed into information in a way that can be used to engage consumers. To deal with these challenges, many point solutions emerged to solve one specific problem in the marketing universe. Marketers need to piece all of this together, navigate their way in this complexity, drive revenues, and cultivate a community of happy customers.
How can they overcome this challenge?
Right now, I see very few – if any – marketers that currently have the technical means to do it. I see many marketers try, but the mass market tech world and tools doesn’t enable them to do so.
If you could tell all marketers just one thing, what would it be?
Stop accepting the status quo. Challenge yourself, your vendors, and your team members to shift from a focus on segments to a focus on interactions with individuals in real-time. Embrace new technologies that enable you to do just that.
Technology has already transformed marketing in so many ways. How do you see tech continuing to revolutionize the marketer’s role?
Tech has come a long way, but many systems still apply a philosophy where the human works for the machine and the machine assists. Humans still execute. This is exactly the problem. Systems need to support humans and help them process and make complex decisions that align with the marketer’s objectives. This is the true revolution. Revolutionising the marketer’s actual role so they do not focus on execution and operations, but on strategy, content, and creative.
What are you currently reading, or what would you recommend for marketers?
Usually I am reading 2-3 books at once. Right now, I’m in the middle of:
- Customer Success: How Innovative Companies Are Reducing Churn and Growing Recurring Revenue
- Beneath a Scarlet Sky
I like to read books about people, and tap into different topics that you don’t usually read about [in a business capacity]. Sapiens is another great read, too. I also like books on behavioural economics. Dan Ariely books are really good.
Fill in the blank: I’d love to see _________ answer these same questions: Tim Kopp.
Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to marketers?
Often times marketers focus on acquisition of new customers rather than on the retention of existing customers, which they have already invested a lot of dollars to acquire. Not only is driving sales from existing customers more profitable, but in today’s digital space, news and feedback travel fast (both positive and negative). Brands that drive truly personal interactions to their existing consumers will win the game.
Special thanks to Ohad Hecht for his time, energy, and insight.
Know someone who would be a great fit for this series? Email Michael.Becker@Emarsys.com.
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- What I Want Marketers to Know: Paul Roetzer, Founder, Marketing AI Institute