On Marketing Technology
MTS: Tell us a little bit about your role and how you got here.
I have spent the past twelve years building and selling solutions that improve the digital experience on mobile devices. In the past few years mobile became the dominant channel, and I witnessed how speed and reliability of mobile networks were starting to present an immediate threat to business growth.
We started researching the issue at Cotendo in 2011 but the acquisition by Akamai slowed things down. At Akamai we tried working with Telco titans such as Ericsson and multiple network operators, but none of the ideas matured into viable products. In 2016, when I first met Chetan Ahuja (PacketZoom’s founder), I realized that he had the tech and the vision that I had been searching for.
Once I saw the results and heard key customers raving about the possibilities of the product PacketZoom had built, leaving Akamai was a relatively easy decision. I believe that PacketZoom holds the key to one of the biggest challenges presented to mobile application publishers. Given the immense growth in the marketplace I have no doubts that PacketZoom is going to keep me busy and excited for years to come.
MTS: Given the massive proliferation of marketing technology, how do you see the martech market evolving over the next few years?
PacketZoom’s technology is essentially about speed and efficiency — allowing mobile app users to interact with more content in less time. Many of the martech solutions are about efficiency — collecting and segmenting smart data, targeting consumers at the most relevant time with the most relevant content, and saving valuable search or wait time. Companies and content publishers are finally starting to appreciate how smart and knowledgeable consumers are. The more sophisticated the market gets, the more efficient, targeted and time-saving the marketing technologies continues to evolve.
MTS: What do you see as the single most important technology trend or development that’s going to impact us?
I believe that the combination of mobile devices and Augmented Reality is going to make a significant impact in multiple areas such as Ad-Tech, Gaming, Retail, Travel and others. There are numerous use cases where mobile and AR together are proving to change the user experience in a positive way. However, mobile networks will have to catch up with the demand for this new content and the load it will introduce.
MTS: What’s the biggest challenge that CMOs need to tackle to make marketing technology work?
CMOs have already embraced mobile in a big way. Almost every company is already taking advantage of the smart devices placed in our pockets. Aside from brand awareness, mobile applications generate significant revenue streams when implemented properly either through in-app purchases, mobile ads or cross-channel promotions (the app economy is expected to reach $188 billion in 2020). Given the high variability of network quality in different geographies, CMOs will notice that as they try to grow their businesses globally these factors also affect revenue from each geographic region.
MTS: What’s your advice to CMOs as they plan to invest in marketing technologies?
My advice is to get as much insight about your target market as possible: what motivates them, what frustrates them, when are you losing them and what can be done to gain back their trust, etc.
At PacketZoom, we talk to app publishers that are somewhat aware of the mobile performance challenge and its affect on their user experience. However, they still feel like they’re shooting in the dark: they often don’t know how their mobile app really performs, how its performance compares with similar apps in their category, why users’ conversion is low and what can be done to rectify the problem.
For example, we know that often it’s the network conditions that compromise the user experience. However, users typically “blame” the app itself and may abandon it due to slow download times and never come back. Understanding customer/user behavior is a critical step towards addressing and resolving them.
MTS: What startups are you watching/keen on right now?
I was at the ShopTalk conference recently and I am very impressed with what companies like Perfect Corp, Boxed and ThredUp are doing and how they change the way people shop.
Perfect Corp, for example, presented its Augmented Reality beauty app that’s also being deployed in physical stores around the world to create a stunning beauty experience for consumers. This AR-powered consumer journey begins on the mobile app and continues at the makeup counter with magic mirror consultation kiosks to help shoppers select products and colors quickly and easily in-store. These are exactly the type of apps that inspire PacketZoom to potentially educate and empower the engineering team on the importance of understanding and optimizing app performance to ensure their user experience remains continuous and engaging across any network or geographic region.
MTS: What tools does your marketing stack consist of in 2017?
As a young startup we’re all about the “lean and mean” approach — we don’t use fancy marketing tools but try to stand out in our space for sharing knowledge and success stories. We also use messages and content that triggers conversations and helps us claim our position us a market leader. We communicate with our network frequently via email, social media and blog posts that feature fresh, thought-provoking content.
MTS: Could you tell us about a standout digital campaign? (Who was your target audience and how did you measure success)
We recently published a CDN Marketshare study that demonstrated major shifts in the enterprise space and how mobile-only and mobile-first companies are changing their CDN providers and essentially choose to move away from the traditional CDNs. The campaign targeted anyone who is operating a mobile application and prompted them to ask “Am I using the right solution for my mobile application or do I treat it like another website?”
The campaign created the desired momentum and is helping us educate the market in selecting the right solutions to make their mobile app as engaging as possible.
MTS: How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a marketing leader?
Artificial Intelligence is starting to impact many aspects of our lives. At PacketZoom it’s always been a core component of our solution. PacketZoom redefined mobile networking for apps using an In-App technology. We can make better content transfer decision at the protocol level.
Since a protocol is basically a sophisticated algorithm, big data is needed to have it perfectly operate in multiple networks as each network has a different profile. For the past three years we have been collecting data to profile mobile networks. This data, and the intelligence that uses it, allows us to provide our customers with the impressive results we do such as 2-3x content download speedup and up to 90% connection rescue.
This Is How I Work
MTS: One word that best describes how you work.
MTS: What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Slack and WhatsApp.
MTS: What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?
A good morning Yoga session.
MTS: What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)
Thank You for Being Late by Thomas Friedman. I read and watch mostly on my smartphone.
MTS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Count till two before responding.
MTS: Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
Believe. Almost anything could be accomplished with passion and hard work.
MTS: Tag the one person whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
MTS: Thank you Shlomi! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Shlomi Gian is the CEO of PacketZoom, prior to which he was Head of Market Development for the Emerging Mobile BU at Akamai technologies.
We redefine mobile application performance through in-App Mobile Networking Technology. PacketZoom Mobile Expresslane allows mobile application content to download 2x-3x faster and rescue up to 80% of app connection drops. We do so while significantly reducing the CDN costs. Better networking translates to better user experience, higher retention and conversion, overall – better business!
About the MarTech Interview Series
The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.