Interview with Pini Yakuel, Founder & CEO at Optimove

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Interview with Pini Yakuel, Founder & CEO at Optimove
[mnky_team name=”Pini Yakuel” position=” Founder & CEO at Optimove”][/mnky_team]
[mnky_testimonial_slider][mnky_testimonial name=”” author_dec=”” position=”Designer”]“A lot of marketing automation companies claim to have AI abilities, but very few use real machine intelligence that can significantly change the marketing game.”[/mnky_testimonial][/mnky_testimonial_slider]

On Marketing Cloud Technology

MTS: Tell us a little bit about your role at Optimove and how you got here. What inspired you to start a marketing cloud company?

I am the founder and CEO of Optimove, a successful software company built on big data technologies. Back in 2009, when I initially started the company with my partner – who had just earned his Ph.D. in data mining – I didn’t even know exactly what data was all about. But I was looking to start a business and “big data” sounded like an interesting basis for a high-tech company. So we started meeting with corporations, crunching their customer data and presenting them with all kinds of insights which we hoped would be useful to them.

MTS: Is customer experience management the only difference between typical marketing clouds and Optimove’s customer marketing cloud? How do you see this segment evolving over the next few years?

The most significant difference between Optimove and other solutions is Optimove’s focus on enabling the marketer to move at the speed of the customer. Through very advanced science and automation Optimove maintains the marketer one step ahead of the customer, thus enabling him to anticipate the customer’s next step and be at the right place and at the right time to communicate the most significant message. This empowers marketers to execute many concurrent campaigns to very homogenous customer groups. Optimove’s scientific measurement gauges every campaign, and Optibot, our AI bot, let’s the marketer know what’s working and what needs improving.

MTS: What do you see as the single most important technology trend or development that’s going to impact us?

With the danger of sounding like a cliché, the answer is AI. Today, there are simply too many marketing communication channels, dimensions, and combinations for the marketer to handle. AI is starting to bridge this gap. The only problem is that a lot of marketing automation companies claim to have AI abilities, but only very few use real machine intelligence that can significantly change the marketing game.

MTS: What’s the biggest challenge for startups to integrate a marketing cloud into their stack?

There are really many challenges. Actually, the number one reason for martech failure is bad integration. On the technical side, the system needs to be integrated with all other technologies, and that’s an undertaking in itself. Then there’s the Human challenge. People often resist change, and realigning teams around new technology is prone to troubles. The make or break of martech is often at the hands of the new technology’s “owner” within the business. The person who can align and educate the team, solve the problems and break the resistance. Without an internal champion for the new technology, integration can be very hard.


MTS: Could you tell us about a standout digital campaign? (Who was your target audience and how did you measure success)

We are great believers in content marketing. Since the market still needs a lot of education about customer retention – we are there to provide it. We believe that there’s a huge payoff for teaching, and are marketing is invested in doing just that. We’ve brought in great content talents to manage our content factory, which is in constant growth. As with any other content initiative, measuring the success is very difficult. We see however a steady growth in the number of our blog visitors and newsletter subscribers, and we constantly receive great feedback.

MTS: How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader?

Bake it into our product, making sure not only that we are not falling short, but that we’re way ahead of the curve.

This Is How I Work

MTS: One word that best describes how you work.


MTS: What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

As funny as it might sound, Word and the voice recorder on the phone. Lots of thoughts flood my head by the second, and I always need somewhere to jot my best ideas. If I’m on the move, I record myself. If I’m in front of my computer, I open a Word doc, and start jotting down.

MTS: What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?

Implementing governing rules on my time allocation; what’s the percent of time I dedicate to mentoring my teams, to developing the product, to my family, etc. And making sure that I keep in line of this plan, and revisit it every now and then.

MTS: What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)

I mainly consume information from people around me. I talk to a lot of people and have a great mechanism of picking up what’s important and meaningful, and leaving behind all the rest. I recently watched Kung Fu Panda again, and I think that there’s a lot that entrepreneurs and people can learn from it about self-confidence and its significance.

MTS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Whatever someone else can do only a bit less good than what you can, delegate to them. Trust your team and treat them well.

MTS: What’s something you do better than others — the secret to your success?

I have superpowers! I think that I’m able to utilize both the right and left sides of my brain to their utmost. This helps me sometimes to find very creative solutions to almost impossible challenges.

MTS: Thank you Pini! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.

Pini is founder and CEO of Optimove, provider of the industry’s leading Customer Marketing Cloud. Pini’s extensive experience in analytics-driven customer marketing, business consulting and sales, along with his innovative approaches to entrepreneurship and business-building, have earned him recognition as a thought leader. Pini has led Optimove to become a market leader, with hundreds of brands using his company’s software and services to orchestrate and automate highly-effective personalized CRM.


Optimove is the leading Customer Marketing Cloud, helping over 250 brands drive their entire customer marketing operation.

Optimove combines the science of data with the art of marketing to deliver personalized, real-time, multi-channel CRM campaigns. Optimove’s unique technologies enable marketers to maximize customer engagement, brand loyalty and lifetime value.

The company’s software and services are used by leading customer-centric brands of all sizes from a variety of industries, including 1-800-Flowers, AdoreMe, Lucky Vitamin,, Scopely, Outbrain, and eBags. The company has offices in New York, London and Tel Aviv.

[mnky_heading title=”About the MarTech Interview Series” link=”|||”]

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.

1 Comment
  1. […] Pini added, “His record and know-how will help us further innovate our product for our 300+ global customers, and grow our culture for our almost 200 employees.” […]

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