CEO Liad Agmon and CTO Omri Mendellevich
Vertex Ventures Israel, ClalTech, Innovation Endeavors, Marker, Bessemer Venture Partners, The New York Times, and Baidu
The holy grail of marketing is personalization - adaptation of the advertising message to each individual customer. Liad Agmon, founder and CEO of startup company Dynamic Yield, which helps websites and applications carry out personalization and optimization, claims that this revolution has barely begun.
“Only in recent years has technology made it possible to do personalization at a really individual level,” Agmon says. “It’s still only a slogan. It will take another three to five years before this slogan becomes something more mainstream. Actually, at this point, almost no company, except for standouts like Facebook and Google, understands how you’re supposed to do this.
“Let's say I work at a company like H&M,” Agmon explains. “The employees there are divided into teams specializing in specific channels. Some of them send e-mails to customers with bargain offers. There’s a team responsible for the website that does separate work, and there’s another team responsible for the app. What you don’t have in the enterprise is a function that synchronizes all of the channels, that first of all thinks about the customer, and only afterwards about what channel should be used to contact him or her.
“This is not a trivial change for an enterprise,” Agmon declares. “It has to come from the CEO level. Companies that don’t adopt this way of thinking in the long term will be pushed out of the game. These things are measured in the mathematics of costs. In an industry in which consumers have an alternative, it’s going to be bread and butter - in every industry that has a digital interface with the user. Just think: all the junk mail you get in your inbox could have been relevant, had you gotten offers for products that really interested you.”
But this is happening now. Super-Pharm sends me personal coupons on my mobile phone.
Agmon : It only seems likes it’s happening, and it’s happening on a very unsophisticated level. If you enter the Super-Pharm website and look at 10 products there, they don’t gather information about you based on the products that interested you according to the way you surf, because they use mainly information from the cash register in the store and your credit card. That’s archaic technology.”
How should it work?
“The company should gather information about you, including what you bought in the store, together with which e-mails you opened out of those they sent you, and the products that interested you on the website or in the app, and should then integrate the information into a general picture that also includes information about the times of day you went to the store, when you surfed the website, whether you have a iPhone or Android, whether you live in Eilat or Haifa, and what you bought in the past three years. At this stage, the data should be processed mathematically and recommendations provided - what should be sent to you and when so that it will be as relevant as it can be.”
Give me an example of a company that has grasped the idea.
“Two of our customers, Urban Outfitters and Under Armour, have realized that it's important to keep track of the customer’s entire journey, and that’s the most important thing for them, because they’re gathering information about me as a consumer, whether I entered their website from my mobile phone or from a computer. You have to create continuity.”
Will this continuity be reflected in the physical store as well?
“I can’t talk at length about these things with respect to those two companies, but in general, it definitely will be.”
Where does my privacy fit into all this personalization and the information that you are gathering about me?
“There’s no such thing as privacy. Facebook and Google, and Apple too, know everything about you, including things that you don’t know that they know about you."
What do you do if I have entered the website for the first time?
“Theoretically, I could cross-reference the information of our customers, but because of the agreements with them, I can’t share the information. If it’s your first visit to the website, I’ll go to a company like Oracle, which has a marketplace of information, and assemble an initial profile of you. On every subsequent visit, I’ll be able to improve your experience and ensure more revenue for the company.”
You raised $31 million this year. Are you on the way to an exit?
“Our main concern is development. Selling the company is not the vision, but in our world, there are two options. One, if we become a big enough company, is to hold an IPO, and the other is to grow until a bigger company acquires us. These two scenarios apply to any company. Right now, we’re not thinking about either of these directions. As CEO, my goal is for the company to grow and prosper, and to double our revenue each year, as is happening now. As long as I continue at this pace, I have no reason to stop. It’s my third company, after Onigma and Delver, so I now think differently. Only recently, I took everyone in the company on a vacation in Mykonos. To see the comradeship between the offices is such an enjoyable and positive vibe, why not keep going with it further and further?”