Leaner is better — when I just started, I built an org structure that was very robust and bloated. It took a while to realize that more people don’t just do more work, they also create more work and inherently slow the organization down because of it. A lean organization helps keep priorities since you only do what has to be done.
As a part of my Marketing Strategy Series, I’m talking with my fellow marketing pros at the top of their game to give entrepreneurs and marketers an inside look at proven strategies you might also be able to leverage to grow your business. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Gil Efrati.
Gil Efrati is CMO of Resident, a house of digitally-native brands disrupting the home goods category. From his home base in Tel Aviv, Gil oversees all aspects of Resident’s performance and brand marketing, as well as data analysis and digital product development. He has been instrumental in expanding Resident’s portfolio beyond the bedroom and its anchor mattress brands, Nectar and DreamCloud, to include a full range of furnishings and accessories for the entire home.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
During my first week at Resident I hit the ground running and started getting my hands dirty. I “inherited” a $30K print campaign that one of our founders was passionate about and so I started quarterbacking it with team members I only just met. We got everything ready: creative was designed and sent, a special offer was conceived, and a special URL and landing page were designed and ready to go live. What everyone missed was actually pushing that URL and landing page live when the campaign hit, and no one knew about it until a day after the ads were published and our CS team got angry phone calls that customers could not claim the offer because the site was not working. We missed out on the most important days of the sale because of it and the campaign was a failure. I mainly learned to make sure that everyone in the organization needs to understand EXACTLY what their role is in each project and that eventually, the responsibility is on me to make sure everything operates as it should.
Great lesson to be learned there! Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
I don’t really think there’s a single moment I can mark as a tipping point. I think when you’re constantly putting in the work, keeping yourself hungry and curious and evolving as a professional and an individual, you’re getting small wins every single day. In my career, I’ve yet to have a single event of a monumental success, but every time I learn something new I feel that small bit of success. I think the main lesson is that you need to stay hungry in order to hit the next peak of your life and career.
What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?
I would say that my best advice to avoid burnout is to be mindful of yourself. Burnout does not come out of the blue, and you would know if you’re on your way there. Since burnout could be both mental and physical, making sure that you do something you’re passionate about makes the mental part easier.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful to who helped get you to where you are?
The closest support system I have in life is my family, and without their support, I couldn’t have achieved anything. The decision to leave Google for a startup was the most difficult professional decision I’ve had to make and it’s very easy for your loved ones to encourage you to make the “safe” choice, but in this case, I got their full support to follow my passion and get out of my comfort zone.
Consumers have become more jaded and resistant to anything “salesy”. Where do you see the future of marketing headed?
I think there are 2 main components to successful marketing that are here now and would keep following us in the future. The first one is to target the right audience. Consumers resist things that are “salesy” unless it’s a product that they actually want or need. If you target the right audience, your chances to be heard grow exponentially, and I think Google and Facebook have enabled marketers by allowing them to hyper-target consumers. The second component is storytelling. Consumers don’t like “salesy”, but they do like entertainment. If we as marketers reach the right person with an entertaining message that they would enjoy regardless of the product — chances of the message to resonate are extremely high.
Please share with us the 5 things you wish someone told you before you started?
- Leaner is better — when I just started, I built an org structure that was very robust and bloated. It took a while to realize that more people don’t just do more work, they also create more work and inherently slow the organization down because of it. A lean organization helps keep priorities since you only do what has to be done.
- There is a fine line between working hard and being over-worked. In my first few months of the role, I was working very hard and it got to a point where I was just exhausted. You always need to be mindful and honest with yourself about how far you can be stretched.
- Moving from Google to a startup is like moving from summer camp to Bootcamp — even though Google wasn’t my first job, being at any place of work for many years makes you take some things as granted and you only appreciate them when they’re gone.
- Letting people go is the hardest thing you’ll have to do in your professional career. It never gets easier no matter how many times you do it.
- Don’t take work (too much) to heart. It’s very hard to do when you’re passionate about what you do, but it’s important to always remember that we don’t live just for work. Every job has its frustrations, but these need to stay in the work environment so that you can enjoy your personal time when you’re outside of work.
One more before we go: What books, podcasts, documentaries or other resources do you use to sharpen your marketing skills that our readers might also benefit from?
From a marketing perspective, I really enjoyed reading the book “Decoded” (Phil Barden) and “How Brands Grow” (Byron Sharp) that explain why consumers behave the way they do and how marketing has evolved to play on those behaviors and get consumers to buy products. I also enjoy reading books about how great businesses were founded, like “Shoe Dog” (story of Nike) and “The Everything Store” (story of Amazon) — both very inspiring.
Thank you so much for sharing these fantastic insights with us!