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Inbar Yagur of Keywee: “If something scares you, don’t avoid it, lean into”

I head up marketing at Keywee, where we’ve been building a Marketing Language Platform that helps marketing and sales teams understand and optimize the words they use to deliver business results across websites, social channels, email, and ads. Trained on tens of millions of marketing messages, Keywee can generate effective text built for any channel […]

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I head up marketing at Keywee, where we’ve been building a Marketing Language Platform that helps marketing and sales teams understand and optimize the words they use to deliver business results across websites, social channels, email, and ads. Trained on tens of millions of marketing messages, Keywee can generate effective text built for any channel or audience, optimized for conversion and engagement. Keywee not only saves marketing teams time by generating text, it can predict performance in advance, eliminating the need for costly A/B testing, ensuring maximum impact. One of the hardest things a marketer has to do is write. I’ve been trained in every form of writing imaginable, I’ve taught writing in the past, and yet, there’s nothing I hate more than a blank screen with a blinking cursor. Keywee helps marketers by not only generating effective copy — getting rid of that blank screen — but also by helping marketers choose the right message at the right time to maximize performance.


The telephone totally revolutionized the way we could communicate with people all over the world. But then came email and took it to the next level. And then came text messaging. And then came video calls. And so on…What’s next? What’s just around the corner?

In this interview series, called ‘The Future Of Communication Technology’ we are interviewing leaders of tech or telecom companies who are helping to develop emerging communication technologies and the next generation of how we communicate and connect with each other.

As part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Inbar Yagur, Head of Marketing at Keywee, is an accomplished marketing executive with over 10 years of experience in content marketing, ad tech, and marketing technology. She is a public speaker and thought leader, having been included as a featured speaker at conferences like Content Marketing World, and has placed bylines and featured commentary in several marketing and publishing trade publications like Pubexec, ClickZ, Marketing Land, and Content Marketing Institute.

Previously, Inbar served as Director of Marketing at Ozcode and Vice President of Marketing at TrenDemon, a content marketing optimization and attribution platform. She also spent five years at Taboola, where she built the groundwork for Taboola’s “Creative Shop” and wrote the rulebook for creating content that converts on native advertising channels.

Inbar began her career as a filmmaker after completing a B.A. in Film and Media Arts from Temple University in Philadelphia, and a master’s degree in Directing from the American Film Institute Conservatory. She is also a professional member of the G-CMO Forum, an exclusive community of Israel’s top CMOs from global companies.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I spent the better part of my 20’s studying film. I got my BA in Film and Media Arts from Temple University and went on to get an MFA in Film Directing from the American Film Institute (AFI) Conservatory. I’m very proud of the work I did, but it touched on a lot of heavy topics. I won a handful of awards, but by the time I moved back to Israel at the age of 27 I was absolutely burned out and I felt like I lost my passion. I stayed in the film industry for a couple more years but quickly found myself drawn to the world of content marketing. That eventually led me to Taboola where I saw it grow from a company of 60 people to a unicorn that’s about to IPO. At Taboola, I developed a passion for public speaking and knowledge sharing. I had the opportunity to fly around the world to run workshops and lectures, teaching marketers how to succeed in Native Advertising. Today, I head up marketing at Keywee, which is building a ground-breaking product for marketers to generate and optimize their messages using AI. It’s an absolutely thrilling experience to be a part of this innovative space.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

When I was at Taboola, we decided to take one of my workshops “on the road.” As a working mom, I try to keep my time away as short and efficient as possible. As a result, I had probably the craziest travel week I’ve ever had or will have. Leaving home from Tel Aviv, I made stops in Newark, Washington DC, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and then returned to Tel Aviv. That’s eight flights in seven days. I only slept in an actual room for five out of those seven days. I somehow managed to have six client meetings and three breakfast workshops during that time, and capped it all off by seeing my favorite podcast, at the time, live at the Hollywood Improv. Needless to say, when I finally got home I slept like a baby.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“You only know what you know when you know it.” I actually had this epiphany after dealing with a complicated medical issue over the course of a couple of years, but I find it to be incredibly relevant to everything I do. One of the hardest things about making any decision is the fear of regret. It’s easy in hindsight to say, “If I’d known that one little thing at the time I would have acted differently, and then all of this other stuff wouldn’t have happened…” There is nothing easier than beating yourself up over a decision that you’ve made, and that can often get in the way when you’re facing challenges in your life, be them personal or professional. But the thing is — you need to make the decision that is best for you given everything that you know now. You can’t blame yourself in hindsight because you only had partial information. When I’m about to make a hard decision, and I start worrying about what will happen, I remind myself: “You only know what you know when you know it.” Then I take a deep breath and jump — no regrets.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

This may be a bit cliche’, but that person is my husband. I think it’s very common for working moms to bear most of the burden when it comes to kids and day-to-day responsibilities. A lot of ink has also been spilled on the silent “emotional labor” that mothers do. I am incredibly lucky to be married to a man who is a TRUE partner. He’s an amazing father, of course, but beyond that, he doesn’t only pull his weight, he does it in a way that is supportive and empowering to me. He doesn’t just do the work, he does his share of the emotional labor, and that gives me space to fully pursue my career while raising kids who feel loved and cared for, whether it’s by their mother or their father. In a perfect world, this type of partnership would be the norm, but I recognize that it isn’t, and I’m grateful that this is the way it is in my home.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Not nearly enough in the past, but this year has really changed that. I know how fortunate I am to have financial stability during this time, and I’ve been making an effort to donate and give back to the community where I can.

Ok wonderful. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. Can you tell us about cutting edge communication tech that you are working on? How do you think that will help people?

I head up marketing at Keywee, where we’ve been building a Marketing Language Platform that helps marketing and sales teams understand and optimize the words they use to deliver business results across websites, social channels, email, and ads. Trained on tens of millions of marketing messages, Keywee can generate effective text built for any channel or audience, optimized for conversion and engagement. Keywee not only saves marketing teams time by generating text, it can predict performance in advance, eliminating the need for costly A/B testing, ensuring maximum impact. One of the hardest things a marketer has to do is write. I’ve been trained in every form of writing imaginable, I’ve taught writing in the past, and yet, there’s nothing I hate more than a blank screen with a blinking cursor. Keywee helps marketers by not only generating effective copy — getting rid of that blank screen — but also by helping marketers choose the right message at the right time to maximize performance.

How do you think this might change the world?

In general, Natural Language Generation has made leaps and bounds in the last couple of years — we see it everywhere, and we already use it in places without even noticing it. Just think about how many tools you use today that automatically complete sentences you start to write. It’s already changing the world. The problem with AI being able to generate unlimited amounts of text is that you still need a way to sift through it and find the messages that are most likely to be effective. The decision process there is akin to finding a needle in a haystack. That’s what sets Keywee apart — we not only generate the text, we evaluate it and help marketers make better choices. This will, of course, make their lives easier, and it will also help ensure that the right people see the right message at the right time and place. I think marketing is at its best when a user meets a product that helps them or brings them joy. We are so inundated with it, though, that it’s easy to get lost in the noise. Keywee helps marketers overcome that noise and find the users that will really benefit from their products.

Keeping “Black Mirror” in mind can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

I think that it’s crucial to use this technology as a helping hand and not as an autonomous machine. Relying fully on AI to craft your messages will create a feedback loop that will end in irrelevance. Natural Language AI is trained on things that people have written, and people are a critical component to keeping that technology honest. If AI is trained text that’s written by AI, it will inevitably stop being an effective way to communicate with people. So keeping the human element in the mix is crucial to keeping the AI effective.

Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this breakthrough? Can you tell us that story?

Marketing has changed dramatically over the past few years. Specifically, social media has become a critical channel to promote products and services. And as social media grew as a marketing platform, the rules began to change. Words — which ones you use and how you use them — became crucial to building and engaging an audience. It’s become such a huge challenge, to the point where, as a marketer, it’s hard to keep up and wrap your head around it. Using AI to understand an audience and what works for that audience became an obvious need in the industry. It offers a way to truly empower marketers with the right language so that they can get the most out of their campaigns while avoiding mistakes and pitfalls.

What do you need to lead this technology to widespread adoption?

I think the biggest blocker is that people don’t truly understand what AI is. Most people hear “AI” and immediately go to Skynet, The Matrix, and 100 other pop culture references. Admittedly, I did too. It took coming to Keywee to truly open my eyes. AI is not this out-of-control, all-knowing, all-powerful force. It’s not meant to replace people, it’s meant to empower them. This is especially true when it comes to AI that generates text. You can generate thousands of messages, you can use our technology to sift through those messages and pick the best ones, but you’re still the gatekeeper. You have to be. So now something that took you three hours and cost you thousands of dollars to test will take you only five minutes and cost far less. But you’re still the mediator, you still make the final decision. It’s really easy for marketers to forget that at the other end of their messages is another human being that’s making a decision to connect with their product. A human touch is crucial to facilitate that connection. The AI is there to help, not to replace, that human touch.

The pandemic has changed so many things about the way we behave. One of them of course, is how we work and how we communicate in our work. How do you think your innovation might be able to address the new needs that have arisen as a result of the pandemic?

When the pandemic hit, everything went digital overnight. A transformation was already in the works, but the pandemic accelerated that transformation. For a lot of people (me included!) the world was reduced to 4 walls and a screen. That immediate change created an unfathomable amount of new content, new experiences, and new products. There was already so much white noise before, now that has exponentially increased. It’s crucial to find ways to stand out from the crowd and connect to the right people. I fully believe Keywee’s platform is a powerful tool to cut through that white noise.

Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. If something scares you, don’t avoid it, lean into it. This is something I’ve really started practicing lately, and it’s 100% the result of what I’ve learned from Yaniv Makover, Keywee’s CEO. When I was starting to build a plan for marketing our platform I would object to some of his ideas, not because there was a true reason to object, but because I was afraid to tackle certain challenges because they were unknowns” He told me to make a list of what the marketing team needs, and if any of those things scare me because I don’t know enough about them, to state it plainly. We need to do X, Y, and Z. What’s the priority of each of them, and how scary is it to do them? The second I started acknowledging the fear, it stopped being frightening. Now, I look back at my career before Keywee and clearly see places where I fell short not because I was incapable, but because I was avoiding things that scared me.
  2. You’re getting paid to have an opinion. It’s really easy to get complacent and agree with people because that’s the path of least resistance. Going with the flow is always easier than disagreeing. Launching a new product is an incredibly high-pressure situation. Because of that, it can be easy to sit back and agree with people just to avoid confrontation. A few months ago I was finding myself at odds with some of the strategies the company was testing. But on the other hand, I wasn’t actually saying anything about it. It took a couple of heated conversations for me to realize that I wasn’t expressing my concern properly and openly. I sat down with a colleague and he reminded me that I wasn’t hired to agree with everyone. I was hired to have an opinion. They could have hired someone with a fraction of my experience to smile and nod along. They hired me because my experience has given me strong opinions. That’s a good thing, not a bad thing.
  3. Trying 100 things and failing at all of them is better than not trying. Bringing a new product to market takes a lot of trial and error. At the end of the day, no one has actually done the exact thing that we’re doing now. There’s no playbook for bringing this product to market. We’re writing the playbook. So all we can do is try, try, and try some more. We went through a bunch of iterations of our marketing funnel over the course of a few months. Some things worked better than others, and there were plenty of strategies that didn’t work at all. We tested, pivoted, and tested again. Each one of those tests had things we could learn from, and informed everything we did afterward. So our biggest failures were also our most valuable lessons.
  4. You need to own your $#!t. There are always dependencies in everything you do. The product team can’t innovate without feedback from customer success. The sales team can’t sell without the marketing team bringing in leads. But if the sales team isn’t doing well, it can’t just blame the marketing team. If my team isn’t hitting our goals I can’t blame the product team. You never have control over every outcome. It’s always a team effort. But the worst thing you can possibly do is sit back, throw your hands up and pass the buck. When something’s not working, the first thing I ask myself is “how is this your fault, and what can you do to fix it?”. If you need another team to do something different, you need to communicate it and push for it. No one else will do it for you.
  5. The best way to market to people is to empower them with knowledge. At the end of the day, everybody wants to know more, be better, and do better. Great marketing happens when people trust you, and people trust you when you give them value. When you work to empower them to do better. One of my favorite things to do as a marketer is speaking at conferences because I see that feedback immediately. I never sell Keywee’s product when I speak. What I do is share what we’ve learned that will help make marketers be better at their jobs. I want the person to come away from that session feeling like they learned something that they can put into practice whether they buy Keywee or don’t. If a person is taking time out of their day to listen to you, read your blog post, or interact with your website, you need to acknowledge that time, and it’s your responsibility to make sure it’s time well spent. If you respect your audience and give them value, they will respect and value you back.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

One thing that’s happened during the pandemic is that I’ve realized the importance of our immediate vicinity. I always used to be the mom that volunteered to bring napkins and forks to the class potluck. I was “too busy” and dreaded any sort of active participation. This year, seeing the incredibly positive support system our local community has been, I’ve been saying “yes” much more. Raising my hand and volunteering for more. I always dread it before I do it, and then once I do, I’m happy and grateful that I said “yes”. That’s what I’d challenge people to do — when an opportunity to help or contribute comes around, just say “yes”!

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Check out keywee.co for product updates. @gokeywee is a great way to see what the company is up to. I’m more of a linkedin person, my profile there is Inbar (Gilboa) Yagur | LinkedIn.

Thank you so much for the time you spent doing this interview. This was very inspirational, and we wish you continued success.


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