Asa part of our series about “Marketing Strategies From The Top” I had the pleasure of interviewing Shachar Shamir. Shachar Shamir is VP of Marketing at Pico — Get Personal, one of the most well-known SportsTech startups in Israel working with major leagues across the globe. With 10+ years of experience in the industry, Shamir has adapted and embraced every change in the digital marketing sphere and has learned how to utilize his sources to get the best results for his organizations. During his career, he founded and managed a Startup Marketing agency that helped more than 300+ startups with their marketing and growth efforts. Shamir’s marketing approach unites both traditional and digital, creating a truly unique and thoughtful end-product.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
7 years ago I co-founded a Startup Marketing agency that helped more than 300 startups around the world with their growth and marketing efforts. When we first started, we were kind of pioneers in that time for focusing specifically on the marketing efforts of startups. There were a lot of good marketing agencies providing digital marketing solutions, but not many were dedicated to Startups specifically. We wanted to bring the edge and even more value for the Startup community. We did a lot of amazing things and worked with big brands. We essentially were supporting and helping them with their organic and paid growth.
A few years ago, while I was researching and discovering new trends, I learned about the growing industry of SportsTech. As a huge sports fan, and having experience working with startups, I was sure that this industry was one that I wanted to be in and one that I wanted to develop marketing services for. I started to explore, read, and learn about SportsTech startups and the categories and even began writing about it on my own time. In doing so, I met Asaf Nevo, the founder of Pico — Get Personal and we became friends. Time passed and Pico was in the process of starting their own marketing efforts, and at the same time, I was leaving the agency I founded, and it felt like the perfect time to join Pico as the VP of Marketing. Now I was able to bring all of the growth hacks and marketing tricks we did within my agency but now in-house. This was a big challenge and a big opportunity to work in a startup and to work on Sports which I love and think about all day long, besides marketing.
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?
When I was in my first days in the marketing industry, I was doing mainly Search Engine Optimization. As you probably know, one of the main things with it is to have the website well optimized so that search engines will “crawl” it and understand how to categorize it and recognize under which keywords it should be found. To have that happen on WordPress websites, you need to actually approve search engines to actually crawl.
So, after almost two weeks of optimizing and getting everything ready for the website, I discovered that the website isn’t showing up at all on search engine results because I didn’t approve the search engines to crawl. Luckily, that mistake wasn’t a critical mistake but I learned from it to make a checklist for every time I am starting with a new website and need to make sure a few basic things are configured correctly.
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?
Not sure about the tipping point, but every step we took in the first year of the company was small, but always felt like a huge one. I suggest for everyone else that is dealing with marketing to always change and try new things and even if something is working always test and try to change because things are very dynamic and fast when working in marketing. Always test & learn.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
The solution we give is very unique and brings a lot of value to the sports teams we are working with.
For instance, we were able to help an NHL team identify more than 10,000 of their digital fans through an activation on Facebook, which then allowed them to deliver more than 2,500 tickets to qualified, ready-to-buy fans. We use AI technology to create 1:1 conversations with sports teams’ digital fans.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We are working in parallel on a few things. We’re using Social Media to share interesting and relevant information about the growing SportsTech industry. We’re improving Pico’s brand awareness with interesting case studies and sharing our knowledge and experience to help the community with valuable information. We are also putting effort into PR to share what sports teams can achieve when they integrate their social channels with Pico technology.
What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?
Always try and play with new ideas, tactics etc. Always read and research for new solutions. Don’t be afraid or intimated to test and check new platforms. And, as always, if something isn’t working — kill it fast and try something else.
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?
If I need to choose someone it will be Yoav Vilner, whom I co-founded my startup marketing agency with. I think that establishing the company together taught us both a lot and we also learned a lot from each other. The main thing I am taking with me is the content marketing strategy Yoav developed and used, that gave us a lot of quick victories and many happy customers. Content today is something I truly believe can give you real advantage and bring a lot of value to your potential clients and target audience.
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. There are hundreds of memorable marketing campaigns that have become part of the lexicon of our culture. What is your favorite marketing or branding campaign from history? Can you explain why you like that so much?
I really enjoyed the campaign from Ameriquest of “Don’t Judge Too Quickly”. Basically, each ad showcases people getting into sticky situations, by total mistake, and if you were to walk in on that moment, it would look very bad for said person. As an example, a young couple is having a date night in their apartment. They have a pet rabbit. The male partner is getting dinner ready when a jar of marinara sauce breaks on the floor, sauce is now everywhere and he doesn’t want their pet rabbit getting messy. So he has his knife in one hand, the bunny in the other, and red sauce all over the floor. In walks the girlfriend who thinks her boyfriend is trying to kill their rabbit. Don’t judge!
I love the humor and consistency and the story told in each ad. It shows the creativity and thought that went into creating this ad series. Definitely recommend checking it out on YouTube!
If you could break down a very successful campaign into a “blueprint”, what would that blueprint look like? Please share some stories or examples of your ideas.
First, understand the product you are marketing. It is very important to do good research and understand the goals and KPIs of the product. Good research includes a long questionnaire that will give you an idea about the product, who your competitors are and who is your target audience.
Then research the competitors you found in your previous research, try to understand what and how they are doing it, there are many tools for competitors research and you need to find what is best for you to use.
Build a strategy that will include all the marketing channels you think are aligned with your goals and KPIs and where you think your target audience might be. Don’t use a channel just because everyone is talking about and using it, make sure it really fits your needs.
Finally, remember that a successful campaign does more than just display nice copy and imagery to its audience. A successful campaign touches on both digital and traditional with consistent messaging. And most importantly, it draws some kind of emotion or thought-provoking from its audience. Keep it simple and creative and follow the strategy you prepared to check if you are aligned with the goals you are trying to reach.
Companies like Google and Facebook have totally disrupted how companies market over the past 15 years. At the same time, consumers have become more jaded and resistant to anything “salesy”. In your industry, where do you see the future of marketing going?
The sportstech industry is a growing one because we deal with huge sports clubs and organizations. The marketing efforts here are a bit different than the traditional digital marketing trends, as clubs and sports teams already have great engagement from their fans. Therefore the strategies need to be different and in turn, the messaging is different. The messaging within SportsTech marketing needs to be personalized.
It’s important to share a lot of data, information and case studies to better emphasize and highlight your point. It’s important to share valuable information that provides answers to the one reading it, which helps position your brand as a place for people to seek out answers from.
Can you please tell us the 5 things you wish someone told you before you started? Can you please share a story or example for each?
- Automate everything you can to save time — it will let you focus on the other important things.
- Build a good team around you to lead and execute the strategy you built
- A/B Test and try everything — don’t assume that what you are doing is the right way. Try to always have at least 2 ways you are checking at the same time and try to understand what can be done better
- Don’t be afraid to fail — it is better to try and fail than to not follow your dream and not do anything
- Don’t stop learning and adopting new trends and solutions — marketing is changing all the time and new platforms are always popping up, don’t stop to follow the new trends, read about it and test everything possible. Kill it fast if it doesn’t work.
Can you share a few examples of marketing tools or marketing technology that you think can dramatically empower small business owners to become more effective marketers?
BuzzSumo — to measure what type of content is performing well on which platforms and to find new interesting content relevant for your business/audience
Google Data Studio — to create dashboards that help analyze and understand what you’re doing and if it’s working
SEMRush — to check paid campaigns
Google Analytics — very important to set up correctly and follow as the data being collected gives a lot of valuable information and you can learn and optimize your strategy according to the results. You can also measure what pages users are going to the most and optimize the page to help deliver the results you want.
What books, podcasts, documentaries or other resources do you use to sharpen your marketing skills?
I don’t have any specific resource I am only reading from, but I find a lot of information on various websites like Search Engine Land, TechCrunch, The Next Web, Social Media Examiner and content people are sharing on LinkedIn. I like Guy Raz’s “How I Built This” Podcast. I really like to listen to other Entrepreneurs on how they started their business and the mistakes they made along the way yet overcame.
But if I need to recommend the number one resource it will be you. Self-learn, test and use your creative brain to come up with new ideas and new marketing solutions. This is what marketing is all about, doing different things that no one else has done before.
Who is your hero? Can you explain or share a story about why that person resonates with you?
While not exactly a traditional answer, my “hero” are actually “heroes” as I really admire Entrepreneurs for taking huge plunges and steps into following and achieving their dreams. Launching a startup and a business isn’t easy and there’s a huge chance and risk that it will fail, so people that have founded a new startup are people to admire and to follow and to even get inspiration from.
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.
I believe football connects different people with different beliefs simply because they support the same team and celebrate together the same victories. With football, you can meet and get to know different people and find out they are not as bad as you thought and from that there is a chance to open the mind and the heart of those people to bring more tolerance, empathy and love to each other.
How can our readers follow you online? Twitter / LinkedIn / Instagram / FB
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.