Take 5: Yosi Heber| May 3, 2017
Yosi Heber spent over 15 years in top-level positions with titles like executive vice president chief marketing officer and senior executive at Kraft and Dannon where he invented the $900 million kids’ yogurt category. The founder and president of Oxford Hill Partners in Oak Park Michigan where his clients include Procter & Gamble Hyundai Capital and Nestle we sit down to learn his advice on successful marketing.
Embrace Your Inner Child
Lest you think that embracing your inner child would detract from your professionalism you should note that it is this inner child whom Yosi credits with one of his main career accomplishments — inventing the near-billion-dollar industry that is kids’ yogurt. Yosi left Kraft (where “the best part of working… was choosing which prize got to go in the cereal box”) and moved literally down the block to Dannon where he served as marketing director. It was this “kid at heart” who invented what is now a $900 million market — the kids’ yogurt segment.
“Back in the 1990s yogurt was just yogurt ” says Yosi. “We thought we could segment it.”
The process from there was complex: working with companies in France and Sweden to create a sweeter culture coming up with pricing strategies and introducing this brand-new segment to the market. They came up with Sprinkles and Danimals — both of which catapulted Dannon to even greater levels of success and made Dannon’s light yogurt the number one best-selling yogurt on the market.
The process may have been complicated but the secret to its success was simple: In order to prevail your idea needs to truly tap into your consumers’ needs. By understanding the need for a yogurt that kids and mothers alike would adore Yosi was able to create a revolutionary product that changed the landscape of the industry in a significant way.
Ask yourself: Have I incorporated all relevant technologies into my marketing strategy?
Or maybe you’re better off asking your kids. We won’t tell.
Just don’t bring them to board meetings.
“The Big Four”
Yosi identifies what he calls “The Big Four” — the four primary long term trends in marketing.
Mobile: You know how teenagers are always on their phones? Turns out they are quite literally always on their phones. Ninety percent of millennials say they are never without their phones even sleeping next to them at night so as to avoid even a moment’s separation. Mobile content accounts for 60% of digital media the average person checks his phone at least 200 times per day and 35% of e-commerce takes place through mobile interactions. To accommodate this new reality you need to ensure that you provide a welcoming mobile experience to your consumer.
Video: I really hope you remember this article. But the fact is you’d remember it five times better if it were a video. Videos on a landing page increase conversion rates by 85% and double your shopping cart.
Social Media: Social media is becoming increasingly important to the overall success of your company and “pay to play” micro-targeted posts are a huge part of that. Yosi elaborates that “Social media is tending to move from free… to ‘pay-to-play’ such as boosted posts or ads.” This form of marketing is cost effective and overall just plain effective.
Content: Content marketing is the name of the game. Branded content is relevant content generated by a company that is not overtly sales-y but serves to establish the company as a leader in its industry. It therefore boosts sales tremendously albeit indirectly.
Virtual reality’s not just good for marketing; it has real-life applications as well. Virtual reality has been adopted by the military for training purposes. It allows soldiers to properly prepare themselves for any situation that may come their way by creating realistic circumstances for them to navigate. Virtual reality’s also been proven useful in treatment for PTSD when used as a sort of exposure therapy.
Is Print Media Dead?
First of all by virtue of the fact that you’re reading this article now we’d venture to guess it’s probably not.
Flatteringly Yosi Heber agrees. “Despite all the hype about digital marketing… marketers still need to focus on the core fundamentals of marketing ” he maintains.
Yosi now works as a consultant to a number of individual companies and oversees their marketing strategies. He launched his consulting services when he realized that there was a widening gap between traditional marketers and millennial marketers. Old-school practitioners are intimately familiar with the ins and outs of developing a marketing strategy but not as familiar with the digital components of marketing. Millennials intuitively speak the language of social media and digital marketing but are not as familiar with the strategic side of things.
“Expect that your traditional marketing plan will be at least 50% digitized ” Yosi advises and “integrate large doses of the latest and greatest media techniques.”
Is print marketing dead? The core principles of marketing are still relevant but new technologies need to be integrated. “What’s New?” Your computer knows where you are what you’re interested in and how to find you. More specifically so do ads. Say you’re redoing your house. You’ll begin to notice online ads for construction companies brand-new flooring and maybe even some fresh paint options appear.
As Yosi says “Marketing is all about… location location location.”
Boosted posts on social media — highly targeted sponsored posts that will appear on your newsfeed based on your interests buying patterns and geographical location — are a primary source of advertising now. Yosi predicts that the prevalence of these targeted posts will only continue to grow together with proximity marketing.
Proximity marketing means this: If you’re at the grocery store expect a pop-up ad on your phone to direct you to the snack aisle where you’ll find your favorite Lays chips or Mike & Ikes on sale. Or while walking your dog at the pet park you may get a friendly reminder from your local pet food supplier to stock up on dinner for Spot.
Yosi predicts that the “next big thing” to transform marketing will be virtual reality. Virtual reality helps marketers to “tell your brand’s story from a 360 degree perspective ” Yosi explains. All you have to do is put on a special pair of glasses called an Oculus Rift and — Boom! You’re transported. Imagine taking a car out for a test drive before purchasing it — from the comfort of your own living room. Volvo did just that by introducing a new model with a low-cost virtual experience that allowed consumers to feel as if they were driving the car. Not surprisingly it sold out.
And if I’m Not a Fortune 500 Company?
Yosi Heber spent over 20 years working for Fortune 500 companies working with big ideas and frankly big money. But how about smaller companies?
“There’s something very special about igniting the spark in a small company and watching it thrive” Yosi says. For example he just recently helped a $17 million company grow to become a $75 million company and then sell for $200 million.
While that’s mind-blowing in its own right we’re willing to consider the possibility that your company may not be worth $17 million just yet. For that Yosi recommends harnessing the power of the peer review.
“After all is said and done roughly 15% of people trust ads. Ninety percent of people trust peer reviews ” Yosi says. Basically people trust their friends much more than they do marketers.
Creating brand ambassadors out of satisfied customers or paying influencers on social media are a couple of ways to harness the power of peer review and promote a positive word-of-mouth reputation. From a long-term perspective influencers and brand advocates can transform a business when leveraged properly.
Cross-selling is another great way to grow business. Amazon is great at this. You know how when you order a book online they recommend other books you may like? Or how you start off ordering a skirt and end up getting the perfect shoes to go with? Cross-selling allows you to sell double the products at no additional cost. (Originally featured in Mishpacha Issue 658)
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