Itamar Benedy

MarTech Influencer Interview With Itamar Benedy, CEO at Anzu.io

Hello Marketers! In today’s interview, I had the opportunity to speak with Itamar Benedy, the CEO of Anzu.io.

Itamar Benedy formerly served as the CEO of Glispa, a Berlin-based advertising firm with €100M in annual revenues, a team of 250 people, and 9 international offices, and as VP Marketing at Sport.com and Yoga.com. In 2016, he was nominated for Forbes Israel 30 under 30.

In the following martech interview, he shares with us his journey and knowledge about marketing and technology.

UB-png-only

Itamar Benedy, How Did You Become Passionate About Marketing and Technology? What Made You Choose This Profession?

I was always interested in technology. With a background in computer science, I saw the unlimited possibilities when the power of technology and marketing are combined. The AdTech industry was already growing rapidly when I joined the fold as a young professional, and I never looked back. My goal was, and remains, to build products and launch platforms that would chart the future of digital advertising.

UB-png-only

As a CEO in The Tech Industry, What Unique Challenges and Opportunities Did You Find in Your Journey? Who Mentored You in This Role?

My co-founders and I created Anzu in order to bring a scalable, solid technology that would truly impact the trajectory of digital advertising in the most positive way. It’s been a challenge to bring these two audiences together under one platform because they speak different languages and have different goals and priorities. It’s also required a lot of hard work to find the right people to join our team. We need our employees to be passionate, creative, and driven–and to really understand what we are looking to accomplish. I’m now fortunate to work with the best of the best, men and women who came to Anzu from diverse industries with one goal: make advertising in games better.

Another challenge is market education. For advertisers, we’ve needed to break down old, stale perceptions of who the gamers are (hint: they are no longer antisocial teens in basements). Gamers hold a massive purchasing power that brands can’t afford to miss out on. For game developers, we’ve had to show them how Anzu’s simple-to-integrate technology can allow them to employ immersive in-game ads that bring completely new streams of revenue without disrupting the gameplay. In fact, Anzu ads enhance the game by making it more realistic. I’d be lying if I said we haven’t faced numerous challenges along the way, but we wouldn’t change a thing. Anzu is on a mission, one that our founders, team, and partners all rally behind!

I was part of the Teddy Sagi Group for a long time and one of the most influential mentors I can think of is the business leader and Israeli billionaire Mr. Sagi! It was less about formal mentorship and more about learning from the experience I got. Most importantly, I got hands-on opportunities to engage with different types of businesses, take decisions, act fast, and see him in action. By witnessing his versatile and deep experience in day-to-day situations, I was able to learn so much including, perhaps most importantly, how to drive a vision forward.

UB-png-only

What Are Your Predictions for MarTech in 2020?

Despite the major disruptions the coronavirus outbreak has caused for the world economy, I believe MarTech will emerge stronger than ever. People are realizing the true power–and potential–of digital as people are now working from home and spending a lot more time on their devices. For example, U.S. video game usage during peak hours has gone up 75% since the quarantine first went into effect, and NBA professionals are even switching to gaming to interact with their fans during the season’s suspension. The Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks recently took their long-awaited match in-game!

The industry is also being pushed to undergo somewhat of a metamorphosis due to new privacy regulations. Users are beginning to speak out: they don’t like intrusive advertising. Data privacy-first advertising with more authentic advertising experiences will likely be adopted across the MarTech world. This also means the industry will see a large-scale consolidation as it begins to move towards digital ad performance that focuses more on quality over quantity.

Measuring campaign effectiveness is becoming more and more important (not just performance KPIs). Long-term, brands are looking to generate brand affinity and brand desire rather than just nailing ad performance metrics and short-term campaign ROI. As a call towards greater accountability and transparency, the industry is already seeing more brands shift their digital advertising budgets in-house to take control over their advertising.

Many major companies, like Procter and Gamble, Vodafone, Anheuser-Busch, Clorox, Ally Financial, and others are already using in-house resources to conduct programmatic media buying. I expect to see more and more companies follow suit. As companies shift their overall marketing strategy across channels, programmatic Digital Out of Home (DOOH) will likely take a bigger slice of budgets than ever before.

UB-png-only

Can You Please Explain, How MarTech Companies Are Changing Their Approaches to Lead Generation and Prospecting?

When we talk about lead generation, it’s clear that “omnichannel” is the buzzword of 2020. Customers will flock to the brands that reach them where they hang out–whether that be through blogs, articles, social media, DOOH advertising, OOH advertising, and now, in-game advertising. Advertisers will need to reach their audiences across multiple channels and touchpoints while still adhering to new heightened data privacy standards. I predict that marketers will need to reach their audiences in more relevant places, asking for less data while still fulfilling lead generation goals.

Just like in advertising, Martech is in the process of being consolidated. This consolidation gives more, well-rounded data about specific users. On the other hand, new data regulations and the shift away from third-party cookies will definitely change the way we can prospect and reach out to customers. This means the only data we can rely on is first-party.

Lead generation sources are also shifting. Now, social media and LinkedIn are playing increasingly important roles in bringing in and nurturing new leads. We also have to be increasingly mindful of our audiences. Digital natives require a more sophisticated approach than older generations. They are discerning, and they know that they like and don’t like. That’s why social media and influencers are so successful–people listen to those they trust much more than to blind advertisements popping up all over the place.

UB-png-only

What Startups In the Technology Industry Are You Watching Keenly Right Now?

I’ve always believed that true success means thinking big, and then bigger. I’ve been following the AR space closely, where all kinds of exciting things are happening–normal experiences are being amplified with cutting-edge technologies. One such example is wanna.by, which allows consumers to virtually try on shoes, jewellry, and apparel before buying – a cool thing that makes our lives easier!

Another example I’m sure most people use is Grammarly, a simple browser add-on which transforms your writing through grammar assistance. I love the idea that simple things we all need and use can be enhanced with the power of technology that makes the whole experience easier and more pleasant!

UB-png-only

So, What is Next for You?

We aim to not only survive the coronavirus outbreak, but thrive. Our team is all hands on deck, leveraging all the possibilities this new paradigm offers to the gaming industry. We aim to serve our customers and partners at the highest level while always focusing on the gamers–let them play!

Let’s discuss more about your marketing needs!

Call +1 408-763-5612