We have some awesome portfolio companies here at Viola Group. Some are very promising young startups that are steadily gaining momentum while others have already amassed millions of users, but no matter what stage of the lifecycle they’re in, one thing is common to all of them: There’s always a new challenge to overcome.

So for the benefit of our Viola Notes readers, I asked the awesome marketers at some of our coolest startups what their marketing challenges are and how they overcome them. I also asked them what their favorite marketing tools are at the moment and whether they’ve been inspired by any interesting examples of content marketing recently. Enjoy!

Click on a marketer’s name to jump straight to their entry:

Lori Bush Shepard

VP Corporate Marketing Clarizen

Efrat Ravid


Pamela Becker

VP Communications ironSource

Nili Goldberg


Ronen Artman

VP Marketing

Shachar Radin-Shomrat


Jonny Steel

VP Marketing

Nesya Gilad

Marketing Director PlayBuzz

Rachel Eisenhauer Marketing Director SundaySky

Vivek Wagle, Senior Director of Brand & Community, Tapingo

Uria Fiano

VP Marketing

Sagit Drory

VP Marketing

Hila Shitrit Nissim

VP Marketing
Viola Group

Noya Lizor

Director of Content
Viola Group

Check out the mega-summary of all the marketers’ favorite tools

Lori Bosh Shepard

Lori Bush Shepard, VP Corporate Marketing, Clarizen

What is Clarizen?
Clarizen uniquely combines true social collaboration with powerful project management to align your team and drive your ideas to execution. Fast to deploy and easy to use, Clarizen harnesses the power of the cloud and empowers high-performance teams by connecting conversations, tasks and projects in a single solution.

What are your main marketing challenges and how do you address them?

Like many companies, the biggest marketing challenge I’m dealing with now is content creation for various parts of the funnel.  The trick is to repurpose everything you create – nothing should be “one and done”.

An especially rich source is any user event you host.  We just held our first Clarizen@Work user conference in San Francisco, which had a 93% satisfaction rate, so we knew the content was solid.  We’re now taking all of the presentations and turning them into as many as 15 content pieces each – from case studies to blogs to white papers to social media posts.  The bulk of the work went into the initial presentations, and we’ll eventually have close to 150 assets to further our marketing efforts.

Clarizen@Work 2015 user conference in San Francisco. Click here to watch Founder & CEO Avinoam Nowogrodski’s keynote video.

Favorite marketing tools at the moment:

Influitive is a customer advocacy tool that has a lot of potential for SaaS companies.  User engagement and adoption is life-and-death, so this is a great way to use gamification to get customers to try out new features, sign up for events and webinars, read blog posts and more.  We tied it to our user conference and saw cross-benefit between the programs – in fact, I spoke about it at their recent conference.

I also have to say Clarizen itself is a huge asset to our team (forgive the plug, but I really mean it – this was the first product I’ve launched in my career that I couldn’t wait to have come out because I wanted it for me!).  We collaborate informally with our internal colleagues and our external PR and event agencies, share and approve documents and manage plans for major events and global initiatives.

It’s been a game-changer for our productivity – no more digging in email for the latest version of something, because it’s all in Clarizen.

Efrat Ravid, CMO, ClickTale

What is ClickTale?

ClickTale is the pioneer of enterprise Digital Customer Experience (DCX) Management. It enables businesses to maximize engagement and revenue by optimizing visitor interactions with websites on desktop, tablet or mobile devices. Our ready-to-use SaaS solution integrates effortlessly with and adds powerful new insights and visualizations to traditional Web Analytics, A/B Testing and Voice-of-Customer tools.

What are your main marketing challenges and how do you address them?

One of our marketing challenges is eliciting testimonials. We serve some of the largest consumer brands in the world, and we want our prospects to know about our successes with these are mega-clients, but big brands don’t always like to speak out about their vendors.

We’ve learned that friends help friends, and colleagues help colleagues, so we actively nurture personal relationships within the huge organizations we serve.

We engage our clients face-to-face as frequently as possible and make sure we send the right people for the right job. For example, if we’re developing a relationship with a marketing organization, we send marketers to meet them. This way, when we need something from our clients, someone on our team can pick up a phone (or get on a plane) and reach the right person, who is often quite happy to help his friend.

Another one of our challenges – which is common to many companies – is embracing failure. People crave success and reward – it’s just human nature. But success always comes on the heels of failure. One of the key challenges I’ve faced – as funny as it sounds – is to encourage my team to embrace failure.

To maintain my team’s excellence, I make a point of encouraging bold ideas and never punishing failure.

We don’t want to be like everyone else, we want to try new things that haven’t been done yet, so if we don’t succeed the first time – or only partially succeed – we will succeed the next. For example, we tried a new type of approach for a recent targeted campaign via LinkedIn, which fell flat. So we did a follow-up campaign and promoted to a whole new domain, and it worked brilliantly. Without that initial failure, we wouldn’t have been driven to try something new and wouldn’t have enjoyed the success that followed.

ClickTale® Converting Behavior to Business (Explainer Video)

Favorite marketing tools at the moment:

We use Marketo for marketing automation, but I have a love-hate relationship with this tool. It’s a vital platform to manage communication with people in our database and even more importantly, it helps us manage our funnel from lead-gen to customer nurturing, but sometimes it takes too long to configure, which is ironic because it’s supposed to simplify the marketing automation process.

I know this sounds self-serving, but I love using ClickTale. It’s truly addictive to watch exactly what customers and prospects are doing on our site: the progress of their journeys, what was easy for them to accomplish, and what was frustrating.

Favorite examples of marketing/content marketing by others:
My favorite content is from Tough Mudder. They are doing some amazing marketing, and producing the type of content that truly moves people to action. They convince people to get off their sofas, leave their daily routines, and do the craziest things. Here’s a great example of a “get-motivated” movie which explains why normal people would take on such a crazy challenge.

Favorite ‘go to’ websites/blogs for marketing resources/news:

Pamela Becker, VP Communications, ironSource

What is ironSource?
ironSource is a global technology powerhouse connecting users and apps across devices and platforms. Powering over 7 million successful installs a day across all major geos, ironSource leverages advanced segmentation and targeting algorithms to provide the right content to the right people at the right time.

What are your main marketing challenges and how do you address them?

At ironSource, I would say that our biggest marketing challenge is focus. ironSource is a global company with a number of products and platforms for multiple markets so it’s a major challenge to build a unified brand and to communicate clear and compelling messages when you have so many products and target audiences.

So to deal with this challenge, we try to focus on the result instead of the solution. When talking about ironSource’s overall offering, we don’t necessarily refer to each platform or product (which can be confusing), but rather show where and when they “touch” the user. This is demonstrated in the image below which shows the various touch-points that we use to connect apps and people, such as browsing a social network or installing a desktop app.

ironSource engagement touch-points (click on the image to enlarge)

Of course, we often need to focus on a particular platform for a specific audience, and in these cases, the curse is also the cure: Because we have so many “arms,” we can reach wider relevant audiences. For example, while our offering encompasses all devices, marketing our mobile SDK takes us to mobile-focused conferences where we speak with audiences that may be interested in just our mobile platform (for now!). When talking about a single platform, we deliver its messages in a way that also strengthens the overall ironSource brand.

Favorite marketing tools at the moment:

Mention: This is a new favorite that helps us monitor online and social media mentions of our brands in all our relevant languages.

LinkedIn Publisher: We’re a little bit in love with this one at the moment. Technology companies are only as good as their employees. We have some amazing people at ironSource, and amazing people tend to be connected with other amazing people. LinkedIn Publisher is a great platform for us to deliver high quality content and demonstrate to our B2B audiences thought leadership amongst our team.

SlideShare: We find SlideShare to be an effective tool to support our SEO efforts. It’s easy to repackage good quality posts into good quality presentations, and SlideShare content performs well in Google search engine results.

Favorite examples of marketing/content marketing by somebody else:
I don’t have a favorite content marketing example. Instead, I look at successful content marketing bloggers – such as the famous Neil Patel who spoke to the V+ CMO Forum recently – and see what they are doing. This can be more instructive than what they are saying. For example, how long are his posts? How many images? Does he end with a question for comments or other call-to-action?

With that in mind, I am impressed by Daniel Glickman’s CMO Confessions blog post “Turning your startup’s blog into a traffic bomb”.  It has all the right elements: The information is useful, the post is easy to share, it reviews someone else’s talk from an event that Daniel manages, it includes plenty of images and an eMaze presentation (Daniel works at eMaze). So in one SEO & social media-optimized blog post, he manages to effectively promote his own blog, his guest speaker, his event series and his company. That’s a home run.

Favorite ‘go to’ websites/blogs for marketing resources/news.
My “go to” resources tend to be people like @jaybaer and @randfish rather than publications. They generally curate the best content. I also check my Twitter lists when looking for inspiration on a particular topic such as social media, SEO or content marketing, and regularly peek at Adage to check out the latest great creative.

Nili Goldberg, CMO, Kampyle

What is Kampyle?

Kampyle is one of the leading Voice of Customer (VOC) platforms in the market today. It offers a customer feedback solution whose simple yet powerful platform makes it easy for businesses to implement customer feedback across all touch points – web, mobile, point of sale.

What are your main marketing challenges and how do you address them?

One of our main marketing challenges is around brand positioning. Our goal is to be known as THE ‘go to’ vendor for brands when they want to listen to their customers, understand them, and then act on the insights to generate real business value (Kampyle provides tools that help brands do exactly that).

Our marketing team is “lean and mean” and just like all marketers we’re always on the hunt for cools hacks to help us achieve our goals, so when we find something that works really well, we use the “apply, rinse, repeat” methodology, because the more our “marketing machine” is running smoothly, the more our minds are free to get creative with new marketing initiatives.

Our method is to always reverse engineer our thinking process:
1) Map out our customer persona’s journey into 3 simple phases: Awareness, intent and consideration.
2) Pinpoint the phase that’s most relevant to Kampyle’s lead generation stage.
3) Define the right content piece to suit this phase: What questions and tasks is our customer facing? How can we simplify their life?
4) Double check: Would we personally spend the time to read this paper or implement this tool?
5) Consider the medium and distribution method in order to tailor your message to each platform’s uniqueness and its audience’s typical behavior.

One of our latest activities was a Voice of Customer launch kit which included work documents, briefs and cheat-sheets. The kit was distributed as a whole and its individual components were also distributed as stand-alone pieces, and it was a great success for us especially considering that we were able to keep our cost per lead low by working with relevant LinkedIn groups and social media networks.

Screens from Kampyle’s Essential Customer Experience Toolkit

Favorite marketing tools at the moment:
Typeform – Allows you to build beautiful forms.
Datorama – Marketing Analytics tool that allows you to collect and analyze data in order to get actionable insights. It’s one of my favorite, most impressive startups.
Unbounce – Allows you to build, publish & A/B Test landing pages. It’s easy to edit and use and has lots of good templates to save you lots of time.
KISSmetrics – Allows you to track, analyze and optimize your digital marketing performance. Also helps to ace SEO.
Kampyle – A simple product that every customer-facing site needs, built by a company that understands the psychology of marketing and helps brands hear their customers “voice” in order to improve their business.  That’s why I joined the team

Ronen Artman, VP Marketing, LiveU

What is LiveU?

LiveU is the pioneer and leader in IP-based live video services and broadcast solutions for acquisition, management and distribution over multiple cellular networks. LiveU’s portable transmission devices are used by the world’s top broadcasters, news agencies, and sports organizations, such as AP, BBC News, NBC, the NFL and Sky News.

What are your main marketing challenges and how do you address them?
Our main ongoing challenge is to generate momentum and excitement around LiveU and to solidify our position as the leader in the cellular bonding space.

We’ve found that the best way to market our technology is to promote LiveU in action, covering the world’s top news and sports events and to show good practices and different uses of LiveU units (e.g. behind the scenes reporting, interviews with the players, press conferences, vox pops with the crowd etc.).

Take the FIFA World Cup 2014™ as an example. With so much “noise” around the games, we needed to use a multi-pronged marketing effort to generate buzz around LiveU and strengthen our position.

Here are the top SIX marketing tactics which worked for us:

Cool photos: We wanted to leverage the power of visual content so we used photos everywhere we could, especially on Facebook, Instagram, blogs, PR, and news bulletins, and we got “everyone” involved in this effort (our tech team, partners and customers all took photos before and during the games). TIP – If photos are play a crucial role in your marketing efforts, consider sending your own photographer with a good camera.

Video Clips: We used video clips (like this one) for promotion in the run up to the games and after the event itself, posting them on social media, blogs, and linking them to our press releases, articles, customer mailings etc.

This clip (above), for example not only showcases the atmosphere at the World Cup in Brazil but also demonstrates LiveU’s capabilities at the same time.

Photo Competition with prizes: In an effort to engage with our customers on social media, we launched a photography competition showing the LiveU units being used to cover the games. It was great seeing the entries, which really captured the atmosphere in Brazil.

Infographics: Everyone loves statistics, and infographics are super popular so we produced some every week showing the growth in LiveU usage, and then a final version with key data, which was tweeted, posted, and used in our PR and mailings. The data backed up the extent of LiveU’s deployment.

PR: With pre and post-event press releases, interviews, feature articles and a case study, PR played a central role in our coverage. The World Cup was also used as a basis for subsequent speaking opportunities, for example Sports Video Group, Streaming Media and International Sports Convention.

Winners of our FIFA World Cup 2014™ Photo Contest + Infographic showing LiveU usage during the World Cup

Favorite marketing tools at the moment:
Marketo for website promotion, remarketing campaigns, pop-ups etc.
CampaignMonitor for our email marketing campaigns. We use it send targeted emails to our customers to promote products and generate sales with advanced reporting. Targeted emails, including monthly newsletters, are one of the most important channels for our business.
LuckyOrange for real-time web analytics.

Favorite ‘go to’ websites/blogs for marketing resources/news:
Fast Company
Industry magazine dailies and newsletters e.g. Streaming Media, TV Technology, TV NewsCheck

Shachar Radin-Shomrat, CMO, myThings

What is myThings?
myThings is a global leader in programmatic ad solutions. Running personalized retargeting campaigns on desktop, mobile and Facebook, the company personalizes over 5 billion impressions a month for the largest e-commerce brands in 30 markets including Adidas, Walmart, ToysRUs, Very.co.uk, Littlewoods, Zalando, Orange, Best Buy, and Microsoft.

What are your main marketing challenges and how do you address them?
Our main marketing challenge is twofold: First, how to reach our niche audience (advertising decision makers in the world’s top e-commerce brands), and once we have their attention, how do we stand out so that they see us as the obvious vendor for them to work with.

How we deal with it:

1) We leverage massive amounts of data at our disposal to produce a variety of marketing collateral. As a global big data company, we have access to huge amounts of retail data and we continuously analyze this data to extract marketing insights and then package them for PR purposes. For example, on the day after the world cup finals, we distributed an infographic called The World Cup of Online Shopping, examining how winning or losing a World Cup match affected online shopping behavior in each country. The result was an original and creative infographic that was easy for journalists to embed in their articles and it led to exposure in a number of top publications, including Forbes magazine.

The World Cup of Online Shopping – Infographic teaser

2) Building mutually beneficial relationships with strategic partners to boost our brand exposure. In the early days, we would work very closely with the marketing departments of our channel partners (ecommerce platforms, agencies and affiliate networks) in order to build relationships that led to guest speaking opportunities at their events, invitations to write guest posts in their blogs, and opportunities to create joint case studies – all of which helped gain exposure in our target market.

3) Sponsoring events. We’ve discovered that in some cases, it’s just as effective to sponsor an event as it is to have a booth. Once we arrived at this conclusion, we were able to significantly increase our exposure for a fraction of the cost, plus it helped to position our brand appropriately in the advertising space in which we operate. Now that we are a mature company, we focus mainly on lead generation events in which we secure guaranteed meetings with decision makers.

4) Retargeting. I strongly believe that no marketing plan nowadays is complete without it. After investing so much in generating traffic to your content and site, increasing the odds of conversion for those hard-earned visitors is an essential marketing tactic.

Screenshots from the myThings website + examples of event sponsorships

Favorite marketing tools at the moment:
We’re in the early stages of working with Act On (a marketing automation tool) to help with our lead nurturing efforts.
For impactful content distribution, one of my favorite tools is Roojoom, a platform that generates guided content journeys. Roojooms are used by myThings for both marketing and sales purposes and can be tied in with our retargeting activities for maximum ROI.
daPulse is a great internal team management and communication platform, enabling both structured and unstructured knowledge sharing. This has increased transparency and efficiency considerably in our global team, which is spread over 11 markets.
And it goes without saying that myThings is, of course, our favorite online retargeting tool!

Favorite ‘go to’ websites/blogs for marketing resources/news:
Adexchanger and Exchangewire are the “Financial Times” of the programmatic ad industry, which myThings is a part of, so every morning begins with catching up on their latest news. However, I also follow broader marketing and advertising publications such as AdAge, Media Post and AdWeek/RetailWeek, among several others.

Jonny Steel, VP Marketing, Payoneer

What is Payoneer?
Payoneer empowers global commerce by connecting businesses, professionals, countries and currencies with its innovative cross-border payments platform. With Payoneer’s fast, flexible, secure and low-cost solutions, businesses and professionals in both developed and emerging markets can now pay and get paid globally as easily as they do locally.

What are your main marketing challenges and how do you address them?

One major challenge we face is breaking into new global markets. How we deal with it:

First, we research the market thoroughly by hiring a community manager who speaks the language, and have them reach out to any existing customers and industry influencers to learn about the unique challenges they face.

Second, we build a marketing plan using our proven techniques in other similar markets, but always localized to the new country (localization means translating as well as adapting to nuances of the place).

Third, we execute and scale. Over the past year we have successfully achieved this kind of growth in markets such as Korea and Vietnam and are now doing the same in India.

Another one of our challenges is converting new users into active customers. Our sign-up flow is a form of freemium. It’s free to sign up to Payoneer and new customers only pay once they start getting value. Through multiple acquisition channels we have 100,000+ signups per month so the next challenge is getting these guys active.

How we deal with it:
Our approach is to blend together content marketing to gain trust with more aggressive messaging and offers. We send these new customers a variety of emails that explain exactly how to get started, including a dynamic Roojoom explanation and an invite to a monthly new customer webinar in their language.

Payoneer blog & Onboarding roojoom

Our data shows that timing is everything so we make our biggest effort in the first few days and weeks.

Favorite marketing tools at the moment:

Our company blog – Around 8 months ago we began the mammoth project of both redesigning our company blog and refreshing the content strategy. With content now in seven languages and over a million monthly sessions it has become a top tool for engaging with our global audience – both existing and potential customers. We’re now fine-tuning the funnel to convert visitors into customers but having been recognized by Hubspot as a “Cool Company Blog Everyone Will Enjoy Reading”, we now have a great platform to grow our brand.

Trendemon – We recently started monitoring exit intent using Trendemon. Tracking the movement of the mouse, the moment that a visitor has shown that they are heading for the ‘x’, we trigger a message with one final offer either to subscribe, download something or sign up.

Falcon Social – With millions of customers worldwide and a fast growing community team, we needed a tool to collect all the comments and feedback into one area and make sure we’re engaging, not missing any questions or important feedback. Initially we posted directly on each of the social networks, and manually searched them to find what was being said about the company. Falcon Social helps us to manage our ‘push and a pull’ social strategy so that we can get back to our fans quickly, while also putting quality content out there for audiences to discover.

I also like Brandwatch (for social media listening), Roojoom (a presentation/content marketing tool), Unbounce (to easy build, publish and test landing pages) and Visual Website Optimizer (for A/B Testing).

Favorite examples of marketing/content marketing by somebody else:
It’s no secret that Hubspot are probably the best in the business for content marketing. One particular example where I feel they really nailed it was their recent report comparing Meerkat and Periscope. The timing of its release was perfect – there was already loads of buzz in the media about these new tools and the battle taking place between them, with Twitter at the center of the story. Marketers are always looking to use the latest technologies but need guidance on how best to use them. Releasing content that brings real value at the right time is a true art, and Hubspot got it right again.

Nesya Gilad, Marketing Director, PlayBuzz

What is PlayBuzz?
Playbuzz enables publishers, bloggers and brands to engage users, increase web traffic and reach an audience of millions via free authoring and embedding of Playful Content.

What are your main marketing challenges and how do you address them?
One of our biggest challenges (and a happy one at that!) is handling the explosive growth we’ve seen, while also educating the market and helping publishers, brands, marketers and others succeed by empowering them with the right tools and thought leadership so they can thrive in the social publishing era.

How we deal with it:

Highlight Case Studies & Success Stories (B2B): We use our blog and our B2B social channels to showcase examples of success stories from publishers who have made a real impact and we highlight actionable takeaways from each example.

Playbuzz: A Case Study in Engagement by Fractl – February 2015

Speak at relevant events (B2B): We also present at major industry conferences and use other avenues for thought leadership in the digital publishing and marketing space.

Tweeting about our team speaking at major industry conferences

Press coverage: Thankfully, the success we’ve had as a platform that drives results has earned us some great press coverage, like this recent Digiday piece for example, which helps a lot too!

Growing our community of citizen creators (B2C): Among our millions of end users, we have tens of thousands of users who are actively publishing amazing content that truly forms the backbone of the PlayBuzz ecosystem. It’s super important for us to encourage engagement with and between these people, to create an awesome, thriving culture around our B2C channels.

Favorite marketing tools at the moment:
For email marketing, we’ve been using MailChimp, which we’ve integrated nicely into our WordPress-powered corporate sites.
For social media management, we like the Oktopost scheduler and conversion tracking tools
We use Mention to monitor the conversation about us around the web
We use NewsWhip to track the social impact of our consumer-facing content.
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