Meet the women trying to turn Israel into the ‘Marketing Nation’

Meet the women trying to turn Israel into the ‘Marketing Nation’

My new column is live in The Drum:

In 2009, Dan Senor and Saul Singer published Startup Nation, a New York Times bestselling book examining how Israel had grown into a high-tech powerhouse while much of the western world was battling the Great Recession.

Senor, a US foreign policy advisor turned commentator and columnist, and Singer, a former editorial page editor for The Jerusalem Post, detailed how government investment, military service and the Israeli personality together built a new industry in a small country with hostile neighbours and few natural resources.

The phrase ‘Startup Nation’ stuck. Ten years later, four top female marketers here – Sophie Melnik Amitay, Shira Levy Barkan, Efrat Fenigson and Shiri Grosbard – now want to brand Israel as a leader in the global marketing industry as well.

“Two years ago, the four of us were having coffee while comparing global marketing challenges when we all had a ‘A-ha!’ moment,” Fenigson said. “We realised that we had many peers who shared our global marketing challenges and were achieving outstanding marketing successes – and that we should gather them together to share their stories and wisdom.

“Israeli CMOs are usually tech-savvy, data-oriented, very creative, results-driven and are best at building a scalable global marketing operation in a constantly changing environment. Our CMOs excel at creating strong brands that exemplify our conviction that Israel is much more than a ‘Startup Nation’. Israel is also a ‘Marketing Nation’.”

Amitay is head of APAC and EMEA marketing at Outbrain and was vice president of strategy at the Israeli ad agency Yehoshua/TBWA. Barkan is vice president of marketing and monetisation at mobile games company Playtika and was Microsoft’s chief marketing officer for central and eastern Europe.

Fenigson co-produces the Market Shift podcast and was vice president of marketing at Airobotics, a company that uses automated drones to collect aerial data. Grosbard is director of innovation at mobile analytics company AppsFlyer and also co-founded the Israeli digital talent agency Join.

The four co-founded G-CMO (global chief marketing officer), an exclusive community for senior Israeli marketers at enterprise companies, high-tech startups and VC firms. G-CMO aims to position Israel’s top marketing executives as world leaders and create a community to serve as a think tank as well as a networking and career development resource.

The organisation – which will hold its first annual summit tomorrow (11 June) in Tel Aviv – has nearly 60 member companies including Check Point, Taboola, SodaStream, Lemonade, Payoneer, Natural Intelligence, Fiverr and Argus Cyber Security.

Before the event, I interviewed them on the marketing industry’s treatment of women and mothers, the Israeli approach to marcom and the future of the high-tech sector here. Below is a transcript that I have edited for length.

Read the rest in The Drum.

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