Adi Itach, CMO of Sayollo. Photo: David “Doh Doh” Rosen

“I’m relearning everything I thought I knew about Gen Z marketing.”

Marketing must pave the way for a business, says Adi Itach, CMO at Sayollo. She also believes in a holistic, end-to-end approach to marketing, a philosophy she built at Gett Israel and brought with her to Gen Z gaming and commerce startup Sayollo. Itach shares that she thought she knew a lot about Gen Z coming into her new role, but she actually had to re-evaluate and relearn a lot as she got to know the target audience. She explains that the growing process is part of what she loves about her field, however. There is always something new to learn and discover in marketing, and the creativity is also endless. Itach says it can be difficult to create the right environment for his team to be creative, but seeing their ideas and their confidence inspires him.

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You’ve held amazing marketing positions in some of Israel’s most amazing companies. But you were an IDF officer in the paratroopers, and you were one of the first women to do full annual service in a combat unit.

In fact, at the end of this month there is a farewell event and I get my plaque and say goodbye to the IDF for good. It’s been 16 years of madness. I really had fun and learned a lot. And most importantly, I was able to be of service to an amazing group of women and men who have the best intentions at heart and the best commitment to the country.

I bring my innovative approach wherever I go. I try to clear the way for others.

Share your take on marketing with me.

I think my marketing philosophy is actually that marketing is the north star of the business, the prevailing wind or the wind under the wings of the business. He must be 10 steps ahead of everything else. To do good marketing, you have to have a holistic point of view, like a 360 view of everything. You can’t focus on just one niche. This is the approach that I have developed in my career throughout my 10 years of experience.

When you have an end-to-end point of view, you can be very creative. You can be very strategic about how you do your marketing. You can get the best results in the long run. Marketing is a strategy. Marketing is a creative process. Marketing is a fluid thing that goes in and out all the time. And you have to go on and stick to the strategy, and you have to maintain a 360 degree view of that.

How does this translate into reality and practicality? How do you balance the bird’s eye view and the details?

This is the biggest challenge a marketer has. It’s kind of a top-to-bottom trip. The main thing is not to get stuck neither on the bird’s point of view nor on the small details. The secret ingredient is flexibility. It’s like a muscle that you develop that allows you to go up and down that lift and not get stuck.

The main tool that helps me achieve this is to stick to the marketing and business strategy and vision. Once I know where I’m going I’m more able to make better decisions with the little details and for the long haul too.

It’s a delicate balance between the two. It took me a long time to learn how to do this. And I’m still learning. This is what I love about marketing. It is an endless process of creativity.

Adi Itach, Marketing Director of Sayollo.  Photo: David Adi Itach, Marketing Director of Sayollo. Photo: David “Doh Doh” Rosen

How does that translate specifically, for example, when doing B2C and B2B marketing for Gett?

At Gett, we had a saying that “it’s B2B and B2C, but it’s also P2P”, person to person. Maybe the positioning and the message are a little different, but essentially you are talking to people. When you remember it, then the balance between B2C and B2B becomes more tangible and clearer to you. It’s the same target audience in the sense that they’re people and you talk to people. You have to be understandable and you have to resonate with them.

Share with me your transition from a company like Gett to a start-up for Gen Z games. How was that experience?

It’s a decision I made because I felt it was my next step in my professional development. I am a person who always enjoys learning and doing things differently. The reason I chose Sayollo is that they introduce a new market category to the world which is a combination of gaming and trading, where you can buy physical products while playing mobile games.

For me, it was obvious in the sense that it is a huge marketing challenge. And for me the transition wasn’t smooth as I had to learn a lot about Gen Z gaming and marketing. I thought I knew everything I needed to know about Gen Z marketing. . Absolutely not. I’m still learning this target audience as they are our end users.

We just launched an avatar. We tried to decide the name of the avatar internally. We posted it on social media for Gen Z to decide what name they want to give our avatar. Everything I thought I knew about Gen Z marketing I’m relearning, reassessing, and finding it’s a whole different situation.

Marketing is endless because you learn and relearn as you go. You have to stay flexible and you have to stay open-minded. In the few months that I spent in Sayollo, my consciousness has expanded so much. I had to change my mindset and completely steer it in a different direction. This is what I love about marketing because I feel the change inside of me; I feel the change in me.

Where do you find your joy in what you do?

The first thing that comes to mind are my employees in my team. My job is to give them space to be as creative as possible. When they get creative, gain self-confidence and have fun, I have fun too.

I also appreciate the small results, the small reactions from customers on social media to the product. And of course, results. But it all comes from within. If I feel like I’m bringing my A-game and evolving, then it’s my moment of joy.

As you get into these creative projects, where do you get all this inspiration from?

Inspiration comes from within. So I try to tap into my interior creative spaces. I listen to music and I like to go to the beach. I take inspiration from great leaders and great friends who lead their lives the way I want them to.

How I make sure what I’m doing resonates is that I connect directly with my target audience. When I had to learn all about Gen Z marketing, I did Zoom and live discussion groups with Gen Z members. I learned a lot just from sitting down with them. I don’t believe in marketing from 30,000 feet. I need to know my target audience. I also learned a lot about Generation Z Americans and the differences between Israelis and Americans.

I took these common denominators and developed them. When I sat down with them, I thought to myself, “They have no value.” But in fact, they do; they’re just different values. They are very transparent. They are very gender neutral. They believe in equality. They are very diverse. They are very unique in their own way. They are not afraid to be different. It’s very inspiring too.

If you had to think of a few words you would use to describe yourself, what would they be?

Creative, loving and a leader.

Michel Matias.  Photo: courtesy Michel Matias. Photo: courtesy

Michael Matias, Forbes 30 Under 30, is the author of Age is Only an Int: Lessons I Learned as a Young Entrepreneur. He studies artificial intelligence at Stanford University, is a Venture Partner at J-Ventures and was an engineer at Hippo Insurance. Matias previously served as an Officer in Unit 8200. 20MinuteLeaders is a tech entrepreneurship interview series featuring one-on-one interviews with fascinating founders, innovators and thought leaders sharing their backgrounds and experiences.

Editors: Michael Matias, Megan Ryan

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