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Q&A with Yotam Benami, CMO at Idomoo

30-second summary:

  • Idomoo’s technology takes the standard audio-visual interface and makes it dynamic, enabling companies to use video not only for branding and awareness, but also in a very transactional way.
  • Idomoo built their own GPU-based video rendering engine that renders video at up to 50x real time.
  • The faster rendering speed allows for native personalization, where a unique video is created for each and every viewer in real time, rather than adding personalization as an overlay.
  • Audio-visual content is processed in system one, the fast part of the brain responsible for feelings, intuition and action, while text is processed in system 2 – the slow part of the brain. This is why video is far better positioned than text to drive action.
  • Personalized video enables marketers to combine data and content. Everything in the video can be personalized – text, images, voiceover, video-in-video and even the story itself.
  • Idomoo aims to continue staying at the forefront of video evolution. At the end of the day, they are building an open data-driven video generation platform.

Idomoo is a video personalization platform that merges data and video to create personalized video messages at the per-customer level. Yotam Benami, Idomoo’s Chief Marketing Officer, has over a decade of experience working in the telecommunications, media and entertainment (TME) space.

Benami has been with Idomoo for nearly six years. He sat down with us to answer some in-depth questions about how Idomoo’s technology works, expound on his views of the future of video personalization, and explain why video is so effective at motivating consumers to act.

Q) Can you give us a brief insight into your professional journey and how you became the CMO of Idomoo?

After obtaining my master’s degree, I worked at McKinsey & Co. with a focus on telecommunications, then moved to Warner Bros. where I became VP of Anti-Piracy, expanding my focus from telecommunications to entertainment, but staying within the TME space.

After four years of Warner Bros. I moved to Spain to start working at Telefonica, where I had several Managing Director roles and was responsible for partnerships, open network initiatives and new product launches. When I left Telefonica, I decided to try something completely different and move over to a more agile and dynamic environment, which landed me at Idomoo.

Q) What have been the two biggest challenges for you at Idomoo and how did you deal with them?

I’ve been with Idomoo for almost six years and I’ve seen how the video space has transitioned and specifically how the dynamic and data-driven video spaces have transitioned. Evolving Idomoo’s story, platform and positioning to stay ahead of the evolution of video and to predict what’s coming next and make sure that we’re there before our competitors is probably the toughest challenge.

Q) What advice would you give someone who is going from a bigger company to a smaller, more dynamic company?

Roll up your sleeves. It’s about building your own one-person show and understanding that you need to do a little bit of everything, job descriptions be damned.

Q) Give us a brief introduction to Idomoo? What are the core martech capabilities that you bring to a marketer?

Marketeers spend unquantifiable resources on understanding their customers and figuring out exactly when to engage with them and with what messaging. So imagine the disappointment when all that effort goes to waste because nobody is listening to what the brand has to say. Their perfectly crafted messaging is lost in the noise.

Idomoo is a data-driven video generation platform like no other. Our superior video generation capabilities and low touch platform enable brands to engage with their customers and drive business results using the power of personalized video. Personalized video beats any engagement benchmarks associated with legacy media, as it combines two very powerful tools: Video and personalization. We enable marketeers to be heard by their customers and we drive value from their insights.

Q) How do you stand out in an overly saturated martech space?

At Idomoo, we understand that if you want to engage with customers and move them to action, you need to do it through an audio-visual interface. Our technology takes the standard audio-visual interface and makes it dynamic. This enables companies to use video not only for branding and awareness, but also in a very transactional way.

The real challenge with personalized, real-time video involves rendering very large video files quickly. This is where we differ from other players in the market who use an overlay like HTML5 or Flash to work around the problem of rendering large video files, which takes massive processing power. This workaround allows them to use the same video file and personalize it with text or images that run over it, but entails a series of creative sacrifices.

Idomoo came at the problem from a different angle. We believe that  data-driven video must match the quality of legacy video. We looked at the standard video rendering technology in the market, saw that it hasn’t evolved in decades, and rebuilt our own GPU-based video rendering engine that renders at up to 50x real time. This superior video generation capability enables us to perform what we call native personalization, where the actual video is personalized to each and every viewer  rather than simply adding personalization using some sort of overlay workaround.

Q) We saw your colleague Danny Kalish’s webinar with us, and something he said really stuck with us: “People are inherently lazy and understanding how to leverage their laziness is the key to success.” Can you expand on that for us please?

Being lazy is an evolutionary imperative. We’ve evolved to be lazy in order to preserve energy and survive. There are many examples for this, like the fact that so many people sign up for a gym membership but never use it. It’s ok to be lazy, everybody (sort of) is.

Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel winning researcher, has pinpointed the reason for this human laziness. His book, Thinking Fast and Slow, talks about the two systems in the brain. System One is the fast part of the brain, responsible for feelings, intuition and action. System Two, which is a slow part of the brain, is responsible for analyzing, thinking and considering.

Audio-visual content is processed in System One of the brain, whereas written communications are processed in System Two. So, by definition, video is far better positioned to drive action than other forms of personalized communications. The challenge with video has always been relevancy. If you want to trigger a certain customer action, you can’t use a generic video. That’s why data-driven video, which takes that video content and personalizes it, can be used for all kinds of real-time transactional use cases.

Q) Can you give us a brief insight into Personalized Video and how it can help brands get a one up on their competitors?

Personalized video enables marketers to get their message across and be heard by their customers. A good example of this is a leading financial institution we work with, that engaged their customers using Personalized Video. In order to maximize the impact, they not personalized both the data within each scene as well as the sequence of scenes, i.e. the messaging itself. 

For example, when a new customer opened a checking account, they would be offered investment options if their account balance was above a certain threshold and overdraft protection if it was below the threshold. By doing this, they ensured relevance and effectiveness driving the campaign to amazing results, such as a 9X uplift in customer interactions vs. the campaign without a Personalized Video.sonalize the story.

Q) ‘Personalization’ obviously is one of those buzzwords that get mentioned a lot. What according to you is the most effective form of personalization?

There’s no one-size-fits-all in personalization. The ideal level of personalization is contextual. If you’re inviting people to an event, you may be able to accomplish your goals by simply personalizing for the recipient’s name. But if you want to explain an escrow statement, you’ll probably need to go far deeper and use dozens of dynamic elements.

I would suggest focusing on two things in order to maximize the immediate impact of personalization: Data accessibility and a visual interface. Too often, customer data is stored in separate and not always easily accessible systems. The trick is to start small – choose the data that’s most easily accessible. This will allow you to start getting the value from personalization immediately, and grow from there.

Once the messaging is set and the data obtained, the key success factor is choosing a delivery method that engages the customer. As I explained previously, the way video is processed in the brain makes it the ideal delivery method, and now it can also be used to deliver personalized communications. 

Q) What are your predictions for the martech space in 2020?

I think that what we’re going to see is a simplification in the technology stack, meaning, some consolidation within the stack which we’re already starting to see as well as deeper, more seamless integrations that allow marketers to use various technologies without actually accessing that technology, but through the stack that they’re already used to.

Q) Can you give us an example that best shows how Idomoo benefits its clients?

There several examples that exemplify how our technology benefits clients across multiple verticals.

In finance, our work with Barclays and Chase demonstrates how we’re able to work securely with big financial institutions and that we have all the right answers regarding how, where, and when to keep customer data anonymous and safe.

We’re also working with Fortnite to push the limits of our scale. They have so many gamers, so every campaign with them is massive. This required us to generate an almost unlimited number of videos in real time.

Working with Disney helped us evolve and push the limits of our focus on quality.

Working with adidas leveraged the agility of the Idomoo platform which allowed them to avoid the bottleneck of having to prepare, render, and generate videos of Boston marathon runners within a few hours after the race. Our work with Adidas really highlights the advantages of an open platform and a very agile and painless tool set.

Finally, Google created a portal that allowed SMBs to automatically generate marketing assets and collateral, one of which was personalized video, which used our technology to generate real-time videos based on customer reviews. This highlighted our ability to do video rendering in real time.

Q) Looking ahead, what are your plans for Idomoo going forward?

Idomoo is trying to stay at the forefront of video evolution. At the end of the day, we’re building an open technology platform. We’re starting to see bigger and bigger brands accessing our platform without even talking to us, so that we’re becoming, essentially, the video generation cloud.

I think that the next frontier for us is content personalization and taking our vision of interactive content which is generated in real time and is highly personalized to anywhere video is shown.

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