Q&A with Gil Eyal, Founder at HYPR & Managing Partner at Starfund

Gil Eyal, Founder at HYPR & Managing Partner at Starfund, has revolutionized the way many of the world’s biggest agencies and brands are running influencer marketing by focusing on the same data, analytics, and audience demographic information relevant to traditional digital marketing. He was recently selected at #30 on the list of the most influential people in Influencer Marketing.

Gil is an accomplished public speaker and has delivered keynotes at notable influencer marketing conferences, including Influencer Marketing Days in New York and Influencer Marketing Hub in London. He was selected as the 2017 recipient of the Digiday Top Boss Award in the technology industry, as one of 10 Israelis impacting the New York Tech Scene, as well as one of 40 must-follow digital media influencers. Gil is also a two-time winner of the MarCom Awards for Excellence in Marketing and Communications.

If you don’t have a clear understanding of who your audience is and which messaging resonates with them, you will never be truly successful.



MEDIA 7: Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself and what made you choose this career path?
GIL EYAL:
I think many of us have a moment that inspires us in a way that changes our direction. For me, it was sometime around the year 2005 when I came across a book titled, “Buzzmarketing” by Mark Hughes, where he detailed a variety of marketing campaigns that leveraged the concept of getting a conversation going around a subject. At the time I was working in a job that bored me to death as an attorney and thought I would be doing it for the rest of my career.

I couldn’t get that book out of my head. Mind you there was no Facebook and there were no viral online channels you could leverage to market. This was old-school marketing and it required a level of creativity and sophistication that fascinated me. 4 years later, I was done with law and studying for my MBA at the Kellogg School of Management where reality hit hard.

No one had any interest in hiring a former attorney for marketing jobs even if they did get their MBA from a respected program. I was probably the last in my class to find an internship after my first year and I was determined to figure out things before I came back for the second. I spent the summer in two places. The first was Austin, Texas, where I worked for Dell. It was a wonderful experience, but the second half of the summer really got me going. I worked for Playdom, at the time, the largest game developer on MySpace and the fourth biggest on Facebook. I learned how meaningful leveraging creative marketing channels and methods (while paying attention to the fundamentals) were to get the company to hundreds of millions of users. More importantly, I got a front seat to a $750M exit and realized I will be in tech for the rest of my life because nothing could compete with the excitement of building something so amazing that someone is willing to pay hundreds of millions of dollars for it. I came back for my second year but I wasn’t interviewing. I was all set to figure things out in the startup world and started working with founders who needed help with marketing. Though it was early, I recognized the opportunity, that visibility and credibility generated by celebrities would provide these companies and quickly carved myself a niche.

Within 3 years, I had done over 200 deals with celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Lance Armstrong, Serena Williams, Kevin Hart, Zendaya, Lil Wayne, and more. In 2013 I decided to build technology around identifying the influential people online and that led to the birth of HYPR.

M7: What tools do you use for influencer marketing? How do you find influencers in a specific niche?
GE:
I sold HYPR to Julius in April 2020. We combined our platforms to build an amazing tool that helps sift through millions of influencers based on their audience characteristics, demographics, and topics where they are influential. The tool makes discovery easy.


I don’t believe in hiring influencers just because of their audience size. When I work with celebrities or influencers, it's primarily for the credibility they can generate for the product I want to promote.



M7: What are the most promising channels for campaign management and why?
GE:
I think influencer marketing is struggling to make things less manual and the solutions in the market today are limited. I think how you choose to activate influencers really varies based on the type of brand you represent. Certain brands need to vet each post and ensure they work with influencers who are perfectly on-brand. Others just need reach and conversions. The result is that one solution doesn’t fit all. The first type needs vetting tools, content approval, and time management tools while the other needs automation and performance tracking. My guess is that you won’t see one winner in the space – different solutions will prove to be the best for different customers.

M7: How do you define content personalization? Which technologies are garnering the maximum mileage in this sector?
GE:
As privacy awareness is gaining more attention due to explicit violations of privacy rights by some of the largest players in the space, content personalization is becoming more challenging. Requiring users to opt-in is not as simple as it was in the early days of the internet where you just hid code in another program and assumed people won’t read your terms of service. The new regulations are a positive move in my opinion but in the short run, they definitely reduce the quality of user experience.

Companies like Target have been so focused on the personalization of marketing content that they sometimes forget it can be really creepy or even harmful. In Target’s case, there was a story of a father who found out his daughter was pregnant because Target sent her emails targeted at moms-to-be. I invested in a company called itsmydata which helps consumers protect their privacy when online stores don’t.

The result is that personalization is going to take a backseat until brands can really figure it out. Technologies that can get people to willingly opt into data sharing and content optimization will come out victorious here but I’m still not sure I have seen the proper solution.


As privacy awareness is gaining more attention due to explicit violations of privacy rights by some of the largest players in the space, content personalization is becoming more challenging.



M7: What do you believe are the top three product marketing challenges in the post COVID-19 era?
GE: 1. A change in consumer behavior. If I’m not going out, do I really need to dress nicely? Do I need to smell good? Should I be spending a lot of money on new shoes? Which products are gone for good and which are just taking a hiatus until we are all vaccinated?

2. With people spending even more time online, are marketers even more confined to the programmatic marketing channels that companies like Facebook and Google provide? If so, how do you deal with the price increases as these companies optimize their process to make sure they can squeeze as much money as possible out of marketers?

3. As companies like Hulu and Netflix demonstrate that people are willing to pay for content, often pay in order not to see your ads, how do you gain their attention? Can you afford to remain uncreative with your marketing attempts?

M7: In the era of Fake News and Malvertising, how do you stay on top of your business model?
GE:
I don’t believe in hiring influencers just because of their audience size. When I work with celebrities or influencers, it's primarily for the credibility they can generate for the product I want to promote. When Michael Jordan wore his first Nike shoes, the message was broader than just reaching all of the people who were interested in him. It was about the fact that these shoes were so good that he would wear them in a professional game against the best athletes in the world and he would come out on top. I want to work with influencers and celebrities that convey an authentic and believable story of why this product is superior.

M7: What is your marketing mantra to stand out in an overly saturated MarTech space?
GE:
Traditional fundamentals still apply. It doesn’t matter what kind of marketing you are doing, if you don’t have a clear understanding of who your audience is, how to reach them and which messaging resonates with them, you will never be truly successful. Influencers are just another channel but they need to be able to do more than just reach an audience. They need to be able to believably convey a message that will resonate with an audience. When you see an influencer marketing campaign fail, it’s almost always because the influencers do not do that, and not because they’re being fraudulent or have a weak following.

ABOUT HYPR

HYPR is an influencer marketing platform focused on leveraging data to automate smart decision making and identify micro-influencers and activate them at scale. HYPR was sold to Julius in April 2020.

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But laborious processes can often end in a “bulk approval” to save time and check an audit box instead of accurately reviewing access rights to ensure the right business outcomes. RadiantOne’s AI-driven approach will be a paradigm shift in the way people work, forever transforming and streamlining the usually time-consuming UAR process down to days and minutes instead of months. “Historically, user access reviews are a highly manual process–a ‘necessary evil’ within security practices. This approach not only creates fatigue for the team but also introduces a considerable amount of risk,” says Dr. John Pritchard, Chief Product Officer at Radiant Logic. “While this may work in the short term to satisfy auditor requirements, the company’s assets are never truly protected. There is also still the risk that something may be overlooked, or someone within the business has retained access to something they shouldn’t. With RadiantOne AI and AIDA, existing IAM and IGA processes can be automated and simplified for overworked teams trying to comb through mountains of user access data to make the right decisions to protect their organizations.” With RadiantOne AI, conducting a user access review becomes as easy as following AIDA’s guidance. Using the power of large language models to drive advanced data correlation, contextualization and analysis, combined with an intuitive data visualization dashboard, AIDA will reinvent the user access review ritual. Based on an organization's proprietary data, the fully guided UAR experience will allow reviewers to interact and pose questions to AIDA using natural human language, like “where does this access come from?” or “show me who else has these access rights?” AIDA will highlight any potential user access risks, offer expert insight, and suggest remediations or access modifications based on an organization’s policies. Any changes, such as low risk bulk access approvals or revoking atypical access rights, are completed via a click of a button, so there’s less training required to complete the reviews and less risk of human error during the process. RadiantOne AI’s AIDA-guided user access review capability works to provide enterprise organizations with: Automated workflows: Leverage vast data sets and contextual insights to make intelligent and confident decisions about access rights. Simplified compliance: Easily detect over-privileged accounts or atypical access rights with intuitive data visualization techniques. Greater visibility into user actions: Get beyond roles quickly to see who has access to what and how they received that access so insights and remediations are easily actionable. Click-button remediation: Based on the insights and recommendations from AIDA, reviewers can approve or revoke access or atypical rights individually or take bulk approval/rejection actions with the click of a button. Data into the hands of business owners: Put relevant, risk-based identity data insights into the hands of business users in the language they understand to make it a breeze to adhere to compliance policies. “User access reviews with AIDA are just the beginning,” comments Joe Sander, Radiant Logic’s CEO. “Using RadiantOne’s AI engine, we see potential to revolutionize identity data management, governance, risk, compliance and cybersecurity processes by removing complexity as a roadblock. This frees up critical IT and security resources to focus on other business-critical tasks and expands the role of identity to truly be a business enabler.” RadiantOne AI comes on the heels of the completion of the integration of Brainwave Identity Analytics into the RadiantOne Identity Data Platform. AIDA will initially be available as a complement to the RadiantOne Identity Analytics solution. About Radiant Logic Radiant Logic, the identity data experts, helps organizations turn identity data into a strategic asset that drives automated governance, enhanced security, and operational efficiency. Our RadiantOne Identity Data Platform removes complexity as a roadblock to identity-first strategies by creating an authoritative data source for real-time, context-aware controls. We provide visibility and actionable insights to intelligently detect and remediate risk using AI/ML-powered identity analytics. With RadiantOne, organizations are able to tap into the wealth of information across the infrastructure, combining context and analytics to deploy governance that works for the most advanced use cases.

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