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Ep. 063 – Over the last 10 years Hayut Yogev has worked with more than 120 startups and entrepreneurs on their strategy, marketing, and sales approach. Their success rates are exceptional.


Hayut Yogev Show Notes

I decided to be my own podcast guest…. It started as an idea from one of our listeners, and I decided to go for it.

Marketing has been a major part of my life for the last 32 years; With executive international brands marketing roles for the first 22 years of my career, and working with more than 120 startups and entrepreneurs on their global strategy, marketing, and sales for the following ten years.

The exceptional percentage of failures of startups companies led me to develop a unique model for startups, enabling them to find the biggest opportunity for their venture in the international market.

Most passionate about

  • For the last 10 years, I’ve been passionate about helping entrepreneurs and startup founders to succeed in selling their products and services while building a leading, sustainable brand.
  • Today I’m most passionate about my podcast the Reach or Miss podcast for the customer focused entrepreneur. On the show I interview successful entrepreneurs and opinion leaders about the customer focus and approach that enabled them to achieve their major successes.
  • When I started this podcast in March 2017, I didn’t know what my interviewees would say. I had a clear perception of what would enable entrepreneurship to succeed.
  • Over the last 15 months, I interviewed 60 successful entrepreneurs and influencers like Guy Kawasaki, John Lee Dumas, Mike Stelzner, Cheris Brogan, Joe Pulizzi, Marcus Sheridan, and many others.
  • I was excited, although not surprised, to find that what I knew about marketing and business success in both established companies and entrepreneurship was exactly what all my interviewees talked about. It’s all about focusing on the right customers; it’s about listening to your customers and understanding their needs.

My best advice about approaching customers

  • My advice is always to focus on your customers. It starts with finding your biggest market opportunity; however, it’s important to remember that we look for different kinds of target audience in different stages of entrepreneurial business.
  • When we launch the product, we look for the innovators, those that look for innovation and new solutions. Those who are willing to take the risk of a new and not-yet-proved product or service. The target audience we focus on in the second stage is the early adopters, and only then should we approach the ‘heavy users’.
  • And as I said before, listening to your customers and focusing on their needs and behaviors is also the most repeated advice from my podcast’s interviewees.

Biggest failure with a customer

  • I think the biggest one is that I haven’t yet succeeded in making a major shift in the perceptions of most startup founders and entrepreneurs.
  • Most of them still think they know who their potential customers are – but their thoughts are subjective, we can never know until we check! Somewhere along the way, it became reasonable for entrepreneurs to believe that startups are all about going from failure to failure until success comes. No! If you won’t study the market in order to understand where your company’s specific market opportunity is, you will never play it smarter than your competitors. And you will keep playing roulette, hoping to win one day.
  • But in business, the opportunities are huge, if you play the game right. Unfortunately, more than 90% of the entrepreneurs I met within recent years (a few thousand) – don’t!
  • To answer this question with a particular example, I think one of my biggest failures was with a company that offered great services in the world of rules engines especially for businesses. They decided to build a complete product for financial predictions based on an excellent rules engine they developed, but they didn’t succeed in selling it.
  • During the research and the market strategy process we walked them through, there was a clear answer from the market about what they needed. All it required was a marketing shift, mainly in the messages. The whole management team completely agreed with the new strategy and was ready to implement it.
  • However, the CEO couldn’t stop working from his own intuition, (which is something that trips up many entrepreneurs and startup founders). He continued working the market in his way. A year later, the company came to a dead-end with the product and lost a great opportunity some other startup took advantage of.

Biggest success due to the right customer approach

  • My biggest success is definitely the incredible rise of the success rate of startups and entrepreneurs that focused on their market opportunities and the right target audiences and messages.
  • The success rates are more than 1000% compared with the success rate of startups and entrepreneurs that go from place to place according to their own (mostly wrong) intuition.
  • There are many success stories of startups and entrepreneurs that used my model of translating traditionally powerful marketing and sales methods for entrepreneurs. I’ll tell two;
  • The first is the story of a startup in the field of Database Change Management, which invested endless amounts of time and money on cold calls, telemarketing, and sales people chasing after customers; they also did almost all the right marketing promotions with content and social media, but were about to close without sales. In the research, we discovered that the potential customers of database managers and their CTOs weren’t aware that there is a solution. We also saw the opportunity to take ownership of the new category of DevOps for Database.
  • Today, the company is successful and has become the leader of the financial market in that field.
  • The second company is a new startup with four unique founders, who developed two solutions, one for smart home products and the other for IOT security for smartphone development. They felt they couldn’t focus with both companies and needed to find their market strategy objective to decide which company they should close.
  • When we looked together for their market opportunity, we clearly saw their advantage with the two companies and how they could quickly become new market leaders. Recently, they got their first huge order, which enabled them to continue finding new customers before they secured their funding.

Recommendation of a tool for customer focus, marketing, or sales:

  • It’s funny. I always ask this question on my podcast, but I never thought about what my answer would be. I’ve got three answers to this question:
  • The first is not exactly a tool, but it has been my inspiration, education, and guidance in my journey to influence entrepreneurs to become customer focused as the fastest road to success. I’m talking about EOfire – the leading podcast, blog, and platform of the incredible John Lee Dumas, Kate Erickson, and their team. They have many free courses and endless resources for success. That includes the biggest global podcasters community, Podcasters’ Paradise.
  • The second is also not exactly a tool, but it’s been the best tool for me: Mark Schaefer’s book, Known. Reading it helped me make a major shift towards succeeding on my mission to help entrepreneurs get a fast business success through being customer focused.
  • And my last answer fits every definition of a tool, it’s my safeguard in the world of content and social media; I’m talking about Buffer. It allows me to control and navigate between all my social media channels to spread the word of the entrepreneurial customer focused approach.

Hayut’s key success factor

  • I could say that it’s my experience with marketing and sales, both with multinational brands and with entrepreneurship. I could say it’s that I know that I never know who the customers are and how to define a product before I check the market opportunity, which is a true advantage. Or I could say that my success factor is my ability to look at things from the point of view of the potential customers and totally shut off my personal thoughts and opinions, which is also true and a huge benefit when it comes to entrepreneurial marketing and sales.
  • But I think that it is my endless energy and optimism that enables me to enjoy almost every moment of my 32 years in marketing, and drives me to conquer new spaces in the minds of customers.

Hayut’s Mountain

OK Before answering this question, I want to take this opportunity to tell the story of how I came upon such a strange question.

Well, I was reading Mark Schaefer’s book, Known, which I recommended you earlier, which talked about differentiation and the ability to stand out from the crowd, and he also told a charming story about a food blogger that had chosen to focus on recipes from books and movies and to dress like the story’s heroes in her videos.

And I thought I must find some colorful angle to this dry marketing and sales stuff. And since I really believe this marketing journey is like climbing a mountain, I decided to take this mountain metaphor and make it real. So I started asking my guests if they ever climbed or wish to climb a mountain, and send their photos or links of the incredible view of these mountains.

And now, it’s my turn:

Since we believe that the best way for entrepreneurs to get a fast, big, and sustainable success is by leading your (new) market category, and the entire entrepreneurial journey reminds me of mountaineering, or conquering the mountain; I want to ask you if there is a mountain you dream of climbing or a mountain you have already climbed?

  • Great question. Seriously, I used to climb many hills in Israel galley were I lived as a child and teenager. I was born in a kibbutz, which is a fascinating story, though I haven’t decided yet if it’s a story about a sad childhood in a tough orphans’ house or a journey in the paradise of Peter Pan’s kingdom.
  • However, as I said, I’ll keep this story for another time and will choose Kilimanjaro. Not that I have climbed Kilimanjaro and at my age, I’ll probably won’t, but we had a magnificent trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar with my husband and best friend for more than 37 years, my grown up daughter and son and their partners. And my two kids, who are each other’s BBF since the day my son was born, decided that one day they would climb the Kilimanjaro together.
  • Those who know me a bit know that the thing I’m most proud of in my career isn’t the huge brands I help to build or the financial results, but the fact I was a heavy workaholic, that traveled a lot since my kids were babies, on one hand, and the most present mom in my kids’ lives (as my kids say) on the other.
  • So for now, this is my mountain.

Kilimanjaro (Which I haven’t climbed. Yet….) | Mount Kilimanjaro

A private photo from our fantastic trip to Tanzania | Tanzania

The best way to connect with Hayut

The REACH OR MISS Podcast and site

Free mini online course

Recommended Tools

Recommended Book

More resources for Entrepreneurs

  1. Don’t Miss – Customer Focus Strategy & Execution: Market Analysis for Fundraising
  2. Hayut Yogev’s Latest post: The three free, most practical steps to researching and locating your market
  3. Former interview: With Raoul Davis found the genuine power behind innovators, instigators, and initiators in Elon Musk, Deepak Chopra, and Christopher Columbus


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