eran-saroka-interview

An Interview With The Head of Marketing Operations, Eran Soroka

AI technology creates a massive way for us and many of us try to get in-depth knowledge to explore more. No doubt, it is the most trending and thought-provoking topic which gets massive attention from the people. So, we have decided to come up with someone who has vast experience in marketing but a newbie in chatbot industry. SO here we go!

We have talked too much with expert techies, now it’s time to start the conversation with the person who just inn in this field. What fascinates him and what brings him in this field, we are just going to explore.

Eran Soroka, a marketing expert and all-rounder in the media and media/tech industry, with extensive experience in managing and editing various projects, content, and products – in entertainment, news and sports, across multiple platforms. Currently working at CoCoHub as a Head of Marketing Operations.

He has a big social circle with 15K Facebook followers, 25K Twitter followers. He has much to talk with us so don’t wait. Let’s start!

Botsify: Hi Eran, we are glad to have you, thanks for giving us your time. Let’s start with your career. How long have you been working in the media? And why are you now starting with conversational AI? 

Eran: Thanks for having me, Botsify. It’s a great pleasure. 

I’ve been a man of words and communication for the last 24 years, always aspiring to explore the newest forms of media, and to make the best of the existing ones. 

I started as a sports journalist at the age of 15.5, made it all the way to be chief editor of Israel’s 2nd-biggest newspaper, and then became head of digital desk, radio manager and finally website chief editor for Channel 10 (today “Reshet”), Israel’s 2nd-biggest TV channel. At those latter positions, while integrating the online and social worlds into the company’s TV activities and DNA, I also fell in love with automation, data-driven decision making and digital innovation.

Eran interview

Then, in April, I saw a job opening for being a marketing and content manager for CoCoHub, a conversational AI company. This opportunity was very enticing for me, so I applied and reached out to lead conversation designer Jason F Gilbert, and later to CTO Chen Buskilla, to explain what I can bring to the table. Fortunately they picked me, and I couldn’t be happier to get immersed in this amazing new world.

Botsify: As you mentioned that you have vast experience in marketing as a chief editor. Share your experience about how technology can provide marketing a meaningful help to grow any business. 

Eran: I’ll provide a short story to get my point across. When I started my role as head of digital desk at Channel 10, the online and TV departments were disconnected completely. As a part of my plan to fix that, I started sending the editor of the main news show a list of the most clicked-on items on our news section at the website, by 4:00PM every day. 

At first he smiled, saying that “one day, this will be a blueprint for the 8:00pm news lineup”, but he was very open for integrating whatever tools the digital world can give him to analyze what’s the most engaging content, and how he can capitalize on it. From then on, the TV decision makers were getting up-to-the-minute updates on items turning viral, which in turn shaped our site’s homepage and future TV shows’ agendas. 

The same goes for marketing. Technology such as Google Analytics, insights and other tracking tools can be helpful in understanding what’s the content that appeals the most to your audience and how our audience changes, and then, tweaking or even completely changing your strategy accordingly. Both as a marketer and as a content editor, you always have to think about new and creative ways to make your product/content attractive. Even when you select a headline, cut a snippet or upload a social media post as an editor, you are de facto marketing it. What’s the point of creating content if it’s presented poorly and nobody will consume it?

Botsify: Chatbots are one of the successful tools for marketing and selling purposes. As a chatbot user, which type of advancement do you want to see in the future?

Eran: The world of possibilities is endless, really. In the era of information overdose and non-stop personalized advertising, chatbots and voice bots can make a difference between the customer finding whatever he asked for within 30 seconds, and being stuck on the line for days with never ending bureaucracy, never coming back again. 

In my vision, chatbots standardization – which is our main goal at CoCoHub – is the biggest advancement. It will allow everybody, regardless of their coding abilities, to use conversational AI, solving 80-90% of the customers’ problems while giving them an almost human-like experience, saving time and money for everybody involved, and letting the call centers representatives deal only with cases that require some “human touch”, such as helping out people in dire straits or in specific circumstances.

Botsify: Tell us about your favorite sports, and have you been a childhood player in any game?

Eran: I started both as a football and basketball fan, since my childhood home was 400m from a local football stadium, but I fell in love even more with basketball as time went on, and for the last 8 years I’ve been an NBA analyst and broadcaster in the Israelli sports channel. 

I played in amateur football and basketball teams, but my main sports “career”, so to speak, was 2 years at a great Judo club under the future national team coach. Judo was a mania in Israel in the early 90’s due to our first olympic medals in this sport, and it taught me a lot about resiliency, toughness, creativity and ability to bounce back, which helped me when I was older.

Botsify: Who was your role model growing up? How did that person’s actions impact you?

Eran: It was a combination of my two favourite basketball players at the time – Magic Johnson and Charles Barkley. I loved Magic’s leadership, creativity and vision, on and off the court, and I loved Barkley’s tenacity and how he turned his height deficit, round frame and sharp tongue into advantages. I wasn’t the highest or the most athletic guy around, so it was fun trying to follow Barkley’s philosophy, “Go get the damn ball”, and imply it for other aspects of life – when I’m going all-in on something, I want to leave my mark on it.

Botsify: Top 3 Ways to Treat Yourself to Self-Care?

Eran: I’m not a healthy life guru or something, not even close… but there are some things that I found working for me. I ditched white flour because it turned out to be harmful for my health. I’m trying to walk at least 20-25km combined every week in the open air. And I only drink water, coffee/tea and squeezed juices. I also don’t smoke anything or drink alcohol – I know it seems contrary to self-care for others, but that’s the way I am…

Botsify: You have accomplished many milestones in your life. Tell us about accomplishments are you most proud of?

Eran: I was the first to introduce social media regularly into the daily print media in Israel, so that’s something that I’m very proud of. But my best (and most exhausting) years in that regard were on channel 10 – taking a company that lagged light years behind its competitors in its digital orientation and abilities, and making it able to give a decent fight to everybody on the field – all with a smaller, younger and less experienced crew.

Botsify: What do you love best about yourself (physical trait or personality characteristic), and Why?

Eran: I’ll quote my former CEO who said that my best trait is my ability to connect people. I really believe that if you find the right initiatives for both sides, and can frame a win-win situation even in cases that don’t look like it at first glance, you‘ll have a better chance of fulfilling your vision and make both sides committed to it.

I also tend to see myself as creative, with ideas but especially with words. My parents bought me some word puns books at an early age, and it was all downhill from there… today I’m a big pun-lover, an undisputed bilingual master of dad jokes.

Botsify: Any message you have for our community?

Eran: I’m a newcomer in this field, but I found the conversational AI community very warm, diverse, rich, fascinating, welcoming and most importantly – collaborating. I see it as a newly-discovered island which became a habitat for people from various backgrounds and disciplines, where every one can chime and bring his own best practices from their previous “lives”, in order to take this industry forward and inspire others. I’m also able to learn something new every week from the series of interviews I’m doing for CoCoHub with leading conversational AI figures, called Taking Turns.

The only problem with the community – and that’s a substantial one – is that the conversational AI field is fragmented, there is no code reuse and no collaboration – and each developer sticks to his platform and tool set of choice, needing to reinvent the wheel many times over. It drives me crazy sometimes… 

So, my main message is – cultivate a spirit of collaboration, in order to create a strong, vibrant community, even when competition will be stiffer. Chatbots and Voice bots, unite!

(And by the way, we have a big and international conversation designers community at Discord, so you’re all invited…)

Botsify: Your favorite place where you spend most of the time?

Eran: I spend most of my time at home or at work, but I’ll list 2 of my favorite places: one is the National Park, about a 1.5km walk from my home, which is a huge, green, peaceful place for walks and other activities. My favorite destination in Israel is the north, where you can find amazing views, parks and rivers, all within a 2 or 3 hours drive.

Botsify: Chatbots are trending worldwide to automate customer support, and products like Botsify are providing ease for everyone. What do you think businesses should consider Chatbots as a perfect virtual assistant?

Eran: I believe that since every business has a goal (or more than one) to achieve, every business can use a chatbot – whether it’s via Botsify, or our own platform at CoCoHub. Whether it’s for lead generation, for entertainment purposes or for educational instructions, having a chatbot should not a goal by itself, but it’s a perfect tool – with the ability to immerse your customer in the brand’s language, values and character through a conversation – to create a much better customer journey and, eventually, achieve your goals. 

Thank you so much for giving us your precious time. You even inspired our readers with your informative words and with your experience. 

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