Mobco CEO on future of AdTech Industry post-Corona

Mobco CEO on future of AdTech Industry post-Corona

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June 22, 2020

The Man Behind The Brand;
The Story of Tomer Hen

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  • 5G
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By Evangeline Jesse Godwin

“There is no secret, my success is just having the courage to do things.”

In business as in life – the ability to adapt is key. While most are obliged to alter their ventures per change, a select few imbibe reinvention and thus exude progression. Known as Israel’s Mobile Marketing Phenom, Tomer Hen, the Founder and CEO of Mobco Media is an example of the latter. I caught up with him to know more about his journey into the dynamic realm of Mobile Marketing.

To appreciate the present, one always has to journey back to the start, when asked about what got him started in the business, he beams, “Far from a global company, my first stint in business was as a 1st grader selling lemonade. It was a hot day and business was slow. But, with a little help from my parents (they bought most of the lemonade!), I managed to make my first earning.”  Spurred by the success of his lemonade stand, Tomer went on to launch his newspaper in the 5th grade. In an extraordinary feat for a 10-year-old, he served as the newspaper’s sole journalist, editor, and marketer. He printed the newspaper at his home and sold it for 1 shekel at his School. “I was unaware at the time, but I was learning the principles of business,” he says with a smile. “When I look back now, I realize I learned strategy on the go. I studied my audience and printed stories that were more to their interest. I created a hype among my peers to position my paper as a commodity! This helped to sell my newspaper.”

An ardent believer that one is never too young or old to venture into business, Tomer tried his hand at online trading. At the age of 13, he began by selling his toys on eBay. Tomer explains, “I wanted to buy a PlayStation, but I was too young to get a job, so I created one for myself.” Encouraged by the response he received, he started selling Dead-sea skincare products online. Skilled in the nuances of packaging and presentation, Tomer started to see steady growth in his business. “I enjoyed learning how packaging impacts the buyer’s decision. Their feedback was pivotal. Early on I learned that as business owners we must listen to our audience.” Seizing the opportunity, Tomer invested his Bar Mitzvah money to expand his business to include IDF-fan wear. Soon $20 became $50 and Tomer started seeing a steady growth in his monthly returns. Although his earnings allowed him to spend as he would please, at the tender age of 15, backed by his mother and father, Tomer invested in real estate. Reflecting on his decisions, he says, “I was fortunate to have parents who believed in my abilities rather than view my achievements as a one-off event.”

In 2009 a series of events led to Tomer asking himself a pivotal question that would skyrocket him into the Mobile Advertising Industry. In his words, “It was a hot summer evening, my friends and I were hungry. We decided on going to a pizza shop and did what any teenager would do – search for nearby stores on our phones!” To his surprise, Tomer noticed a dearth in results.  He continues, “We don’t lack in ads now but back then I wondered why shop owners were not capitalizing on ads on the internet, especially since the iPhone was gaining popularity in Israel.” Curious, Tomer started looking up the Mobile Marketing landscape and saw an opportunity. With a reflective gaze, Tomer adds, “The next big thing is not always what you see, sometimes it is what you don’t see.”

That same year, while still in High School, Tomer started his journey into the world of Mobile Advertising by personally reaching out to Advertisers, closing deals, and placing ads on the internet as an affiliate. “I was a one-man company! I experimented with color, size, creative, placement, and even the text on the ads.” He continues, “It took a lot of testing, but curiosity and persistence are everything!” Although young and one of the first to jump on the mobile marketing bandwagon, Tomer quickly gained recognition.  Word quickly spread in his hometown of Netanya and soon people wanted to learn his secret to success. Seizing the opportunity, Tomer began teaching people one-on-one in neighborhood cafes for $20.

Encouraged by the constant number of people who wanted to learn to maximize their efforts on the internet, Tomer decided to take a bold step in the educational direction. In 2011, he started the Mobile Marketing College – the first of its kind educational institute dedicated to teaching the best practices in the realm of Mobile Advertising in Israel.  

In yet another first of its kind, in 2012, Tomer created and hosted “Mobile Marketing IL” – the first and largest Israeli Mobile Marketing Summit. The Summit saw over 1,000 attendants participating in 9 hours of pure content and lectures. “It was the first time my parents and grandparents saw my work and understood what I’m doing. It was one of the most exciting moments in my journey.” Since then, Tomer has hosted weekly workshops and trained well over 3000 people.

With his time split between his growing ventures, in 2013, Tomer added one more to his portfolio – Mobco Media. “We started with just 5 people. I was honored when people were willing to work and grow with me,” he reminiscences. Today, Mobco has offices that span across the globe with over 25 people working together on leading Fortune 500s brands. “We started with just Mobile Advertising and now have a separate Video Advertising wing that is flourishing. We’ve achieved so much over these last 7 years and have so much more ahead of us.”

Accomplishing all that he has is no modest feat, in a nod to his hard work and courage to see things through, Forbe’s Israel’s featured Tomer in their ‘30 under 30’ in 2016.

When asked about the secret to his success, he says “There is no secret, my success is just having the courage to do things.”

And his advice to budding entrepreneurs, “Visualize your goal and dream as a person. Not as a business. The business should be the vehicle to serve our needs and wishes, and not vice versa. Just keep going and never look back. Without going after your passion, you might never fail, but you will not succeed,” he says and signs off.

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