“People ultimately want only one thing in this digital world: transparency and trust.”

Forged and fraudulent web traffic is not only a security issue, says Daniel Avital, but it is also a major business problem. It contaminates a variety of data used for go-to-market, user acquisition and marketing, he explains. As Chief Strategy Officer and Global Head of Marketing at CHEQ, Avital is part of the team creating a new category of go-to-market security. He shares that people in today’s digital world desire transparency and trust the most, and CHEQ ultimately sells trust. Their product detects invalid activity and can prevent fake traffic from entering a company’s system, all from a marketer’s perspective. While Avital helps shape the company’s strategy, another important part of his role is to communicate strategy and goals internally. He says everyone at CHEQ needs to focus on the same goal to be successful.

I’m excited to talk to you about what CHEQ does and how you view customer acquisition issues and bots, counterfeits and fraud.

It is a curious undertaking, among other reasons, due to the intersection of the world of go-to-market (marketing, user acquisition, sales, data analytics) and cybersecurity. These are two worlds that are generally compartmentalised.

In the cybersecurity industry, traditionally, you sell to a security team, and the applications that you sell as a cybersecurity company are meant to reduce risk, to secure. This is what is traditionally considered the primary application of cybersecurity.

Next, CHEQ says, “The internet is a bad place, and 40% of traffic is made up of bots, automation tools, hackers, and fraudsters. This is all a security issue, but it’s also a security issue. commercial for anyone in the go-to-market operation, anyone doing user acquisition or paid marketing.

The bots will fill your audiences and you will remarket them or they will click on your ads. They will flood your website and fill out forms. They’re going into your CRM, so maybe your sales team or your BDRs are now looking for invalid leads and they’re going to interact with your chat. Worse still, they will strategically skew the data in your BI and analytics systems.

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Daniel Avital CHEQ

Daniel Avital, Chief Strategy Officer and Global Head of Marketing at CHEQ

(Photo: N/A)

How dominant is it today?

Imperva said 50%, 52% of traffic today is from bots. I’m going to give you an actual data point of over 12,000 CHEQ customers we serve today. When your CHEQ client first logs in and sees the fake traffic in their funnels, we find that on average 27% of all direct, organic website traffic is invalid in some way.

This is a much deeper issue than just spending more money on ads and increasing your CAC.

That’s part of it. It is a deep strategic problem. This fake traffic, it poisons everything. It poisons your data, your CDP audience segments, your advertising audiences, your CRM, your lead flows, your conversion funnels. I think the market is now starting to realize that we live in the age of the fake web and that needs to be addressed. You need to have a plan to protect yourself from the fake web. It’s part of today’s culture.

How do you solve this problem? How to combine cybersecurity with lead generation and marketing?

I think what we’ve done very well at CHEQ is build this security product from a marketing perspective. When you look at this dashboard, it speaks your language: leads, clicks, campaign sources, traffic sources, affiliate marketers. It shows you metrics, insights, and reports that matter to you. It integrates with your analytics or BI tools. I think that was really the big challenge, building that.

Of course, there is the technological challenge of precision. If you are overwhelmed by a DDoS attack, you fire at will and must stop the entire attack even if it means collateral damage. This is not the mindset of a market leader or a marketing team. They want surgical precision so they don’t accidentally lock out a real paying customer. There’s a certain level of nuance and sophistication to the technology built in to ensure we don’t have any false positives.

What have you learned about the world from working with so many clients, developing this product and owning this domain?

People ultimately want one thing, especially when it comes to the increasingly digital world we live in, and that is transparency and trust. I think that’s my greatest understanding of working with all these different people from different industries and verticals. We started this project of digital marketing, sales automation, data management, data consumption, all so that we can have a level of transparency on what we are doing and that we can have confidence in the data and numbers. Anyone who can approach people and build their trust has a strong case for being able to sell a product. This is what CHEQ does. Above all, we sell trust.

What is the product and interface that customers use to experience it and offer this offer to others?

There is transparency in our platform. There’s a dashboard that pretty much shows you everything at a high level. It is possible to download reports to provide you with more granular data. It is possible to plug this into your own BI environments. Literally half of what the product does beyond the blocked attenuation capabilities is transparency. This is how our customers perceive us. They said, “We put the CHEQ on and we turned on the lights.” It’s an organizational effort to ensure that we not only deliver value, but that the customer understands that value.

As Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Marketing Officer, what does your day-to-day look like? What does the strategy look like to you?

I’m lucky because my day job is to manage marketing and I get to play in the strategic playing field with my management colleagues. It is a team effort that ultimately decides the strategy and fate of the company.

My best attempt at defining a strategy, at least in a trading context, is that you have to take a clear position in the market and then apply all your resources to achieve that position. So for me, the question of strategy is what position do we want to take in the market. We are building a new category, go-to-market security. The idea that cybersecurity would be sold to secure go-to-market needs is new.

Was there market education that needed to take place and does that education become easier organically?

Absolutely. Every time you start a new category, at first people are going to look at you like “I didn’t know that was a problem.” We have come a long way since then. I think today most savvy release teams at least understand that there is a problem.

But to educate, one must first define what the boundaries of the category are, what go-to-market security is. This is what we focused on to say what it includes and what it does not include. Basically, we’re saying that any digital means by which you access the market is something we want to protect. I say, everything Salesforce enables, we secure. These are the limits of the category.

How many people are in the organization now?

Today, we are approaching 200 people. Our plan is to end the year with about 320 people.

How do you get an organization to have an army of people saying, “We believe in this vision”? How do you create this culture?

The role of Chief Strategy Officer, as you know, is not a standard role in the C-suite. When Guy, our Founder and CEO, and I were talking about this role, we said that a lot of the role is not only to have a strategy, but also to ensure that the strategy is known throughout the organization, understood, so that we are all working towards the same North Star.

You scan the 200 employees of CHEQ, you will find that they all say to you: “We are the security company in the market; we are on a mission to fight against the fake Web.” There is no other way to succeed. Everyone must be aligned towards the same goal.

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Michael MatiasMichael Matias

Michael Matias

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Michael Matias, Forbes 30 Under 30, is the author of Age is Only an Int: Lessons I Learned as a Young Entrepreneur. He studies artificial intelligence at Stanford University, is a venture capital partner at J-Ventures and was an engineer at Hippo Insurance. Matias was previously an officer in Unit 8200. 20MinuteLeaders is a series of tech entrepreneurship interviews featuring one-on-one interviews with fascinating founders, innovators and thought leaders sharing their journeys and experiences.

Contributing Editors: Michael Matias, Megan Ryan

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