CHECK OUT THE EVENT PRESENTATIONS!

Conference and Forum,

October 18, 2012

Willbrook Platinum Convention Center,
Bucharest, Romania

Blog

How You Can Leverage the Cloud to Deliver More Value to Customers

Daniel Queva
Director of Marketing, Microsoft Office Division, CEE

Daniel Queva is Director of Marketing in the Microsoft Office Division, with responsibility for marketing and selling Office 365, Microsoft’s cloud solution across Central Eastern Europe. Before joining Microsoft, he was co-founder and Vice President of Marketing for ZyLab, an international company specializing in document imaging and search technologies. We asked Daniel to outline some details from his presentation at the conference, and this is what he sent us:

The cloud is a great opportunity for marketers to build a deeper relationship with their existing and new customers.

Addressing this opportunity requires companies to re-tool and transform their business.  This transformation will impact how companies design and package products and services, how the price, how they incent their internal sellers and channel partners, how they market and manage the customer journey.

In this presentation, we will explore how Microsoft is adopting and leveraging the cloud to deliver more value to customers.  We will discuss the opportunity and challenges associated with marketing in and through the cloud.  We will focus on the importance of a good database connecting various customer touch points, on leveraging services like LinkedIn and Facebook to accelerate customer decision, syndicating content through partners to fill the funnel, as well as optimizing the web site through multi-variant testing to better guide customers through the purchase decision.

We will share examples of investments we are making in Romania, but also across Central Eastern Europe and Worldwide to build awareness, drive services trials, sales and upsell.  We will close this presentation by providing you with a short introduction to our customer relationship management services we make available to customers in the cloud.

We look forward to seeing you at Leaders in Marketing on October 18, 2012 in Bucharest and sharing our experience with you and getting your feedback on how you see the cloud as an enabler for your business!

 

What are the implications of Social TV applications?

Social TV is any technology that supports communication and social interaction around TV content. There are many technologies being developed to make TV more social, but they all make watching TV a more social experience, creating a global water-cooler.

Mindshare, a partner of Leaders in Marketing, shared with us an expert Point of View about Social TV. A round-up of the various Social TV applications and services that are available (there are a lot, with more launching every day), it explains why these are increasingly important and offers some suggestions as to the different types of Social TV you could consider using.

Click  here for details:  Mindshare Digital POV – Social TV

 

Essentials of Product Development Strategy

Colin Shea
Vice President for Strategy, Planning and Regulation, Vodafone, CZ

Colin is a Marketing Wizard! He mixes bold pricing with innovative leading edge services and… Presto! Cool services that customers can’t get enough of. Find out how this strategist goes against the wave, use the ‘basic’ and transforms it into the ‘compelling’ and …generates revenues in the process.

We asked Colin how does one know when the product development strategy is the right one? How much is too little and how much is too much? How do you know if you’re developing products fast enough? Enjoy this article and come to meet Colin for more insights at Leaders in Marketing on Oct 18, 2012, in Bucharest.

Make Innovation core to your value proposition
One of the most important choices for a company to make is to what degree product development and innovation is core to its value proposition. It is not a strategy to be taken lightly; meaningful product development means meaningful investments in technology, people, and customer insights. It is not necessarily bad to be a fast follower, or even a slow follower in some cases. However, what definitely does not work is claiming to be an innovator or product leader but dimensioning as a follower.

As an example, I know of one company which at the beginning of a major product development initiative begins with 16 teams creating concepts – 12 internal and 4 external agencies. This is gradually narrowed down over a series of contests to 8, then 4, 2 and finally 1 winner.

Through each stage the level of detail progresses from conceptual sketches to 3D renderings and eventually to full-size, semi-functional models. The board of directors is intimately involved in this process and makes the final decisions at later stages. When one thinks about the time involved in this and the inefficiency of it, it’s incredible – by definition 90% of the work is wasted. Yet the final product is fantastic and justifies the investment.

Apple is of course an obvious case of this; they have a tiny portfolio compared to Nokia in the handset segment for instance, yet they command 9% of volume in terms of units shipped, 36% of revenue and 74% of industry profits. On the network infrastructure side, Huawei was able to develop superior products to its European competitors and has doubled its worldwide market share in 4 years.

The role of Brand Communication
This is not to say it’s always the winning strategy. It would be difficult to argue that Philip Morris really makes a better cigarette, Starbucks a better cup of coffee or Nike a better running shoe than their competitors to the point that it justifies the price premium these brands enjoy.

A good combination of communications, branding, packaging and customer experience can sustain a brand and product for many years. In such cases, product development can be a hygienic factor which merely illustrates the conviction of brand values – for instance the ‘Nike + iPod’ product has not really changed the essential product in a meaningful way but does important things in terms of communicating brand values and affinities.

The Transformational Power of Total Brand Integration

By Peter A. Blackwell,
Managing Partner at 4thought

The challenge facing every brand is how to break through the overwhelming volume of messages hitting consumers so they see, remember and choose your brand – all at a sustainable level of investment

‘If I just had more money’. Sound familiar?  Yet, instead of leveraging additional funds you likely strive to make existing spend work harder or even ‘do more with less’ as budgets are pruned.

The solution – create full integration across every element of your marketing – your strategies, activities, people, and agenciesGet it all working together so everything reinforces, strengthens and amplifies everything else – so the sum is greater than the parts.  Only then will consumers experience a unified, consistent, and powerful sense of your brand far beyond the actual dollars you spend.

Marketing Integration is not something you just decide to do.  It takes disciplined and challenging forethought across four key areas:  Purpose, Process, People, and Planning.

Purpose
It all starts with your Brand – or, the ‘purpose’ your business exists to serve.  Financial returns are certainly important but that’s not why customers value you.  What’s in it for them?  If you were to close shop what would customers say is gone forever that no other brand could replace . . . or would they?

Great Brands know exactly what they want to be renowned for – what they want their ‘reputation’ to be.  They commit themselves to fulfilling this higher order Brand Purpose through every action they take, every one of their employees and ultimately every single experience customers have with their business – always!  What Brand Purpose guides, inspires & regulates every fibre of your business?

Process
Only when your organization and support partners are working as one single, well-oiled machine will your plans come to life in a seamlessly integrated and consistently powerful way for your customers. This requires well thought out accountabilities and work linkages throughout your organization.  When designed properly – rooted in proven best-in-class practices – process unlocks the superior power of a collective organization, allowing it to move quickly, respond and adapt nimbly and truly achieve more with less.

Well-designed processes succeed in minimizing bureaucracy, group-think and lost time due to re-work by clarifying who does what, who decides what and how work gets done, drawing upon the key strengths of each group and individual.  Process also enables past successes to be repeated and further improved upon.

People
Nothing happens without someone making it happen.  And, because a Brand is the sum of all experiences a customer has with a business, every employee therefore plays a role in delivering your Brand  – everyone!  Does every one of your employees have a strong, common understanding of your Brand Purpose?  How does each person’s job differ because it’s done in support of your Brand vs. a competitor’s?

It’s been said that people don’t work for a paycheque, they work for a cause.  In truly great organizations, the Cause and the Brand are one-and-the-same.  A clearly defined Brand Purpose that permeates every part of your organization, guiding and regulating every action taken is the key to attracting and retaining the best talent.  It will unlock employee passion, creativity and commitment you never thought possible.

Planning
There is a big difference between ‘Planning’ and ‘A Plan’.  Planning is the process you should be using to manage your business on a daily basis.  It must be an evolving and adaptable practice in which every decision you make is evaluated against your longer term goals for the business and the customer’s experience with your Brand.  Planning is not an annual event, but an essential daily business process.

Planning, therefore, should not be confused with your organization’s Annual Plan.  An ‘Annual Plan’ is a report-out tool used to capture and distill a point-in-time view of where your business has been, is now and is going next.  If developing your Annual Plan is an overwhelming and dreaded event, it’s likely you don’t follow the practice of planning daily.  When an organization operates by ‘Planning Daily’, generating an ‘Annual Plan’ becomes a relatively quick & painless exercise.

Adhering to these four fundamental principles of driving Brand and Marketing integration is the key to unlocking the full power of your brand across your entire organization and drive transformational business results at a sustainable level of investment and return.

***

Peter Blackwell was former VP marketing for Canadian Tire, Canada’s most beloved retail Brand with over $7bil in revenues, with resources such as: 130+ marketing staff, 20+ agencies, $400mil budget in Marketing Spend, 500 stores across Canada. With 20 years’ experience, Peter will show you that a brand is not only a logo, a slogan or an advertisement.

At Leaders in Marketing on Oct 18, 2012, he will explain that a Brand is the sum of every experience a customer has with your business/organization, why it’s important to put Brand first in your business and he will help you assess if your brand is truly the heart & soul of your business. Join us and learn more from this Marketing Authority.

How can bankers build long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with customers?

We have great news for marketers working in banks. Our most recently confirmed speaker is a “Banks Transformation” Pro, whose almost entire career has been associated with banking in developing countries.

Michael Ruckman, Founder, President and CEO of Senteo is known for his experience in more than 30 countries around the world and his focus on assisting banks in transformation process, from internal processes such as operations, management model, staff development, cost optimization, risk management to a more innovative process, that involves developing the relationship-centricity for a bank.

We asked Michael what is the unique methodology that he offers to the banks, and this is his answer:

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P is for Pirates….

By Kate Hamilton

“Take what you can, give nothing back!” Captain Jack Sparrow – Pirates of the Caribbean

“P” is for phones!… that would be the obvious choice for a marketing blog as there’s so much to say about mobile, but today I want to focus on pirates…
Why Pirates? Well, I think about pirates in digital marketing for two reasons, both of which I cover in this blog. One is quite specific and the other is a bigger idea all together…

So first, the specific reason: Pirate Metrics.

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How To Be Successful Overnight In Just 13 Years

If you do a search on Google for the quote “overnight success usually takes 15 years” you’d be surprised. Looks like a lot of people said that. In fact, there were so many, that it’s kinda hard to find the real author. But relax, we’re not going to talk about the real author of this quote. But we will talk about something very real, though: and that’s a real life story, based on real life facts. Without further ado, let’s go:

13 years ago I was minding my own business, living easily as a radio anchor (apparently, some people considered that I have a “radioesque” voice), when, all of a sudden, I decided to go entrepreneurial. Just like that. I wanted to be my own boss and stuff. By building a business on the internet, that is. It was before Google, before iPhone, before cloud computing. Credit was something irrelevant since the interest was around 80% (believe it or not). Money was incredibly hard to find, so I had to finance my business using the 3 “f”s: family, friends and fools. But I got lucky.

I came out with the idea of creating software for Americans, because we, in Romania, were so cheap. And smart, as programmers. For a year or so, it went fantastic. I had a constant stream of income. Then, the bubble came in and the US internet almost shut down. Basically, I was out of customers. But I got lucky.

I came out with the idea to write software for the recently hyped telecom companies. So, I partnered with one of the two major players, and started to create content for them. It was a revenue-sharing agreement, in which we created stuff for free, and got paid by a percentage of what the telecom company was cashing in. In 6 months, I had another revenue stream. But the technology we used to create software on, namely WAP, was rapidly becoming obsolete. In just 2-3 years, it was out of business. But I got lucky.

I came out with the idea of creating a network of sites in Romania, based on various niches: one was about cooking, the other one was about cars and so on. In another 2-3 years, the network became the third player on the internet market (if we didn’t count the media trusts, that is). But the competition was rogue. Soon, I faced a difficult choice: either partnering with a bigger player, or selling out. But I got lucky.

I found a client for my company and did my first exit. Then I created a blog in English, dedicated to entrepreneurship and self-improvement. In 3 years, the blog attracted a constant audience and I was able to build an ecosystem of products around it. It’s the thing I’m still doing today. Some of the products are ebooks, some of them are iPhone apps, some of them are web apps. A few months ago, 2 of my ebooks were translated in Korean.

And, as I write this, I have a very clear understanding of this: if anything will go bonkers with the blog, I know I will be lucky again. Because, you guessed, it’s not about luck. It’s not about luck at all, in fact.

I couldn’t reach all the way to US, letting them know that we can build better software than their engineers, I couldn’t partner for more than 4 years with one of the biggest telecom companies in Romania, I couldn’t create a network with more than 1.5 millions unique visitors per month, I couldn’t have books translated in Korean, I couldn’t do any of these without a very simple ingredient.
And it’s not about the quality of work, which goes without saying. That’s fundamental. It’s not about persistence either, which, again, it’s mandatory. It’s a very thin and delicate layer which is almost always ignored by any entrepreneur: self-branding. And that’s not about the brands you build, it’s about you, as an agent of change.

It’s not about building products, as it is about building relationships in a certain way.
Interested? I’m hoping to speak more about this topic at the Leaders in Marketing conference this fall. Join in 🙂

***

Dragos Roua is a founding member of the Venture Connect board and a constant presence of the tech-entrepreneur landscape in Romania. When he doesn’t write code for the projects in which he’s involved, he writes about entrepreneurship, personal development and motivation on his blog. He wrote and self-published 6 self-improvement books, 2 of them being recently translated into Korean. We are proud to have Dragos as one of the invited speakers in October 18.

Metrics And Why They Matter

By Bogdana Butnar

I spend a lot of time talking to people whose clear-cut objective is performance or ROI. This is obviously not a bad thing since we are all here to make money not just spend it trying to make more.  I have, however, found that when probed people have a hard time to pinpoint what ROI means to them other than money.

When you look at a tool like Analytics from Google, with its varied filters and resources, I find it hard to believe that people would not be able to assign value to anything other than a closed sale. That’s is why I really appreciate the concept of micro vs macro conversions.

Conversion is a term used in AdWords meant to signify a closed action on the company website/e-store, which resulted in a tangible advantage for the company. Usually we mean conversion when we see a sale but ideally conversions should be a number of other activities, which eventually result in an action with tangible benefits for the company.

The theory goes that of total conversions possible per business in a website only 4% are macro conversions meaning sales and the rest are micro conversions meaning anything from downloading a brochure, signing up for a newsletter or an update. The ultimate benefits of these actions are not recorded instantly but they can be accurately measured in time if tracked properly.

Metrics are essential when evaluating success and setting metrics is probably the most important activity one can engage in at any stage in the business cycle. And understanding that metrics are both complex and granular makes performance easier to track and decisions easier to make. I hope to speak more about this at Leaders in Marketing this year.

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Bogdana Butnar is a well known Romanian planner, online strategist and blogger. She currently is Industry Manager for Google Romania. Bogdana will be one of the guest speakers at the Leaders in Marketing conference on October 18th.

Early Bird Discount Month for LIM Has Begun

From June 1 to June 30, we roll our Early Bird Discount Month. Only in June you can book a place at Leaders in Marketing with 45% discount to registration fee. Group discounts are available as well.

Are you ready to invest one day in learning and challenging your thinking about Marketing?

Book now to join the brand leaders and top marketing practitioners !

Going for Growth? Check Out Our Newest Free Whitepaper by Renaud!

Lately, the first gut reaction when it came to Marketing was to cut expenses, slash budgets and ‘hope for the best’. Wiser companies took advantage of a recession, did the opposite and invested more in Marketing since they knew from the last financial crisis that most people will do just that – cut Marketing. As a result there was no better time to invest into Marketing since this catapulted those #2 or #3 players in the first spot when the dust cleared.

Instead of taking a ‘cutting’ approach, this white paper wants to re-energize and put Marketing back where it belongs: Creating Top Line Revenues and meeting needs profitably.

As a marketer, if you plan well, organize and avoid some common pitfalls one can really generate substantial revenues from Marketing which is the purpose of this white paper. You will enjoy this document if you are a seasoned marketer since the topics are common sense, back-to-basics in nature.

If you are not a marketer or rather a Marketing enthusiast, you can use this document as a check list for all their right questions to ask your Marketing peers. Sometimes asking the right question is all that’s needed. Sometimes it pays off to ask basic questions such as:

Who is the customer ?
Are we reaching the right targets ?
How do we know if our Marketing initiatives are justified?

This whitepaper will explore 5 areas called land mines, areas to avoid and to be vigilant when the goal is to create Top Line Revenues with Marketing:

Land mine #1 Marketing…Sales…what’s the difference?
Land mine #2 Customer Experience-are we ‘In Synch’?
Land mine #3 Dealing with apathy. How Branding can instill a killer instinct
Land mine #4 Of course the campaign is integrated…
Land mine #5 We’ll measure it later

To download this resource, go here and fill in the blanks with your name and email. After confirmation, you will receive the .pdf by email. Enjoy!

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