Konrad Mroczek: Digital World is dynamic and full of surprises! And so the Polish market

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Konrad Mroczek

Today I am in talk with Konrad Mroczek, digital enthusiast, editor-in-chief of one of the most popular digital marketing online magazine in Poland “InternetStandard.pl”, one of the “granddads” of the Polish online marketing scene and the person, who believes in power of the constant self-development and innovative ideas.  What are the digital marketing trends in Poland and what Western business players have to know about the particularities of the market? These are the questions we are going to discuss.

Hi Konrad, could you please present yourself to our readers?

For years I’ve been trying to cope up with dynamic changes of marketing tools, digital environment and to gain knowledge on most of the areas of expertise. Looking from perspective of the person who used to work for all major marketing business sides – media, agency and client – I see a huge deepening fragmentation and specialization of professional tasks.  During many years branding, design and creative thinking were the main pillars in the world of communication. Today there is another massive factor – technology. Due to that trends even if you are so experienced and educated, your skills must be constantly upgraded in order to stay in stream. You just cannot sit and wait for world to come, step up and take control of “new reality”, whatever it is. That’s what I do at the moment as a Digital Marketing enthusiast, Chief Editor of an online magazine; and I must admit, I have a pretty interesting test environment for that.

How long are you already active in the digital marketing industry?

Practically from the beginning of the Internet, even earlier than that, being a pupil of technical secondary school. Later on as a student of Warsaw University of Economics with technical background I was able to understand the market changes and to adapt my knowledge to the digital trends. Constantly trying to dig deeper and deeper, I discover new areas all the time. It makes me feel comfortable with the topics like SEO, SEM, email automation, UX, Rich Media, Mobile and many others. Due to my professional activities I always bump against something new and exciting. It feels like the more things I know, the more new worlds are to explore.

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Konrad Mroczek, internetstandard.pl

What are the trends in the Polish digital marketing, which you could highlight during the last five years?

Polish digital marketing is in a very good shape; it is vibrant, strong and so exciting at the moment. That’s all thanks to many early adopters, very positive digital environment, lots of wise well-educated people and given EU resources.
In Poland there are currently so many start-ups, whose presence is really significant for the prosperity of the digital market. Many of them get lots of opportunities, strong basis due to the business “angels”, energetic enthusiasts, experienced marketers and developers.
Major telecommunication companies are in the pinnacle of a complete technological bloom with endless opportunities.
E-commerce turns over tripled for last two years. Mobile technologies saturation among business and consumers reaches very high user numbers. New econometric models for driving Big Data shapes up, RTB, programmatic buying, behavioral targeting, optimization of almost everything what is digital and online goes on.

During my cooperation with BMW Poland I could notice the growing popularity of Social Media Marketing within the Polish market. In which stage on your opinion is currently the Social Media Marketing in Poland? Is it still a kind of hype or did it already achieve its Breakeven Point?

I have to agree to the fact that social media are about to enter new phase, I’d call it early stage of maturity. No doubt, the first hype is gone; the most Internet users in Poland already use a couple of types of social environment. Due to the increasing fragmentation of platforms for different niche groups, it is much easier to target the right audience with the time. Things are getting more intuitive and thanks to that trend we can expect a continuous stable growth of the social media popularity as larger groups are encouraged to engage. Every month I observe more and more people and companies trying to achieve more expert level of using social media for business. Despite friendly user interfaces and growing popularity, many marketers are still afraid of unexpected situations connected with exposing their profile to the public. Of course education is a key in this case.
There is one trend which is especially visible – all platforms must find a way to finance their operations on Social Media sooner or later. As a consequence their quality will increase and on my opinion at the end of the day we all agree to pay for native, high qualitative content. Advertising cluster would turn down in a very similar way as other traditional media did in the past.

How do you think what is the future of Nasza Klasa? Is it completely dead or is there still a chance for the platform to find its niche?

NK is in a very good shape, they jumped to another level of building social graph optimized for application and virtual products sales. The share of voice is still very high, but they shouldn’t be compared with the main competitor Facebook as their basic strategy and goals are different.

How big is SEO scene in Poland, is it as mature as the Western one or do you think there is still much to learn from the Western colleagues?

There is always lot of things to learn, education never stops. Changes in Google’s algorithm, guidelines to follow, ranking factors and market conditions impose constant learning. Even Google evangelists must refresh their “philosophy” from time to time. SEO in Poland is pretty advanced, some companies use premium Analytics, which says a lot. Top SEO agencies work for top companies, middle size firms cooperate with many middle size ones, plus lots of people are getting certified with Analytics almost on the mass scale. For today Poland is the only European country where Google launched “Partner’s program”.  The most media, journalists, bloggers, copywriters and other content authors have a common knowledge of SEO basics to position their “stuff” correctly, just to break through fairly tuff competition. I’m pretty sure most of new sites are built not only SEO ready but also mobile ready – responsive design. Polish companies use lots of templates, which available on the Internet. Black hat SEO is not an option for most qualitative sites.

E-Commerce is one of the fastest growing markets in Eastern Europe. What are your observations here? Could you say the same about the Polish market? What are the biggest players within this scene?

It’s bigger and bigger, looks like Polish people fall in love with e-commerce. “Poor” eBay couldn’t compete with Polish e-commerce giant Allegro (currently owned by Naspers) and moved out its operations. Amazon just established his new headquarters in Poland and bought Polish company, which provided the world leading voice recognition application IVONA. Now major telecommunication companies offer a basic package with templates for e-shops and websites which enable an easy configuration of payment systems.  User’s trust for online payments grows rapidly, almost every (97%) Polish user of the internet bank made money transfer using his mobile device.

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Forecasts for Polish e-commerce market in 2013 (Source: msp.gov.pl)

What are the main influencers in the Polish Digital Marketing? With influencers I mean local speakers, bloggers and agencies.

The competition is tough, I can point out couple of companies, such as: Socializer, GetMoreSocial, The Digitals, BlueRank, K2 Media; bloggers like MediaFun, antyweb.pl, spidersweb.pl, AK-47, Kominek.in, Hatalska.

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Konrad Mroczek on YouTube (internetstandard.pl)

What are the main online marketing or social media events you would recommend to visit in Poland for Western visitors?

I can recommend all events of internetstandard.pl as far as I am Chief Editor of this portal. It’s set of cult-names like: internet2K, mobileSTANDARD, socialmediaSTANDARD, ecommerceSTANDARD, adSTANDARD and other…

Could you please give three tips, which are essential for Western business players to know, if they plan to enter the Polish digital market?

  1. Be aware of high level of education of professionals, from managers to developers.
  2. Negotiate, be careful and be prepared for huge differences in offered prices. Look for recommendations from various sources.
  3. There are valuable companies on each level of development; from startups to stock exchange.
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