As already announced on the 30th of October you can become a witness of the Social Marketers Summit 2013 in Prague, where different industry experts share their know-how and cases around the Social Media Marketing trends. Today I am talking to Pavel Hacker, who is actually one of the founder of the event and also a kind host, who will welcome you during the Summit. He will reveal what you can expect from the event and give his point of view to the state of Social Media Marketing in Czech Republic.
Hello Pavel, you are the co-founder and host of the Social Marketers Summit 2013 in Prague. How did you come to this idea and how long does the event already exist?
This is the fourth consecutive year we have been organizing the event. The original idea came after we visited lots of conferences and speeches here in Czech Republic about digital marketing – by “we” I mean myself and Jakub Svoboda, we were two organizers originally. During these events we met always the same speakers saying the same things in the same style of presentation and setup. In addition, the speakers seldom could surprise with a deep knowledge of Social Media. It’s funny, but basically anyone whoever founded a Page on Facebook proclaimed himself as a Social Media guru. We got a feeling that we need to let the international speakers enter the local social media scene and to make the event more live, interactive, simply said, social. Andrea Bendáková helped us vastly on making the event professionally organized; however, the Summit is a very disruptive event since the first year. Luckily, it is warmly welcome by the audience.
This year the motto of event is “Crossing the lines”, why did you chose this slogan and what is the actual focus of the summit this year?
There are two main topics we want to table for discussion. The first is “Crossing the Lines”, that means blurring the edges between different platforms, technologies, services. We are now daily logging into websites and mobile applications using Facebook and other “connects”, which transfer our profile data. Over 20 % of time spent in front of a gaming console, we actually watch online videos. We play games on our mobile phones and listen to music on our gaming consoles. The boundaries of media consumption are vanishing and this has a huge influence on users’ experience.
Another trendy topic, which we would like to emphasize during the Summit, is gamification. It is clearly the biggest buzzword in our industry now and I am so delighted, that we won Kyle Findlay as the speaker for this topic. I found his amazing presentation on Slideshare at the beginning of this year and this made a click. The opportunity to meet him in person is a unique experience, but this is of course also the case of Kris, Olena, Ted and all other speakers.
Who are the speakers this year and what exciting topics and surprises participants can expect from the event?
I have already mentioned Kyle, but I should have started with the lady, you might know her, Olena We invited you, because we observed your activities within this online magazine and also your professional cooperation with BMW; and we believe, that you are able to refresh one of our original ideas – to bring the feeling of good old Austro-Slavic Empire times back with the CEE region being one connected area. There are many companies operating from Prague in Slovakia, Poland and other surrounding markets, but we know so little about the state of Social Media around us, while everyone is interested in reading about what’s happening in the US, UK… Another star speaker is definitely Kris Hoet. He comes from the Antwerp-based agency Duval Guillaume and these guys are just amazing. I bet that your readers are familiar with their campaigns, either “Dramatic Surprise on a Quiet Square” or “Amazing mind reader reveals his gift”. They produce these outstanding ideas one by one and they don’t seem to slow down. It must be an amazing team and Kris is their digital leader. Another speaker from abroad is Ted Persson, who seems to establish a tradition that every Summit must have a speaker from Sweden (although Thorbjorn Warin from Wooga arrived from Germany, actually). It’s no surprise as far as Swedish agencies are great and one of the best representatives of the new style of an ad agency – there are no lines between ATL, BTL, digital, mobile… They have the ideas and with the available know-how and technology these guys are able to work efficiently in order to achieve great results, not only to make nice showreels for Cannes.
As to the Czech slot, it offers lots of interesting speakers as well – TNS Aisa Research Corporation will present findings from their study “Czechs in Network”. It’s a big qualitative study about “digital Czechs” made every year. The findings should be surprising and very valuable.
The marketing representatives of a local football team, Sparta Praha, run their Social Media channels very successfully, fostering the fan community, selling tickets and merchandising articles. We are also happy to have them on board.
There are of course more, but what I am looking forward is a panel of Social Media admins of Czech political parties. We have a major election coming just three days before the Summit, so the emotions should still be on “cooking”.
One of the highlights of the Summit is an after show party, isn’t it? Does it include also any organized networking part, where the attendees can meet potential business partners?
We already prepared some special things during the previous years, such as a short presentation about the market in Brasil, but what’s fine about the party is that it is not a “take one glass of vine, have a little conversation and go home” afterparty. It was traditionally held in a place called Harley’s bar, and I bet you can imagine how wild it went. So the “networking” in this case means dancing, drinking shot, new friendships for life and lots of colorful memories.
You are also the CMO of Brandz Friendz, digital marketing agency in Prague. Are there any global big players among your customers and what is the focus of their social media strategy?
The majority of our clients are international companies like Télefonica O2, Česká pojišťovna, which is the part of the ERSTE Group, Marks&Spencer and others. Main part of the investments which flow into Social Media on the Czech market is, on my opinion, Customer Care. That is where lots of big brands put their focus, while working out the social media strategy. The work of marketing Gurus from O2 is a good example for implementing of a coherent global social media approach, including the Czech market respectively.
The role of Facebook advertising is also growing day by day. The focus of our approach lies on combination of effective communication, applications and advertising with data processing as the bottom line for everything we do. This includes integration of Social Media into other services like e-commerce, web and app development. We create about 150 Facebook apps per year, so the knowledge base we have about user behavior is strong enough to achieve positive results.
What are on your opinion the trends of Social Media Marketing in Czech Republic and how does the future of digital marketing look like in Eastern Europe? Is it a mature market or is there any development potential?
We have a huge gap in content. As far as i’m concerned, the customer care in Social is very, very good in the Czech Republic – companies like O2, Česká spořitelna and many others had swiftly learned the rules of the new environment and their response management is fast and effective. But in general, as far as the holistic social media approach concerned, there is still much to be improved. Day by day I see the worst cases of 1980-style advertising, and don’t get me wrong, I appreciate good old art of storytelling in 30 second spot… And if the TV spots that often are the basis of the idea are flat and empty, it would be a miracle if the digital part derived from it would be great. And miracles happen seldom You can see hopeless Facebook admins posting kittens and puppies twice a week because they don’t have any stories, opinions, interesting news they could pack into the content strategy.
What are, on your opinion, the next Western brands which will enter the Czech online market?
I wonder if Amazon.cz will happen. They entered the country, but seem to be searching for educated labor so far. I am awaiting some big mobile loyalty programs such as Punchtab. Body Shop is also missing. There is a demand for Home Depot or Cingular, Verizon … but nothing I would personally miss, except for the major brand the Ultimate Fighting Championships