Athens Conference Report
The ICMA Board of Directors meeting took place on Wednesday morning focusing on the current state of ICMA and how to ensure we continue to stay relevant and competitive for the future. Thank you to all our Board of Director’s for contributing valuable thought-provoking ideas that will ensure our next conference will be our best yet.
Wednesday afternoon welcomed 24 attendees to the “Marketing Automation” Boot Camp facilitated by Janning Reinhard, CEO Europe &APAC, DemandGen AG ( Europe) and author of the highly recommended book “Kunden kaufen, wann sie wollen” about the new ways of customer buying and lead management. It also included workshops and case study sessions from: Zsolt Renyi, CEO Founder and Chief Awesomeness Officer at iKaland.hu Efe Yucemen, Sales Manager at Emarsys UK Heinz Schwyter, CEO Homegate Rob Hage, CEO Digital Community Holdings.
We are delighted to report it received top marks from the attendees, with 100% stating they would want to attend another ICMA Boot Camp at a future conference. The session offered practical hands-on tips and tools on using marketing automation technology to increase customer acquisition and loyalty. Case studies and best practices were shared on how to integrate and optimize lead nurturing, using marketing and sales technology with an e-commerce database and/or CRM system. Due to popularity ICMA will continue these smaller pre-conference specialised Boot Camps at future conferences.
That evening all the attendees from across 22 countries received a very warm welcome from Martha de la Torre, CEO of El Clasificado and Chair of ICMA. We sat outside on the Premier Roof Terrace at the InterContinental Hotel soaking in the magical view of the Acropolis, whilst she introduced our new members, the 15 first time attendees, and highlighted the continual support of associate members and sponsors! We continued the fun over good food and good conversation as the sun set over the ancient city of Athens.
Tomasz Odrobinski, VP of Sales and Internationalization at erento Gmbh, took on the emcee role for the first time at an ICMA conference and what a wonderful job he did, with a particularly warm and humorous introduction. We kicked off the programme by welcoming our keynote speaker Nick Sohnemann, Founder of Futurecandy.com to the stage. As an innovation hacker and media enthusiast, Nick spoke about “The Future of Mobile and Digital Lifestyle” sharing his expertise on global trend research, findings on management methods of the most successful companies and startups and he even found time to do some innovation hacking.
After the coffee break Tomasz welcomed Robert Knox, Co-Founder and CEO of Virgla who partnered up with Annonce to present “Virgla: Your Virtual Glance into the Future of Mobile Interaction”. We learnt how to harness the power of the mobile along with creating new revenue streams by extending user experiences on smartphones and tablets. Up next we heard from Kenneth Andersen, CEO Bazoom, on “Creating and Monetising Social Media Classifieds”. Kenneth shared his strategies to win key classifieds verticals and how to use niche social communities to gain a competitive advantage for horizontal classified sites.
Rob Meadows, CEO and Partner at Originate then hit the stage with his “Quick to Launch, Fast to Make Money” to share his vast entrepreneurial experience on how to design, build and fund ambitious software product ideas to ensure you capture that new marketplace first. This was followed by a late addition to the programme which we simply couldn’t resist, as Panos Pachatouridis from Google explored how to “Delight your multi-screen audience”.
After a delicious Greek lunch we kicked off the first of our 4 workshops with Elias Gagas, Managing Director at Tailwind on “Programmatic Trading and Advertising”. Elias shared his understanding of what programmatic trading is in 2014 and why we classified publishers should be using it. This was followed by an Advanced SEO workshop by Patrick C. Price of BlueGlass Interactive exploring how the new search engine algorithms work and help our digital sites achieve a strong organic performance. After the coffee break Pam Moore was back presenting on “Social Media Monetization Opportunities”. This involved a how-to in using social media mobile platforms to drive more traffic, increase lead generation and make more money for horizontal, vertical and niche marketplace communities.
The jam-packed day was brought to a close by Rob Paterson , CEO Pantera Digital and former Chair of the ICMA Board of Director’s. Rob explored the new competitive threats in the world of classifieds and why we are now at a moment of unparalleled opportunities. We then climbed aboard the bright pink fun-bus heading into the ancient and beautiful cobbled streets of Plaka for the Greek Group Dinner at The Fisherman’s Tavern, sponsored by the generous Sahibinden.com. Thank you again for the delicious gifts we each received from you!
Martha de la Torre chaired the Members Meeting which discussed the current state of ICMA and where the Board of Director’s and Head Office are in formulating a strategy for moving forward in revamping ICMA for the future. Thank you to those who participated in this meeting and we continue to welcome any feedback and suggestions you have to improve upon the Association.
For the very first time we welcomed our own ICMA’s Future Leaders Network presenting on “Money with additional services”. They explored monetisation through tablet magazines and web/mobile classifieds through upselling of special features to make ads stand out. There was also a section on the monetisation of web/mobile classifieds on all platforms by moving away from native apps and working on hybrid html5 apps build with cordova/phonegap. A sincere thank you to Gabriela Martin del Campo, Gianfranco Gaio, Lucian Luncan, Sabine Wesp and Bart Cuylaerts, who all received such excellent feedback that this may even become a regular programme feature.
SHARING BEST PRACTICE
After the break the much loved “Sharing Best Practice” session returned with a new format and it continues to be one of the top rated sessions of the conference! Each delegate chose 2 roundtable discussions which explored insights, opportunities and threats from their own experience. For those ICMA participants without a niche group we offered roundtables for innovation and process improvements so there was a sharing best practice for every attendee.
After lunch the finale of the conference was the popular workshop forums:
Business Leaders Forum (BLF)
The BLF was chaired by Pam Moore, CEO of The Marketing Nutz. This session was designed specifically for senior executives to come together in an intimate closed meeting in order to share their opinions and ideas with their peers worldwide. The BLF dived deep into Social Media monetisation opportunities and threats, and explored the role of a CEO in Social Media.
Business Operations Forum (BOF)
The Athens interactive BOF was chaired by Rob Meadows of Originate who explored how to turn a great idea into an extraordinary solution for the real world with extraordinary technology. Participants left this experience having learned how to take an idea for a digital product, build a digital prototype and test it on some real users to get feedback.
Sales Managers Workshop (SMW)
Back by popular demand the SMW was chaired by chaired by Tomasz Odrobinski, VP of Sales and Internationalization at erento Gmbh. We changed things up and let the attendees of this workshop pick their Top 5 out of the Top 10 sales challenges. From lead generation, activity tracking, top CRM tools, account management to the recruitment of top sales reps and how to keep them onboard. From commissions to cancelations, content marketing and telesales… you name it we covered it. Attendees were given solid practical solutions to implement upon their return to the office.
FRIDAY NIGHT OUT
The old Gala Party had a shake up and the formal sit-down meal was scrapped. We decided to jump straight into party mode so the Friday Night Out was held at 7-Times Bar & Club in the city center, sponsored by Bazar. This was a fun and energetic evening, where we sang and danced along to a great band and DJ set later on. It’s always a good sign when there are still a few people standing at 5AM who aren’t ready to leave yet!