Cologne Marketplace Innovations Conference Report


Heather and I took the ICE train to Cologne, which made for a quick easy trip, which allowed us to arrive in Cologne early afternoon on Monday. After checking into the Barcelo we headed out to the social venues for the week to ensure all was in order. Monday evening, we enjoyed a nice dinner catching up with the El Clasificado ladies – Martha, Gaby and Eliva.

Tuesday morning Heather and I set up the make-shift ICMA office, collated the conference bags compliments of the conference host, Kalaydo. Once again, a huge thanks to Britta and the Kalaydo team for helping us collate on Tuesday morning – making it much more fun as well as fast!


The ICMA Board of Directors meeting took place Wednesday morning and had us buzzing with some new and excellent ideas that we plan to implement in the coming months! Those who arrived early enough on Wednesday enjoyed a fantastic Brauhaus tour which they enjoyed touring and “tasting” from 3 different local Kölsch breweries as well as learning some of the tips and tricks of the locals. One of which is – don’t ask for water while in the Brauhaus’s!

Martha de la Torre, CEO of El Clasificado and Chair of ICMA welcomed 120 delegates from 28 countries to the conference. She also introduced our five new members, first time attendees, and highlighted the continual support of associate members and vendors! Martha then thanked Joachim Vranken, CEO, Kalaydo, Germany for hosting the conference, who then provided a nice local welcome to Cologne.


The delegates were welcomed Thursday morning with a typical German treat – a beer glass with an invitation for a drink on Click Performance Group that evening in the bar. Martha de la Torre provided a warm welcome to the delegation by giving an overview of the roots of El Clasificado – and highlighting the theme for the week, “Sharing is Caring,” and inviting the delegates to post on the ICMA social sites which would post to ICMA’s social wall. Thanks to Gaby from El Clasificado for setting this up!

Peter Lamb took on the emcee role for the morning keynote welcoming ICMA members Gerald Coniel and Felix Erken from Junk Mail Publishing to set the tone for the conference in sharing their passion and enthusiasm for what they do. Gerald’s statement for where the classifieds industry stands today, “Everything has changed, yet nothing has changed” resonated among the delegation.

Just when you start to get used to the ICMA way of things we go and change it up! After the coffee break the delegates participated in one of three parallel sessions the Business Leaders’ Forum, the Business Operations Forum and the Sales Managers workshop.

Business Leaders’ Forum (BLF)

The BLF was chaired by Felix Erken, Managing Director of Junk Mail Publishing, South Africa. The BLF shared best practices across a range of issues for classified markets. Joachim Vranken, CEO of Kalaydo in Germany, Riikka Kouhi, Director of Classifieds for Sanoma in Finland and Lenka Cerna, CEO of Annonce in the Czech Republic also provided some solid statistics and information in their respective marketplaces during this informative session.

Marja-Leena Tuomola, President, Sanoma Digital / Sanoma News Ltd, Finland was nominated as chair for the ICMA Business Leaders’ Forum for the ICMA “Expanding Beyond Classifieds” conference taking place 13-16 November in Prague, Czech Republic and she accepted the nomination.

Business Operations Forum (BOF)

When looking into topics to cover for the BOF, the ICMA Future Leaders Network provided some excellent feedback and ideas. Therefore the idea was to focus on streamlining business operations for the Cologne BOF. We welcomed co-chairs Aitor Elorriaga, Consultant for Innopole in Spain and Pardeep Maheshwaree, Senior Consultant for Vaibmu in Finland, focusing on SCRUM and Agile methodologies. To ensure a hands-on practical approach the session attendees were divided into small groups where they put together cities made of legos dependent on the instructions given by the co-chairs.

Sales Managers Workshop (SMW)

The SMW was chaired by co-chair by Peter Lamb, President of Lamb Consulting from the USA and Matthias Olten, Division Manager Jobmarket / Member Management Team of Kalaydo from Germany. This session discussed Sales Representative management and key motivations.

The last session of the day brought each of the three sessions back together to discuss the key learning’s. Being the first time for this change up, we learned from the feedback, to offer a summary of the key learning’s for each session by vendors. This example was very well demonstrated by Tom Ricca-McCarthy, Global Sales Director of Madgex in the UK who put together the learning’s from the Sales Managers Workshop. As well, to continue the BLF, BOF and SMW sessions through the end of the day on Thursday.

The evening had us off to Brauhaus Gilden im Zims. Despite being held up at the door and almost having to look for another dinner venue on the spot, (once again thank you Josef Kogler for stepping in to save the evening!) the ICMA delegation enjoyed the traditional German fare along with an unlimited supply of Kölsch beer! (They are not kidding… it is not easy to get water in the brauhaus’s!) Upon return to the hotel, the majority of the attendees continued to enjoy the German beers in the Barceló bar.



Martha de la Torre chaired the Members Meeting which discussed the Head Office projects highlighting the webinar series continuing into 2013, the financials, the increase in membership fees, the current membership count and the recruitment plan to bring on new members and vendors for 2013. The 2012 audit vote passed unanimously.

The Board of Directors Nominations were held and we welcome three new Board Members onboard: Lenka Cerna CEO of ANNONCE a.s., Czech Repbulic; Marja-Leena Tuomola President of Sanoma Digital / Sanoma News Ltd in Finland and Markus Binderbauer CEO of, in Austria. A huge THANK YOU to the Board members stepping down Koen Vandaele, Concentra, Belgium; Santtu Poutanen of Sanoma, Finland and Pekka Ketonen of Ketonen & Co, Finland. 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.


Friday kicked off with a Keynote from Anne F. Kennedy, SES Advisory Board, International Search Strategist, Author from Beyond Ink in the USA discussing “Five Ways Your Customers Will Find You This Year and Beyond.” Anne stressed that understanding the user experience is a key revenue strategy for media. Next up we welcomed Steffen Krause, Technical Evangelist for Amazon Web Services in Germany who hit on how to use the cloud for classified media with four main points: elasticity for campaigns, storing and delivering static media, using big data for ad focusing, and using human workforce as an on-demand resource.

The second session of the day kicked off with the hot topic of mobile. We enjoyed a solid line up of panelists on the mobile panel. Marja-Leena Tuomola President of Sanoma Digital / Sanoma News Ltd in Finland moderated the session providing some interesting mobile statistics from comscore as well as from the ICMA membership. The big question that is still on everyone’s minds is how to monetize mobile? We then moved into the ICMA Lounge for the “Shaping Your Future Vendor Workshops” that provided solid case studies from each of the respective vendors. A good turnout and high ratings from the members and vendors ensure this is a nice addition to the conference.


The afternoon was taken up with five rotating round-table workshops on The Mobile Ecosytem – is everything for free?, That’s ‘Advertainment!’, Best Practices in Managing Big Data, User Life Cycle Innovations and Analytics, which delegates could attend three of the five.

Armin Strbac from Shpock App, Austria took on the Mobile Ecosystem discussing how smartphone usage is increasing and replacing online, stressing that the appropriate mobile solutions and business models are essential. ICMA Member Amy Bowler from IPC Media and Dave Black from Blippar both from the UK shared how IPC Media’s Classifieds team are embracing Blippar’s bleeding edge mobile image-recognition/augmented reality platform to deliver magical classified advertising reader experiences that have the WOW Factor. The Managing Big Data workshop was run by ICMA Member Gerhard Koehle, Russmedia Tech, Austria informing delegates of how to streamline their CRM systems. The User Life Cycle Innovations was run by Randy Greencorn of ChatterBlock in Canada, sharing how to take first time website visitors, to engaged user, to website ambassador. Ralf Haberich of Webtrekk in Germany discussed the analytical possibilities to improve your website and the Return on Marketing Investment.

Friday night was left free for ICMA delegates to make their own plans, in which seeing from the Saturday morning attendance it seems some enjoyed the evening or the morning to the fullest!


Saturday kicked off with a rousing Market Innovations session from ICMA member Odin Termohlen, Senior Manager Online & New Media, Sanoma Media Automotive, The Netherlands. The top rated session of the conference had people questioning if it was better to be a leader or a follower. Odin also shared a tool tip stating “First was fire, then the wheel, and then Sitespect.” Next up we welcomed the Future of Classifieds panel, moderated by Anne F. Kennedy. Panelists representing Schibsted Classified Media, Immobilien Scout GmbH, Erento GmbH and Chatterblock. A few hot topics discussed were, how involved should we be with the buyer and seller? Schibsted prefers to leave payments to be settled directly and others thinking adding a payment service might provide an enhanced user experience. A fantastic session with some good debates among some of the top industry players!

The second session of the day kicked off with Dr. Marco Barth, Head of Business Development, Immobilien Scout GmbH, Germany, sharing his views on the Growth Beyond Classifieds sharing how adding services such as Martknavigator and digitalizing the lighter services has propelled them to be the market leader in Germany, for both professional customers as well as the consumers. We then welcomed the top 8 short-listed 2013 ICMA Classified Media Innovation Award nominees to present their innovations.


A true value of the ICMA membership and conferences, the “Sharing Best Practice” sessions continue to be the top rated sessions of the conference! The Business Leaders session had an overall score of 97%! Technology received 93% and Sales 87% overall ratings. A sincere thank you to the ICMA Board of Directors, Gabriela Martin del Campo, Ricardo Gonzalez, AJ Lemke and Adam Winter who facilitated each group’s discussions. Pease send any further metric suggestions for any of the respective sessions to shay(at)


The Gala Party was held at the Wolkenberg, literally translated means “Cloud Castle.” A beautiful venue well suited for presenting the 2013 ICMA Classified Media Innovation Awards. Congratulations are in order for all the nominees and the 2013 winners. Junk Mail Publishing took home top honours with the overall Classified Media Innovation Award for their Mxit Innovation, Kalaydo was awarded the “Show Me the Money” Innovation Award, Oikotie Jobs, Finland for the “Quick Implementation” award and Oikotie Real Estate for the “Technology” award. A memorable evening was had by all, especially those tearing up the dance floor ICMA style!

Thank you to the outstanding speakers, facilitators and chairpersons for ensuring another outstanding ICMA Conference! A special thank you to Kalaydo for hosting an outstanding conference! As well as the associate members and vendors, the ICMA Future Leaders Network and the ICMA Board of Directors for all of their support. And of course all of you who make ICMA the one of a kind Association it is today!

We look forward to seeing you all again at the ICMA “Expanding Beyond Marketplaces” conference taking place 13-16 November in Prague, Czech Republic.