Dublin Conference Report


Halloween, the Dublin Marathon and a bank holiday welcomed Heather and I to Dublin on Monday 31 October. Upon arrival we were warmly welcomed by the Four Seasons staff to walk through the event before dashing off to the Jameson Distillery to ensure all was set for the group tour on Wednesday before meeting the El Clasificado ladies for a bit of Irish Dancing at St John Gogarty getting us in the full Irish spirit.

Tuesday morning had us setting up the make-shift ICMA office in the boardroom (one of the nicest to date!) before heading off to check out the rest of the social venues to ensure all would run as planned for the rest of the week, as well as hitting the city center to purchase the speaker gifts- a full day of running before welcoming the ICMA Board of Directors as well as the AFCP representation to a wonderful dinner at Brasserie Sixty6 in the heart of Dublin.


Wednesday the early arrivals enjoyed a fabulous tour of the Jameson Distillery – whiskey tasting included! And we trust a few purchases of the Jameson whiskey were made.

The 25th Anniversary welcome reception welcomed nearly 145 ICMA delegates from 33 different countries to Dublin. Martha de la Torre, CEO of El Clasificado and Chair of ICMA opened with a warm welcome introducing our three new members, first time attendees and highlighting the continual support of associate members and vendors! Delegates enjoyed the slideshow of the past 25 years with Gerald Coniel, Franco Ucelli di Nemi, Jack Humphreville and Berni Neubauer recalling the most faces and memories from the years gone by. A special 25th Anniversary cake was rolled in to honor all those who helped ensure the continued success and collaboration of ICMA the past 25 years and here’s to the next 25!


Martha de la Torre formally opened the “Classifieds: Opportunities and Threats” conference sessions, in line with the direction the association and our members have taken transitioned, …digitally. A fantastic video was complied with the help of the Rising Stars connecting across continents including contributions from Jack Humphreville, www.recycler.com in LA, Tish Hill, www.usedeverywhere.com in Canada, Rob Paterson, www.friday-ad.co.uk in the UK and Sidharth Gupta, www.getit.in in India and of course all those on deck at El Clasificado! A fabulous opening to the 25th Anniversary conference.

“What the ICMA has become for me, as a business leader, is really a de facto Board of Advisors” Tish Hill, CEO, UsedEveryWhere.com, Canada

Peter Lamb took on the chair role for the morning plenary sessions welcoming Jef Staes, Leading authority on Learning and Innovative Organizations, to present the keynote. Jef covered how organizations are facing one of the most complex transformation processes ever. The transformation from slow moving 2D-organisations to agile, innovation driven 3D-organisations. The transformation from consensus based organizations to Red Monkey driven organizations. Red Monkeys being those that lead this dramatic transformation process and are willing to face the drama’s. The question he posed to the delegates was “Do you brake for Red Monkeys?” Luke Beatty, VP Local and Communities, Yahoo!, posed the question is it “Content in Classifieds or Classifieds in Content?” Luke covered the importance of content in classifieds to enrich the users experience ensuring repeat customers.

After the coffee-break, we headed into the social realm with Jiri Voves, Director, Socialbakers spoke on “Going Social,” stressing that the question is no longer whether or not to go social but how to maximize social media to increase your brand, business and revenues pointing out that the majority of users are 18-35 years of age. The social connection continued on with the “Socializing Classifieds” panel moderated by ICMA Rising Star, Tiia Näsänen, Business Manager, Sanoma Digital. Peter Zollman, Founding Principle, AIM Group kicked off the session hitting on how job/car/real estate sites using social media. Luticia Hill, General Manager, and Jody Epp, Director of Marketing and Sales from UsedEveryWhere.com shared their social media strategy with the biggest take away being – listen to your users to keep them coming back!


The “Sharing Best Practice” sessions evaluation tally proved their value once again being the top rated sessions of the conference! In the Business Leaders session format was changed up a bit and the formula seems to be working with an overall score of 98%! Technology received 100% for relevance with an 98% rating overall and Sales Mangers was not far behind with a 94% overall rating. A sincere thank you to the ICMA Board of Directors, Rising Stars and Members who developed the metrics and facilitated each group’s discussions. Please send any further metric suggestions for any of the respective sessions to shay@icmaonline.org.

The evening had us off to Taylors Three Rock (where the Irish Dragons are filmed) for a wonderful evening full of Irish music, dancing and of course a bit of Guinness! Wonderful to see a good representation of the ICMA delegation try their hand…er feet rather… learning the traditional Irish dance. We noticed there seemed to be more willing participants as the night carried on!


Google kicked off our Friday keynote, welcoming Shane Nolan, Head of Online Sales to the stage. Shane covered how to use Google to be found, be mobilized and be in the know. One clear take-away: mobile is the future with it already capturing 17% of all Classifieds queries which has doubled from 2010. An excellent lead into the next session where Mobile Apps and Mobile Opportunities were discussed in more detail. Koen Vandaele, Concentra, Manager CDMS stepped in for Sidharth Gupta, CEO, Getit at the last minute to present, straight from the publishers desk, how to get mobile from A-Z – from choosing apps, a mobile platform, development to the end result for Concentra based in Belgium and Getit in India. James Harkin, Co-Founder and Director of Technology from Element Software brought in the developers perspective hitting on the user experience, statistics gathering and the development process.

Peter Conti, Executive Vice President, Borrell Associates opened the second session of the morning providing an online classifieds outlook for automotive, real estate and jobs before moving into the mobile classifieds realm. We then tried something new with a “Brain Snack” session highlighting two of the vendors Jesper Lilliesköld, Vice President Business Development, Besedo, who provided a best practice in fraud fighting and Duc Le Khac, COO from Ubiflow covering a case study on their solution for ad connection “Easy Business.” Richard Straver, Co-Founder, Tinypay.me took the stage presenting “The 60 Second Sale” described by TechCrunch as “A crazy simple way to sell stuff online” as Santtu so aptly put it “take note” with this being developed from someone outside the classifieds industry. The Rising Stars joined forces to present the Top 10 Reasons to join us in Atlanta for the AFCP/ICMA “Expanding Horizons” Global Summit 18-21 April 2012. Which was followed by a very special tribute to bestow ICMA’s first ever Honorary Member Franco Ucelli di Nemi, former Director of Editora Haple in Brazil. A moving trip down memory lane was shared with Gerald Coniel, CEO, JunkMail providing the personal touch. A very fond farewell, although definitely not goodbye, to one of the few who were with ICMA from the beginnings of FAPIA. A true testament to the bonds and friendships made throughout the years. Ate logo Franco!

Lunch was sponsored by Gumiyo who presented their web to mobile platform with a screaming deal for all ICMA members to build a mobile classified portal at no cost for those who confirmed by 30 November with a guaranteed delivery by 31 January 2012! Contact Gavin at Gumiyo for further details. gavin@gumiyo.com.au


The afternoon was taken up with three rotating round-table workshops on Print Possibilities, Solid SEO and Developing your Online Strategy with Google which delegates could attend two of the three.

The workshops provided a solid opportunity for the delegates to really learn and apply the leanings to their own businesses which was evident in the high marks received for all three workshops following just shy of the Thursday Sharing Best Practice sessions. Helmar Hipp, Managing Director, Quoka & VM Digital Group lead the Print Possibilities workshop providing an overview of their decision process over the last months to close their print at the end of this year and providing some food for thought for those who are still heavily print focused. Anne F. Kennedy, International Search Strategist, Beyond Ink lead a solid session on mastering the fundamentals for a successful SEO strategy. The young Google group facilitated by Marie Davis, Helen Faley, Hilary Hughes and James Collins provided a very interesting session on how to maximize Google to drive online strategy focused on the classifieds sector.

Friday night was left free for delegates to make their own plans, in which many headed off to the Temple Bar area to take in some of that ever welcoming Irish hospitality!



Martha de la Torre chaired the Members Meeting which discussed the Head Office projects highlighting the new webinar series for the remainder of 2011 and into 2012, the marketing push for recruiting new members and highlighting the benefits of nominating a Rising Star. The 2012 budget was passed unanimously. The new fee structure has continued to help grow the Association with a current count at 70 current member companies. Josef Kogler announced he would be stepping down for the ICMA Board of Directors,  having served on the Board since 2006. Thank you Josef for your commitment to ICMA!  He will be moving to the Nominating Committee. The Nomination Committee proposed Tish Hill, CEO, UsedEveryWhere.com for the open board seat which was unanimously approved. We welcome Tish to the Board! 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, please feel free to contact Shay at shay@icmaonline.org.

Business Leaders’ Forum (BLF)

The BLF was chaired by Rob Hage, CEO, Farm Country Trader. Rob kicked things off by providing a review of key points made from the past BLF’s regarding Threats and Opportunities before digging deeper into discussion of old threats vs. new ones. After the coffee break the BLF focused on the opportunities welcoming Koen Vandaele to provide an update on their coupon initiative and Tish Hill on the socialization of their website. The final session of the day had Rob providing a workshop style case study of “Frassifieds” a project two years in the making which was a culmination of the take-aways gained through ICMA the past 3 years.

Bernie Veon, Vice President, Dominion Enterprises was nominated as chair for the ICMA Business Leaders’ Forum for the AFCP/ ICMA “Expanding Horizons” Global Summit 18-21 April in Atlanta, GA, USA and accepted the nomination.

Business Operations Forum (BOF)

The BOF was chaired by Jiri Voves, Director & Peter Varga, Director of Sales at Socialbakers. Jiri and Peter opened the session providing an introduction into Social Media content management and monitoring moving into what works and doesn’t work on Facebook rounding up with global best practices. The attendees were divided into small groups to find the key analytics in the classified business on Facebook and evaluate the current strategy. Their findings, along with suggestions to better optimize the classifieds business on Facebook were presented to the group after the break with a wrap up of the best and worst practices by Jiri and Peter.

Sales Managers Workshop (SMW)

The SMW was chaired by Mikko Ketola, Sanoma Digital Finland. Session I focused on people and teams discussing how to ensure you have the right people in the right places and managing top talent as well as low performers before moving into the Sales Excellence Basics “The Toolbox” of sales metrics, segmentation, using CRM, analytics and solution selling to name but a few. Session II discussed driving growth in a digital space using incentives as well as hitting on the different roles in sales.


The Gala Party was held at the one and only Guinness Store House. As ICMA had full reign the attendees were able to take a self-guided tour before making their way to the Arrol Suite for the welcome reception and delicious dinner of the most delectable beef ever tasted! It didn’t take long for one table in particular to stand apart from the others with a creative use of the napkins – need I say more! 🙂 As we made our way up over the Dublin skyline to the Gravity Bar we were welcomed with a panoramic view which had us “Dancing over Dublin” in no time! A grand evening with some ever memorable dances leaving us to wonder if that last number was choreographed? As Anirudh Zala from Fiare Oy so wonderfully put it “…. businesses and suppliers compete with each other but that is by Mind. By heart we all love each other very much and ICMA is that Heart. ”

Thank you to the outstanding speakers, facilitators and chairpersons for ensuring the 25th Anniversary conference was one not soon to be forgotten! A special thank you to the associate members and vendors, the ICMA Rising Stars and the ICMA Board of Directors for all of their support. And of course all of you who make ICMA the premier Association it is today!

We look forward to seeing you all again at the AFCP/ICMA “Expanding Horizons” Global Summit 18-21 April 2012 in Atlanta, GA, USA!