“Synergy”: “the combined power of a group of things when they are working together which is greater than the total power achieved by each working separately”

In this time of transition, when most classified media companies are having to juggle with falling, yet still significant, print revenues with the business and technological challenges of mastering a whole new set of digital channels, just keeping the whole outfit going can seem an achievement in itself. Yet, if you take the time to step back and look at the whole of the business, there are countless areas where potential synergies can be identified and exploited to deliver real bottom-line benefits.

The Brussels GM programme is designed to showcase some of the best strategies for classified media publishers to unlock the synergies in their businesses, as well as introduce some of the new and innovative technologies which will support your overall strategy in 2008 and beyond…

The format of the General Meeting will be slightly different to previous conferences as it will start with a Welcome Reception and Dinner on Wednesday 14th May, not with a lunch and afternoon activity as before. Registration will begin at 9am on Thursday 15th May and the Keynote Address will kick off the formal sessions at 11am.

Active networkers (and we know there are many amongst you all!) and longer-haul delegates can therefore plan to arrive on Wednesday (or before) and settle in, whereas more local participants can opt to fly in on Thursday morning if they prefer. Please check the programme timings carefully for more details.

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Wednesday 14 May

GM Brussels

19.00 – 22.30
Welcome Reception and Dinner

Thursday 15 May

GM Brussels

19.00 – 22.30
Welcome Reception and Dinner
08.00 – 11.00
ICMA Committee Meeting
09.00 – 11.00
11.00 – 12.30
Chairperson’s Opening
Keynote Address

The opening presentation of the Brussels GM will be a wide-ranging overview of the classified media industry in which many players are transitioning from the simplicity of a single analogue channel to the challenges afforded by today’s interactive, fluid world where success requires a constant two-way communication with both users and advertisers. How can publishers develop a “smart” culture and set of policies where all initiatives support and complement each other?

Keynote speaker:
Peter Krasilovsky – Program Director – Marketplaces, Kelsey Group, USA
14.00 – 17.30 SESSIONS 2 & 3

In response to popular demand, the rotating workshop sessions will be extended to 45 minutes each, repeated 4 times with a total of 6 topics to choose from. You’ll be spoilt for choice!

Workshop 1 – Monetizing search

You know it’s crucial to driving marketshare online but do you know how to make it contribute to your bottom line? Case-studies and answers to lots of questions from one of Europe’s leading technology providers

Simon Baptist – Strategic Product Manager, Fast Search and Transfer, Norway
Workshop 2 – Moving pictures – the possibilities of video advertising

First there was text, then photos, then colour, now many sites are investigating the potential of video to attract advertisers and add value for users. How can you deploy this effectively with your print and online products?

Nuno Carvalho – CEO, Zondavanced, Portugal
Workshop 3 – Do-It-Yourself – how to leverage self-service interfaces

The majority of self-service advertisers “upsell” themselves and spend more money, yet far too many booking processes are also abandoned halfway through. Learn the do’s and don’t’s of designing and implementing a self-service interface that will deliver for you.

Gerhard Koehle – Head Portal Manager, Informmedia/VM Group, Austria
Workshop 4 – The power of community

It’s well-known that “people buy people” and we all feel more comfortable doing business with someone we know and trust. How can classified media businesses involve their advertisers and users to help develop that sense of community which facilitates commerce?

Peter Rees – Managing Director, PR Strategic Marketing Ltd, UK
Workshop 5 – On the move – what’s new in the mobile space?

After all the buzz about mobile in Amsterdam, here’s an update on the latest developments in mobile classifieds from one of the leading service providers.

Sacha Vekeman – VP Business Development and Co-Founder, Mobiya Ltd, Belgium
Workshop 6 – Marketing online – the latest innovations

A showcase of how to choose and implement key interactive functionalities to enhance your online offering

Frederic Apers – Managing Director, Wildstream, Belgium
Evening Traditional Belgian “beer-tasting dinner” at the Drug Opera

Friday 16 May

GM Brussels

09.00 – 10.30 SESSION 1
two plus two doesn’t always equal four – how channels can combine to be more than the sum of their parts.

A real-life example of convergence right in the heart of Europe, a joint venture between a directory publisher and a newspaper company which operates two leading classifieds titles. What’s the strategic rationale behind this approach, and what is the practical result?

Dorian Selz – Co-Founder and CEO,, Switzerland
Reverse-publishing – strategically valuable or actually profitable?

If you can take print content and re-purpose it online, surely, the opposite is true and print products can be created out of content which has been gathered cheaply online? But make sure you define your objectives clearly and follow these best-practice guidelines for success.

Jan-Pieter Oosting – Managing Director, WorldYacht BV/Yachtfocus, The Netherlands
Mining the verticals

Many analysts agree that increased specialisation and concentration of communities into vertical products is the real future of classifieds, but it’s not quite as easy as all that. Developing and growing verticals is a specialist science and this presentation will take you through the main do’s and don’t’s.

Erol Demirtas – General Manager, Hurriyet Emlak, Turkey
11.00 – 12.30 SESSION 2
Through the looking glass – ideas and innovation in magazine classifieds

How have magazines tackled the classified challenges that we’ve been facing in recent years? One of the sector’s most experienced operators, Cathy Neale, will describe how IPC’s centralized classified department has identified and leveraged synergies within and across magazine brands, deepened their relationship with readers/users through online marketing programmes, and exploited the organisational and knowledge-sharing capabilities of the centralized department. Lots to take away…

Cathy Neale – Group Ad Director, IPC Magazines, UK
“You say tomayto, I say tomarto”

One user’s pram might by another’s pushchair or even stroller, so how can technology help publishers improve the drilling down experience for the user? i.Know’s intelligent “free-text” search not only helps classify and cross-reference ads according to their content, but it also opens up many monetization opportunities across your site.

Michael Brands – CEO, i.Know, Belgium
Different channel, same brand?

The value of an established brand is considerable but what happens if that brand is very closely associated with the print channel; does it make sense to try to extend the same brand online, or would it be better to start again with a dedicated online brand? A brand expert gives her view.

Sabine Müller – Managing Director, Interbrand, The Netherlands
14.00 – 15.30 SESSION 3
Panel session: Leveraging and enhancing your advertising content

Gone are the days when a classified media site contained just ads; nowadays users demand price analysis and comparisons, mapping tools, user reviews of products or sellers, informative forum content, background details on neighbourhoods for property sites and much more. How can publishers identify and extract this key information from their existing data, and who can they partner with to deliver the additional value that their users expect? A panel of publishers and service providers discuss their approach

Panel chairperson:
Peter Rees – Managing Director, PR Strategic Marketing Ltd, UK
Claus Andersen – CEO, Bilbasen Aps, Denmark
Duncan Dunlop – General Manager, Oodle UK Ltd, UK
Christophe Glorieux – CEO, Vacature, Belgium
16.00 – 17.30 SESSION 4

closed session for a maximum of 30 senior executives

A repeat of the immensely successful session from Amsterdam with some new, ever-more relevant areas to discuss. This 90-minute session will bring publishers together in an informal and relaxed forum to discuss some pre-researched metrics.

The aim is to ‘get behind’ the numbers and really understand what business decisions and strategies can impact these key markers. Participants will be asked to submit in advance a maximum of 10 easily-established business metrics (e.g. % annual growth in online revenue, or sales channel breakdown) relating to the principal areass of their business. These will be shared with the session attendees, and then discussed in small groups, so that participants can quiz the star performers on how they have achieved their results, and in turn share their best practices with the group. A fantastic opportunity to ask all the questions you’ve always wanted to!

Participation in this session is included in the registration fee, please indicate when registering that you wish to participate so that Head Office can send you the list of required metrics.

Or: “Speed-dating”

No, we’ve not entered the match-making business, but as networking is such an important part of ICMA GM’s, we thought we’d mix business with pleasure in this session! Participants will have 3 minutes to introduce themselves and share their best business idea (make sure it delivered measurable results!). Prizes for the best-ranked “dates” and the clock starts now…

Evening Free time to enjoy Brussels with colleagues and new contacts…

Saturday 17 May

GM Brussels


Following on from Gerald’s stellar performance in Amsterdam, Rob Paterson and Josef Kogler will be replacing Genevieve LeBrun (who has an unavoidable scheduling conflict) as joint chairs of the Brussels Publishers’ Meeting.

They will lead the senior executives in addressing the burning question “What are our businesses going to look like in the future and how will we earn money?”

The discussions will tackle the topics of content, technology, print, sales, organization and online, and will challenge publishers to analyse these key areas to identify potential synergies and to devise appropriate strategies for each. Plus a special “vision of the future” session in small workgroups, a must-not-miss meeting for all!

Rob Paterson – Group Managing Director, Friday-Ad Ltd, UK
Josef Kogler – CEO, Inform Media (Hungary/Romania)

It’s a welcome return for Sally Winfield, former MD of Loot, and regular contributor to ICMA events on her speciality, classified ad sales. Sally will be galvanizing tomorrow’s publishers with a programme of practical and effective initiatives which will inspire debate and discussion amongst all the participants. Knowing Sally, it’ll be an interactive format with the opportunity for plenty of input which will result in some excellent ideas to return to the office with – not to be missed!

Sally Winfield – Consultant, SW Consultancy Ltd, UK

The 2007 audit and Committee elections – come and get involved in your Association! The full agenda is already available and if you are not planning to attend the Business Meeting, your vote can still count. Please complete and return a proxy voting form to Head Office by Friday 2 May to transfer your vote to another member.

Evening ICMA Gala Party (separate ticket)