Doing bold, authentic and truthful marketing pays off
Published 5/8/2012

Thursday, May 3rd was the date of the 13th Marketing Management Congress. More than 130 participants met in Prague Boscolo Hotel to make sure, whether courage has not still vanished from the Czech marketing. Also disproving marketing myths and misconceptions were on the program. Although agencies and clients mainly lack the will to pursue more ambitious ideas, the local and foreign examples shared at the congress brought a welcomed inspiration for the participants, and perhaps even a motivation to break a vicious circle of the Czech convenience, apathy and cowardice.

The first part of the program considered whether there are still old proven recipes in the marketing kitchen or whether we should cook differently. Václav Sochor, editor of Czech Radio, opened it by these words: "The whole block will be about the courage to do things differently or perhaps even about the courage to do things in the same way, but very well."

Martin Mravec, Managing Director, GfK Czech Republic and Slovakia, provided a basic overview of the changes on the side of consumers in Central and Eastern Europe. Presented charts and numbers concerned primarily with the penetration of the Telco and Internet technologies, and also with increasing price sensitivity of customers. Mravec said that while price remains the main criterion in shopping decision, the access to customers and quality of offer play an important role too. "Children must obey their parents; companies should listen to their customers." The way how to calm marketing according to Mravec is through the reduction of unfounded praise and restrictions on discounts communication. Product or brand should be promoted in a smart, clear and transparent manner. The key is the addressed communication with existing clients.

As the next, Marketing Director of Bohemia Sekt Martin Fousek gave a speech. "I'm here to say that we don't have to do everything differently." Bohemia Sekt remains loyal to television advertising combined with advertisements in the cinema, press and indoor - restaurants and retail stores. However he does not refuse also new platforms and technologies, and new work with the content, such as product placement. "Internet campaigns and Facebook are necessary spices of classic campaigns." According to Fousek, it is not so important to sort marketing tools on new and old ones, important is its correct usage: "80% of all so massively used QR codes, for example, lead to pages that are not adapted for mobile applications".

Martin Jaroš, Vice President of marketing communications, T-Mobile, spoke about courage in marketing: "Even with things you are doing remarkably well, try to do just a little something differently. You can't break all the rules, but you can keep them only from 80% and 20% do otherwise." Martin presented four entertaining stories about the four types of courage: to be different, to go the battle even if it seems to be lost in advance, the courage to make a changes and to make a mistake and correct it. All of the stories were joined by the idea of "Doing things authentically and communicate them truthfully pays off. Courage is a necessary character for marketers".

Moderator of the second conference block Jan Binnar from McCANN Erickson has legitimately provided the largest space for Rikki Drori, Marketing Director of Google for southern and Eastern Europe. Its vibrant, clear and comprehensive presentation focused on the list of eight fundamental innovative principles and their involvement in Google marketing. Participants appreciated openness of Google company in both internal and external communication and readiness to adoption of good ideas: "Ideas have no limits, they can come from anywhere, from the customers or junior managers from remote countries". Also the proclaimed readiness to risk in the favour of speed was sympathetic: "It is better not to improve things to full perfection, but to launch them on the market and iterate". Very important was the final message "Make it Matter" – the involvement of Google as media with the ability to affect a lot of people and facilitate positive developments.

The directors of marketing, Jiri Vlasak of Kofola and Denisa Schulzová of FTV Prima, spoke about the current case study of joint product development and launch of the energy drink Semtex Cool. This local experiment is remarkable by speed, the involvement of own employees into creative campaign and related cost savings. Partner cooperation will help to strengthen the channels of communication that are not the domain of each side. "Kofola obtains the optimal broadcast times for the advertising of Semtex Cool on Prima Cool. Prima thus gains the materialization of their brand in the form of a product that can successfully address fans on social networks or in places of consumption - in restaurants or at summer music festivals." 

Jan Vágner concluding the morning programme has provided instructions how not to be afraid to succeed, alias the four pillars of Ravak company success. In his opinion it is important to innovate constantly, not only products, but also their offer, and not to be afraid to ask people what they need in order to map the changing needs of customers.

Pavel Řehák, CEO of Czech insurance bank (Česká pojišťovna) opened the block of „Young CEOs“with his story how to change the former biggest Czech insurance company. He presented the changes that Česká pojišťovna passed through since 2010. "There is no way to shake the firm via marketing. I naively thought that when you change the advertising and communications, the company will move somewhere, but it doesn't work." The organisation was ruled by "intellectual arrogance" when employees thought that the Česká pojišťovna has always been in the market and so will be in future as well. To work in the company, which has existed since the year 1828 is, above all, a commitment. The main problem of the changes enforcement is apathy: "When people start to talk about change, it does not mean that they are willing to do something. Apathy is a typical disease of Czechs."

Jakub Havrlant, CEO Allegro Group completed this opinion: "Marketing is the key activity, that can decide about success or failure. But if the inner mechanism of the company is not prepared, then the marketing itself cannot help." In his speech he accented the differences between small and large firms and their behaviour on the market. Description of the management of Allegro Group portfolio business was interesting, but unfortunately said nothing about the differences of marketing of its individual parts.

The youngest CEO in the framework of the block was the co-founder and Managing Director of Socialbakers Jan Řežáb. He started his business already when he was 14 years old, and now he expands to the global market. "If you want to break out, you must forget the Czech market.The Czechs are envious and making trouble, afraid of failures, do not have the courage to establish start-ups. Small businesses are at the same time much more innovative. Any marketer can become a support for start-ups. Such good experience might give him a great joy and fulfilment. "If you don't like your job, give it up, establish your company and make arrangement with the colleague sitting right now next to you, to give you the order."

The final discussion panel related to "the truth and the false in the marketing communication" was chaired by the co-founder of the Marketing Institute Tomáš Poucha. Performance of individual panellists and the subsequent discussion was in the spirit of relaxation after the whole day busy schedule. Very amusing was especially the speech of Jan Hanuš of the company Nobuu, who criticised the myths and prejudices regarding the format of presentations. "We are a small country and all of us have received similar training sessions on presentation skills. If we strictly follow them, our performances will be just one me-too." Voices of laughter in the room followed also the contribution of Petr Šourek, founder of the travel agency Corrupt Tour: "I don't know anything about marketing. We only added to the four marketing Ps the fifth one – politics."

The following discussion centered around the fear of marketers from new points of view, varying environment and from the numbers. "The variable environment cannot be an excuse for lack of strategy." In relation to numbers, there occurs either the concept of technocratic approach (apotheosis of numbers) or humanizing approach (fear of them), but nothing in between. According to Tomas Hrivnák of Idealisti, we are missing the contextualization: "The numbers are just a data information that needs to be interpreted."

The problem is the work of some agencies. While the range and depth of the problems on the side of clients is growing exponentially, the ability to understand them by advertising agencies grows only linearly. In addition, what agencies produce here, is totally incomparable with what they do elsewhere in the world. We clearly lack the motivation for bolder ideas by both agencies and clients. However, the proposal, to reinforce such cooperation models, when both parties agree to share the risks, including the division of profits and losses depending on success/failure of the marketing campaign, did not trigger much interest.

Media contact:
Blue Events
Zuzana Mračková, Client Service Manager
Tel.: +420 222 749 841, e-mail:,

Information on the event:
When/where: 3. května 2012, Boscolo Prague
Organizers: Blue Events in cooperation with Marketing Institute

Conference Web:
Twitter: #Marketing_mng