Recently AIM's assault force have returned from the world's largest mob of marketers in Munich - from the “Research & Results-2016“ exhibition. AIM was the only company presenting Ukraine at this supercool event. The Ukrainian Marketing Association asked Yuriy Shchyrin, CEO and Founder of the Agency of Industrial Marketing, how exactly Ukrainian temper and quick wit stirred up experienced and already a little bald German marketers. And why nowadays ambitious producers, even those who have own marketing departments, cannot do without services of professional marketing companies.
So, Yuriy, when the impressions from Munich and Research & Results are still fresh, I propose to start our conversation with the things which usually catch the eye from the very beginning. What surprised or impressed you most, even if this is off topic?
The first thing which was pleasant for me is that I felt a very young manager (laughing). On average TOP managers in western marketing companies are 10-15 years older than their Ukrainian colleagues. They are approximately 50-60 years old.
One more observation is that seminars were in high demand at the exhibition. Participants were not only busy working at the booth. They came to Munich not only to show themselves, but also to look at others. Everybody is interested in who, how and what way changes. For two pavillions, by the way, there were 7 seminar rooms. Rooms for 200-300 people were overcrowded. In Ukraine they are usually half-empty. Moreover, to get to the seminar one should have come half an hour earlier and waited in a queue.
What did they speak about in the seminars?
Mainly reports concerned the process of digitalization and the move of marketing into the online environment. They were also speaking about new marketing trends which could help companies change.
So, what are the new marketing trends, what is the world of marketing analytics busy with today and, the most important thing, how does it change? What did Research & Results exhibition show?
The most important conclusion and an eye-opener for me is that there is the process of converging all marketing directions into one ecosystem, the process of uniting all segments of these services. In other words, earlier analytics was a separate industry, software was also stand-alone, advertising, exhibitions, CRM-systems, loyalty programs and other kinds of services also stood separately from each other, but now they are uniting into a large cluster where everything makes one system. Big companies such as IBM, Google, offer a very wide range of services including analytical ones. Today the largest research agencies are not those which were considered as such 5 years ago, now the biggest research agency is Google. Virtually it is also the largest marketing agency which does research only partly. Now IT companies look like analytical ones and vice versa analytical companies look like IT ones; advertising agencies look like consulting ones. Everything is intertwined and changing very much. Now those companies which were recognised as unrivalled leaders 5-10 years ago, have even smaller exhibition booths than, let's say, some of software sellers. Today the winners are those companies which are the most progressive and can provide their clients with additional value. I can also add that the highest indicators of profit and growth are shown by those companies which are the closest to digital technologies and mechanisms connected with the work in the Internet. Methods of collecting data are also different today. From the reactive approach (when your opinion is got through polls) they shift to a behaviorial one. It is when you become a research object without even knowing about this. It happens along the whole chain irrespectively of the fact whether you buy something online or just connect to Wi-Fi at a petrol station. The amount of information available for making decisions doubles yearly. However, managers of companies remain the same, they cannot double their ability to process information. They understand that they have more opportunities and at the same time they feel discomfort that they cannot properly manage all the information which falls onto them from various sources and technologies. Moreover, in their companies they lack experts who could do this, their marketing departments cannot also trace everything. The things they focused on three years ago are not trendy now. It is a huge challenge.
In connection with such new challenges what are marketing agencies going to offer companies? What new solutions, technologies or methods can they already give?
Virtual reality is one of the newest trends. At the Research & Results exhibition I saw three companies which declared using virtual reality in marketing. However, ready products and solutions on the basis of virtual reality were not offered, but I think it is a matter of time and in the nearest future we will see such solutions. One more novelty is marketing 360 which allows to evaluate your consumer in different points of contact, communication channels and target segments as for his or her attitude towards you as a company, towards employees and suppliers, etc. This method is very close to us as in our practice we use Net Promoter Score (NPS), loyalty evaluation tests both at the level of a client-supplier and an employee-company.
As we got to your products, tell us what AIM company presented in Munich, how did you position yourselves?
I have noticed that at present a major management problem is how to implement industrial knowledge into a decision-making system. I see a solution to it in a set of certain tools which we apply at AIM. At the exhibition we presented a range of analytical services and marketing technologies developed to integrate necessary data into a decision-making system. Here belong proactive services, Market Connect including loyalty support, campaigning, and networking, services of marketing data integration to CRM and ERP.
Another part is connected with our new office in Krakow. As more and more Ukrainian companies are becoming interested in new markets, we made a conclusion that being in Ukraine without physical presence in other countries we won't be able to objectively evaluate all opportunities of foreign markets. That's why at the exhibition we presented our new Central European office in Krakow. AIM Poland will cooperate with clients and partners in the markets of Central Europe and will also carry out research and provide data necessary for our Ukrainian companies which plan to enter EU markets.
Yuriy, at the exhibition there were more than 200 companies from around the world – from America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Did you notice any differences between them, let's say, other approaches to work?
During two days of work we communicated with 50 companies. I can say that Japanese, Turkish, Argentinean companies have close models of work, and I didn't notice principle difference in methods and approaches to work with clients. On the contrary, I saw that they faced the same problems we did. These are the problems of isolation in foreign markets. Cultural differences between, for example, Arab and European worlds may be a certain barrier.
What else I noticed is that companies do not close themselves within one country, they do not work only in France, or, let's say, in Spain. By the way as for Spain. It was a real eye-opener for me that the biggest companies which do field research throughout the world are Spanish. We also follow this way, do not stay closed and localised. Moreover, AIM is already expanding its territory. AIM Poland is already working. At present we are opening our representative office in Germany to cover Western Europe
Well, to sum up what has been said, can you make some conclusions and forecast?
It is already obvious that digital models and methods of collecting data dominate. For instance, in Germany Amazon's e-commerce occupies 53% of all German e-commerce market. That is what we will see in Ukraine in 3-5 years. I think there will be several monsters which will capture all e-commerce in Ukraine. Today there are marketing companies, which serve e-commerce only. We won't avoid a modern trend called globalisation. We will also have a core of Ukrainian world brands which will work not in 4 post-Soviet markets as it is now but in 20-50 markets of the world. AIM is ready to help them in this (smiling).