December 4, 2001 Volume 1 Issue 28
Direct Marketing & Central Europe
Solvenia. Croatia. Bosna i Hercegovina.
Not exactly what you think of when you think of hot beds of Direct Marketing. These countries have come into their own over the last decade. With the fall of the Berlin wall, the break-up of the old USSR and the divisions in what Tito held together as Yugoslavia ... something "new" is alive and well in central Europe.
You may not title them "hot beds". And I'd agree. At least today. Still, they are certainly very deep into Direct Marketing. I know ... I've been there. Several times over the last few years. Twice in less than 12 months. And DM is alive, well and growing. Like a "weed".
Let's begin with Slovenia (also spelled by those of us steeped in English Slovenija) is a beautiful land. No war here ... a few days of bumps ... a change at the border - and everything just continued. Nice. Much better than guns and ammo.
The country side is rolling green hills with excellent 2 lane black top roads between city and country. Great for motorcycle riding. And I know the Harley-Davidson dealer! Ljubljana is the main city. Wide roads, a street car system that works, a work ethic that begins early.
Television, radio, newspapers and outdoor signage are important. As are speciality magazines - those of the vertical variety. The place is "wired" ... everyone in business has a computer and E-mail address. Over half have a computer at home, too. The kids are growing up with it as I did with the telephone; "assumed".
Speaking of the telephone, if you don't have a cell phone you are not in business. Your customers "assume" you are available by phone 24/7.
A full 90% percent of the attendees at my seminars have web sites. Direct mail is alive and well ... the post office works. Yet, the marketplace is "hot" for the "E" age. All my "communication" to set up my week of seminars in the region was done by E-mail. Oh, and in the cities of Slovenia I had access to E-mail as easily as anywhere I've ever been.
My host is Vito Komac (firstname.lastname@example.org), who with his partner Uros Mocnik (Uros.Mocnik@pro-pro.net), are in the communication business. They offer a successful sales magazine named PROPro. To support the total effort they also stage a series of seminars for their clients and prospects. They are well known and respected in their marketplace.
Now, a visit to Croatia. Which is territory for Uros (different E-mail, too ... email@example.com). Although the drive is less than 2 hours to Zagreb from Ljubljana, the differences are acute. As war did come to Croatia. It's been gone a while - all is well now. Which is good. Yet, you can see it. And "feel" it. It is obvious; the infra-structure is not so good. Not as strong as with their friendly neighbor.
There are many large companies. 35%+ of those in attendance at the seminar were with companies of 250 employees or more. Most of them had sent more than a single employee to the day we had together. All of which explains why Vito and Uros have set up shop here.
In Zagreb you have a cell phone because the regular phone system is so poor. Mail delivery is not as reliable (there were several from Hrvatska Posta and Croatian Post & Telecom in the seminars). Lots of outdoor posters about the cities and countryside. Radio is big. Fair amount of television.
And yes, the street cars run frequently, and on time. The streets are European narrow - people park on the curbs, because there are fewer places to park. Here I met the Harley dealer, too. Next time we're going riding together!
Split, a seacoast resort town, looks very much like all those along the Mediterranean. Similar to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida USA. And the beaches outside Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It too has a "feel". Did a seminar there ... it was good time fun.
In Croatia Uros offers a second magazine; marketingUP. Which is just what it says, a marketing, direct marketing publication.
My first visit to Croatia we talked Direct Marketing generally. This time it was E-mail marketing and web marketing specifically. With "live" links, so we could discuss and evaluate web sites. Oh, E-mail worked for me out of the hotel, too. Worked just fine.
Customer service is a hot topic. I was approached about staging a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) seminar on my next tour. I find this interesting ... in a place where loyalty has been in short supply, CRM is a major consideration.
Bosna i Hercegovina is next. War came here big time. It's been 5 years in repair ... and the repair is still going on.
Still, I felt very comfortable. Uros introduced me to his partner, Ante Suton. A basketball player when he was a few years younger ... now a true entrepreneur. Ante is running a large operation ... HERCEtisak. A printer of just about everything - including both the sales and marketing magazines mentioned earlier. They have a very impressive place.
This was my first visit to the Mostar area. Seminar success was obvious, when the venue was changed to accommodate the response. It was almost overwhelming. Which is always nice for me - much nicer for Uros and Ante.
Here "everyone" works together. Many times over coffee - a strong brew that not only "kick-starts" everyone every day ... it is the social and business bridge with people. The day was full - the audience attentive. No one feel asleep ... could have been they were wired off the coffee! ... most everyone stayed all day. Response was truly outstanding. Many, many questions.
And they hung around at lunch time and afterwards, too. i.e., a dozen people from the Hrvatska Posta cornered me to talk serious direct mail. They want to make it work - and are working at doing just that. Several advertising agencies asked about Direct Marketing. And how to best use the discipline with their clients. I am impressed.
This part of Europe is jumping. The European Union is several years away from laying their blanket over the area. Meaning for now there is much more flexibility to do what needs to be done. To test. To try new things.
Again, it was an exciting experience for me. Already I've received a number of E-mails from those I met. Making comments, asking questions, sharing ideas. The iron curtain came down ... a door opened. And it is truly fun to be a part, with the people on the other side of that door, as they become a part of the rest of the world.
Watch 'em grow. This "new" audience is already important in the region. Soon in Europe. The world is not far from their grasp.
The idea behind quotations is knowledge. Sure, some are funny, vs. being intellectual. Still, all offer something worthy.
This week is a line from a truly anonymous Quaan print advertisement - run during the hot dot.com days;
"Perhaps true wisdom is not possessing knowledge,
Ah, how true!
"Quotes with Direction" has been a part of my web site collection from day one. If you like quotes visit the archives ... www.rayjutkins.com/quotes/. There's a new batch up every 4 weeks.
A FREE Audio Tape for YOU!
Because Ray Speaks ... it is expected he'll have audio and video tapes.
Why? To share with speakers bureaus, meeting planners and others interested in what he may have to say. So "yes", there is an audio tape. And he'll be happy to send you a copy. FREE. No strings attached.
The tape is a selection from several speaking gigs. A few case histories, some "how to..." ideas. And such. About an hour's worth of chatter ... some of it actually very entertaining!
If you'd like your very own copy, send an E-mail to ...
Oh, when you have a need for a speaker, and feel a demo video tape could be valuable to you, just ask for a copy. Not much use for video these days - with the Web - still, we'll be happy to forward one to you. Just ask.
Over the past couple of months I've enjoyed a number of speaking engagements.
In Asia. In Europe. And a number of USA locations. In fact, this is the first week I've spent time in my office since mid-October.
The "speaking season" is much slower during the holidays. So, this is a good time to tell you about my special BONUS:
when you invite me to speak at your special event, conference, corporate meeting or association gathering, you get your choice of 100 FREE copies of either my book Power Direct Marketing, or the audio/booklet direct mail package titled Magic Marketing Minutes!
For details, E-mail Ray@RayJutkins.com, fax +1+928+244-6148, or phone me at 1+928+785-9400.
The Postal Worker World
This is an idea from the States that can work in every country around the world.
A nationwide USA campaign is underway to honor postal workers who are on the front lines daily. In support of carriers, clerks, mailhandlers, drivers and all those in-between, everyone is being asked to tie navy blue ribbons around their mailbox poles.
This is a wonderful opportunity to honor postal employees. Another group we have taken for granted. Yet, many are quiet heroes, and share our commitment to keep your nation "United" ... by keeping the mail moving. Please tie a blue ribbon around your mailbox pole and spread the word!
No matter where you live.
by ROCKINGHAM*JUTKINS*marketing, all rights reserved.