Estonian emarketing association and awards
altex is nearly 4years old (in May) and when we started there was not much going on in Estonian internet marketing field.
Now I am really pleased to say it’s changed a lot.
altex may have opened up the market but now I feel we can at last say we have an “internet marketing industry” in Estonia.
So to everyone involved, especially altex staff past and present… well done.
Now altex sees competition from all areas: from traditional advertising agencies who create a digital arm (Taevas Digital are one of the strongest IMHO), web development companies who offer added value services (ADM, Frukt, Web Media, Exact, Inspiral/Wiseman…I could go on) , other internet marketing agencies (Dreamgow, MRM, WMG etc), sub-specialists are starting to appear too (Trinidad [usability], Vare&Jaakola [Online PR]) and a number of independent freelancers/one-man-bands including ex-altex’s Oleg aka Advinci)
This is great.
We love competition because it keeps us alert to threats and opportunities, makes the market bigger, and it makes us all, as professionals, better at what we do.
By giving the client more choice it also raises the standard overall but there’s a problem with our new little industry…a couple actually.
1. Awards and Rewards
ERAL (The Estonian Advertising Association) have, up to now, been responsible for the “digital” awards but if you follow the conversation here (NOTE: ERAL WINNERS have been some of the most vocal in the demand for change, not just “sore losers” ;)) you will see that many in the industry (including me) thinks that ERAL have blown it. They are simply not fit to judge emarketing for whatever reason.
So we need a new ways of rewarding great work and making sure it is made public so people are honoured and keen to enter and win.
Plus we must not forget that for some people (not so much altex but this applies to the bigger design/advertising agencies) its really important for the awards to be officially recognised at an international level so that winners can gain entry to European Competitions.
There seems to be a couple of ways forward and I am assuming that ERAL will not be a candidate as they have shown zero respect for our industry so far.
a) Another organisation that can offer the status quo players some credibility and will LISTEN TO THE INDUSTRY could form a new award (or awards). One obvious candidate is the Art Directors Club as they have some Estonian experience and are recognised internationally. You might want to read this (Estonian comment from Velvet’s blog)
b) An insider’s industry award. A benevolent dictatorship / cooperative association. Mika Tuupola has been suggesting something based on the model used in Finland: GrandOne
Personally I think we need to somehow combine the two so the people’s choices are heard but we still have a titular head to gain “traditional respect”.
So I would like to see official awards for some categories and “peoples choices” for others so we get the best of both worlds.
What should the structure/ownership of the organisation be? Mmmm that needs some thought. I just hope greed does not drive the agenda.
I am in dialogue with both ADC and Mika and I am open to discuss/advise with any other potential candidates.
Whilst I do NOT see my role as a main player in the awards I DO want to offer my help to make sure Estonia gets a good system going.
I have also to say that, as a foreigner – a guest in Estonia – I don’t think its right that I should play a leading part. This award should be made by Estonians but expert foreign input from people like me and Mika should be welcomed.
2. Estonian Emarketing / Internet Marketing Association.
I am not the first to have this idea. I know many others have already. But there should be an association and imho it should have the main goal of:
ACTIVELY promoting the commercial interests of the members.
It could provide information, inspiration, assistance and credibility:
*Evidence that emarketing is good (so we persuade more people to buy in) e.g. proof that SEO has good ROI, or why social media helps xyz. These docs would be written by members or be translated version of reputable sources that Estonians would trust.
*A code of practice that members agree to e.g. NO SPAM, no doorways, hidden links, fair pricing, transparent complaints procedure etc.
*Links to presentations by members
*Calendar of events in Estonia
*List and profiles of members so its clear which companies offer what and at what level etc. Profiles can include free speech area and twitter, rss, etc feeds.
*Internal forum/wiki to discuss how to promote the members (in general)
*Members could get negotiated discounts to events etc.
*Association newsletter. One for members and one for non-members.
I obviously have not done a proper stakeholder analysis but whoever takes this on, should.
There would have to be different levels of membership:
*Student and Academics (we want to attract people into the sector don’t we?)
*Freelancers and FIE
*Companies who offer emarketing as an extra (eg an ad agency or web design company)
*Specialist emarketing agencies e.g. altex (and lets not forget mobile[the future] so people like mobi too)
I think it needs some considerable effort to set up and one full time administrator to recruit and promote.
Should it be paid or free?
How do we ensure best practice is followed?
Who decides who can join? and how to kick out rule breakers?
So many questions .. so much time needed.
One of the people who has been looking at the Association idea is Priit Kallas. A week or so ago he said he did not have time and there seemed to be no interest. However it now seems after a bit of prompting that he can find some time and is discussing it with “friends” as there obviously is some interest. The website Priit set up for the association is currently running as an SEO experiment (it only promotes a few companies/individuals).
Pls add your thoughts in Estonian or English here or on Mika’s blog or pingback (please) if you take the conversation somewhere else.