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Hasta luego, see you later, au revoir, nägemist

hasta luego, see you later, au revoir, nägemist

As most of you know by now I recently sold my majority Altex stake to my co-directors Andri Viiand and Tõnis Hinnosaar but I would like to share some of my thoughts and feelings on my future, the future of internet marketing in Estonia (and beyond) and what I have learnt whilst working at Altex.

Tallinn Socialfest 2012 is my last gig for a long time and I firmly believe we have a great line up for the event which I will moderate. Especially gratifying for me is the fact that Professor David Phillips, a personal friend, will speak. It’s not to be missed. Be there or be square (as we used to say when I was a kid).

PLUG: DVision Interactive, Aegis Media, IF, Välisministeerium, Tere, Swedbank, Toyota, Elisa… just some of the names of companies attending

Social media marketing is still very misunderstood and it seems especially so in Estonia (perhaps only because it’s the geo-market I know best right now).
Facebook is not the answer, as David would say.
I am not personally aware of even one Estonian company who can hold their hand up and say that when they calculate the time and money invested in social media AS A WHOLE (not one campaign) has produced a positive ROI. I challenge all Estonian companies to prove me wrong. I would welcome being wrong.

The Facebook IPO is hilarious. If anyone imagines that Facebook can get away with re-prioritising the advertiser at the expense of the user to satisfy the new shareholders then they are mistaken. The usurpers will arise (and take over the asylum). Has anyone else noticed Facebook sucks on mobile and the ROI from their ads is poor compared to many other online channels. I predict their downfall in less than 5 years.

Ah mobile. The future is mobile. Almost all new websites (and campaigns) should be designed for mobile first rather than primarily for the desktop. The desktop is the “add on” if you like. Mobile at the centre please.

Big data is another big threat-opportunity. With vast quantities of data being gathered about people and businesses, how that data is manipulated in in the public domain is a serious concern for all. Companies who don’t have strategies to deal with big data will fail or fall.

Even more than ever content is king. The enormous range of content available to us as consumers means our benchmarks, expectations and demands for added value all increase. If you don’t have a clear “added value content strategy” for all your online marketing and communications…. you will fail.

And that means you have to be creative. Strategic creative people, with great intuition, will be even more in demand than ever before, perhaps only slightly less in demand than data analysts (another growth area). But be warned, there will be death by data. Over analysis without solid business development interpretation will kill you (slowly, admittedly). The ultimate online marketing ninjas will be people who can quickly, really quickly, analyze and interpret data and produce insights together with creative, content rich “solutions” to leverage their findings. All others must and will serve them.

Although my day to day involvement in Altex after Tallinn Socialfest will effectively be nil, I am, and will be, involved in a limited number of “special projects”. One of them is to run a competition to find creative ideas. You can read more about it and enter here (deadline June 20)

Performance advertising is on the increase and paying for performance according to IAB 2011 figures accounts for over 60% of all online advertising globally. That’s something. That’s why www.pay4results.eu is growing so fast I suppose. In the Baltics the number is lower. I would estimate maybe 20% of spend is performance based. It shows, to me, that performance advertising in the Baltics is set to BOOM.

Obviously “leaving” my baby (Altex) is hard in some ways but the new parents are kind and clever and I know he will will be well looked after and grow up healthy and wise.

I work in the “people business” and I have worked with many over the years at Altex and I want to praise one person who I have enjoyed working with the most. Perhaps it’s unfair to single just one person out but there you go. It’s Merle Ainsoo, Altex’s unsung designer hero for nearly 5 years. She is a joy to work with. Together we have created tonnes of successful campaigns and websites. Thank you Merle. Altex would not be where it is without you. You win the “Robin’s favourite employee/co-worker of all time” award. NOTE: I excluded my wife and co-founder Birgit Naur because that could be construed as discrimination but it’s fair to say that Altex would not be where it is without her either!

My personal future is full of creativity, travel and study.
After driving down to the Ukraine to watch the EURO 2012 group games [BTW I had a vision and England beat Germany in the final 3-0 (Rooney hat trick)] I will return on Jaanipäev to start a lazy summer in Võsu, restore a Riga 7 moped (thanks due to Raul Aarma for identifying it), continue writing my first book (a children’s novel about a cow and an octopus) and commit (a bit) more time to study neuromarketing. BTW I have started curating a magazine about neuromarketing if you are interested.

In the winter I will head with my family to the Philippines for the foreseeable future where apart from the joy of sun and sea I will be able to dedicate more time to my wonderful wife and kids and release my creative bent (the book, sculptures, a performance installation and perhaps even a short movie).

So thanks to everyone (I can’t name you all) who have helped Altex, or me personally, directly or indirectly over the last 7 years.
I am gone but not gone.
Special projects await and I am sure I will find them challenging and rewarding.
May the force be with you.

Robin Gurney

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There are 2 comments .

Andrus Purde

Job well done, Robin – congrats, enjoy and I’m sure we meet again!

Andri, Tõnis – congrats to you too, and godspeed!

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Meelis —

Good luck with the new projects and everything! 🙂

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