Slovenian portal interviews Lefti about traditional vs. new media and marketing (English version)

TS Media is a Slovenian media group and they sponsor the Diggit conference which will take place next week. They reached out to us to do an exclusive interview of Lefti about traditional vs. new marketing and media. The interview was published in Slovenia today on the popular news portal The interview was conducted by Srdjan Cvjetović.

Find the English translation of here:

Title: We are all media now

Question: Tell us more about yourself!

My name is Eleftherios Hatziioannou – also known as Lefti. I am a passionate human being first of all who loves travelling, food and books. It happened that I also tapped into marketing and new media in my life. I started my career in the traditional marketing space (sports marketing and advertising) and later pioneered social media for global player brands. I have an understanding for both the old and the new way of marketing which is what my clients find most useful. I know where they come from and where they need to go.

Question: What`s the difference between the old and the new way of marketing?

The old way of marketing was a ONE WAY street. Marketers created campaigns for their products/services with creative agencies, planned media budgets with media partners and then spend millions to disturb as many people as possible. The more money they spent the more people they could push into their “sales funnel” and the higher their chances that some of them would eventually become customers. Today (because advanced technology and different communication behaviours) this comfortable way of marketing has been interrupted. It does not work anymore – at least not as effective as before. People have a choice and voice. Marketing has become an open conversation now.

Questions: How did technology change advertising and where do you see the greatest impact?

I think that our job as marketers has never been more exciting than today. We never knew as much as we know today about our customers and prospects. We can actually serve them better than ever. Especially younger generations see the value of sharing more personal data because they want to enjoy services with real added value. Think of Gmail (the popular email service of google) for example: When you communicate about an upcoming holiday they show you cheap airline tickets and hotels instead of sexy underwear deals or even worse stuff. You can either say “hey, why do you listen to what I write” or you can see that this is actually better for you. The ads won`t go away anyway. Personally, I find it incredibly interesting how marketing can be super personal, relevant and just-in-time today. Think of the mobile boom. Very soon their will be more smartphones than humans on this planet. Imagine how this will change the game of advertising: 24/7 connected consumers, location-based services, personal insights,etc… Instead of hoping that people will pass our outdoor billboard we can really help customers when they are nearby and when they really need our service.

Question: Is there any technology or service that can be pinpoint as the one that changed the marketing game forever?

The revolution did not take place over night and because of one single technology or service. Many things came together: The internet going main-stream because of more affordable data plans and a broader and better infrastructure, new easy-to-use services and devices which turned the internet of data into the internet of people. Social media is the broad empowerment of human beings which has fundamentally changed the way we communicateand interact. Think about blogs and what they did to publishing. Think of Youtube and what it did to broadcasting. Think of Twitter and what it did to real-time news. And of course Facebook is flipping the world of marketing and media upside down with its self-service approach. Here comes everybody – we are all MEdia now.

Question: How did social media with its original intent of connecting people become a powerful marketing tool?

I think that social media and specifically social networks did not change their original intent at all. They do connect human beings and enable basic human behaviour. However, social media simply accelerate and facilitate what we already have been doing all the time. Didn`t you share good newswith friends, recommend good products/ services to family members or discuss current newswith neighbours in the past? What has changed though is the channel and the speed. We can act immediately today using our mobile phone for the good and bad of business and brands. Right here. Right now.

Question: With the rise of social media everybody has become a marketer. What about loosing control of your image and brand?

Of course there are always two sides of a story. The good news is that WOM (word-of mouth) can help us spread our messages much further and faster than before without spending additional money. The bad news is what I call “the naked organization”. Because of the internet and social media organizations have become open books. Their performance can be compared easily online, people (customers and employees) talk about them openly in social networks. If there is a weakness it will come out sooner or later. So the best thing we all can do is to give our best, to create the best products we can and give the best customer service ever – always! There is a saying I like very much and I think it can help us do the right things in daily life and business: “Integrity is doing the right thing – even when nobody is watching you!”

Question: What is the most common mistake advertisers do related to their digital efforts?

I think that the most difficult lesson to learn for marketers is that they are not in control anymore. They have to understand that they are part of a broader brand community. They are not the only people shaping the image of a brand. Everything and everybody communicates today. And this is really scary for most marketing and PR folks. It is against everything they have learned in the past. Shifting media dollars from traditional media into online ads will not fix the problem alone. We cannot apply old school tactics to a new world. Our job has become much more complicated, but we can learn our way to success. Great brands act like friends. They are always helpful, they gain trust by keeping their promises and they add real value to the lives of their customers – as simple as that. But it can be really difficult to get the basics right.

Question: Do you think social media make the world a better place?

I personally believe that digital/ social media enrich our lives – if used wisely. Education plays an important role in making people “wise” users. You can spend a full day online doing nothing at all or you can use the available tools to communicate,collaborate, connect and make a difference in this world. I have met incredible people online with whom I do business today. I learned from the best by following them and of course I do reach more people myself by being present on various platforms. Eric Qualman – author of Socialnomics – believes that social media make us better human beings after all. We are more transparent and therefore more careful. We don`t do nasty things (publicly) anymore because our moms (also on Facebook now) could find out! :)

My personal philospophy is that I don`t differentiate between leisure time and at work anymore. I am who I am. I am following my passions. I try to do what I love and love what I do. Of course I have strengths and I also have weaknesses – but this is who I am. Love me or leave me.

Thanks to TS Media for these really interesting questions! See you in Ljubiljana next week.

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