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Interview with Christian Muche and Frank Schneider from dmexco

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Muche Schneider Dmexco

Frank Schneider, 49, member of the dmexco Board of Directors holds the position of Director Marketing, Sales & Operations. Muche Schneider Dmexco

Christian Muche, 46, member of the dmexco Board of Directors is responsible for the areas Business Development, Strategy & International.

Facts and figures dmexco 2012:
dmexco is the international leading expo & conference for the digital industry. Comprising of a unique combination between an exposition and a conference it stands for innovative and future-oriented marketing in the midst of a global growth market.dmexco 2012 – in Cologne on September 12 & 13 – will see around 500 renowned exhibiting companies from all over the world, more than 350 international conference speakers, 20,000 trade visitors from all over the world. For trade visitors the dmexco is free of charge! All information at www.dmexco.com.

1. You recently went on a US on behalf of dmexco. What were your observations? Is the dmexco receiving acceptance on an international level and in particular in the USA?

Christian Muche, Director Business Development, Strategy & International dmexco

“In the USA the dmexco is also already considered to be the leading global digital industry expo and conference event. As such the perception that the dmexco is the industry’s number one event is indeed international. Over the past few years we have certainly set the right course with our clear and unmistakable positioning of the dmexco.Our discussions with diverse US-American decision-makers from all market segments has really underlined this impressively: Apart from a few rare exceptions we didn’t have to do any explaining at all, most of our discussion partners were already familiar with the dmexco – or had indeed already paid a visit to the event personally! When it comes down to expanding business relations beyond their domestic market, the dmexco makes the ideal central business platform thanks to its international high standing.”

2.  How did the discussions go? Who did you talk to?

Frank Schneider, Director Marketing, Sales & Operations dmexco

“Primarily, we met up with multiplicators and potential new exhibitors. Since the dmexco is already very well-known in the USA, the doors were quite literally held wide open to us and we received thoroughly positive feedback. Above all leading real-time bidding specialists from the USA are relying on the dmexco 2012. Interesting new exhibitors in this segment include for instance AppNexus, PubMatic and OpenX. And we are currently holding discussions with further Northern American companies such as Casale, Sojern, adacado, YuMe and Rocket Fuel.”

3. What demands/expectations do the international participants, exhibitors and speakers have regarding the dmexco?

Christian Muche

“Both the visitors and the more than 350 conference speakers expect a uniform high standard of quality regarding the contents presented at the expo and the conference and beyond this also a comprehensive opportunity to establish contacts and exchange experiences at a high level. We manage to combine this diversity of expectations by providing on the one hand a clear spatial and conceptual framework and on the other hand by creating many individual solutions for a huge spectrum of requirements. However, above all the desire for a clear orientation regarding the contents for the coming months and years as well as realisable visions is one of the priorities of all the participants. The dmexco satisfies these demands because we bring outstanding brands and celebrities together in a distinctive environment and act as a quality distributor for all of the international markets.”

Frank Schneider

“For the exhibitors the actual business relevance of an event is of prime importance, since such a commitment always involves an investment. London as the European hub for American companies entering the European market has lost a large share of the business to our expo marketplace. For US firms the dmexco is now the door opener for their international business. Of course it is our full intention to satisfy this demand.”

4. Which new US-American companies have you been able to win over for the dmexco?

Frank Schneider

“Many of the absolute US giants are already among our exhibitors: Facebook, Google, eBay, Microsoft, Amazon, Yahoo! and many more. In addition to the real-time bidding specialists already mentioned above we will be joined in 2012 by the following names from the US market: Digital Element, MediaShakers Advertising Network, sterkly, Undertone, Social iQ Networks, DataXu and Evidon, all of whom will be exhibiting at the event for the first time this year. Real big players such as MySpace and Spotify will also be represented in Cologne, where they will be presenting their alignment as an entertainment platform to discover, share and experience music for the first time worldwide.”

5. In February you were already able to announce 40 percent more registrations than for the same time period of the previous year. Is this positive trend in the exhibitor registrations ongoing? What is the current situation in hard figures?

Frank Schneider

“Fortunately, this trend has continued. In April before the official exhibitor deadline we were able to record around 500 exhibitors from all over the world. Of course, we are still negotiating with several companies who are interested in participating; both expo halls will be completely fully booked. Ultimately, this means that there is once again a healthy 20 percent growth in the overall surface area, so that the total exhibition space will span over 50,000 m². Primarily, thanks to our Satellites and the Country Pavilion concept we have been able to register increased demand from Great Britain, Austria, Switzerland and the BeNeLux countries.”

6. How has the focus shifted – compared to last year – with regards to the exhibitors? Which theme categories have grown – and which have lost in significance in terms of the number of exhibitors?

Frank Schneider

“In addition to a further increased internationalisation through the participation of top exhibitors from all over the world – we are for example looking forward to welcoming Yandex, our first exhibitor from Russia – we are particularly recording a clear rise in the number of eCommerce companies, who have recognised the central role of the dmexco and are switching from other events to ours. Naturally, the general good growth in the multi-channel and dialogue marketing sectors also plays an important role. Moreover, segments such as video advertising and mobile are showing a clear trend towards growth.”

7. To what extent does the structure of the registered exhibitors also reflect the current trends of the digital industry?

Frank Schneider

“This correlation can indeed be observed at every dmexco event. One thing that is noteworthy this year for instance is the significant increase in the stand sizes of companies from the dialogue marketing, video advertising, eCommerce and payment sectors. More and more agencies are deciding to show presence at the dmexco too. And from an international point of view the dmexco plays a central role for many specialised suppliers when it comes down to presenting their own portfolios and entering new markets.”

8.  What do you consider to be the five strongest trends of the global digital industry at present?

Christian Muche

“The dmexco is the trend barometer for the marketing, media and technology industries. As such it has to present itself at least as diversely as the global digital industry. However, certainly topics like brand building, social business, AdTrading or real-time bidding, multi-channel, big data, SmartTV, customer experience and of course digital creativity have to be emphasised. We will of course encounter these and further trends in Cologne in September.”

9.  The mobile sector is a separate exhibitor category at the dmexco.Is it appropriate to award this sector such a large significance still?Shouldn’t it be integrated into other areas such as “Commerce”, “Social” or “Targeting” instead? (… in the sense of a strategy that reaches the target group of the “LoMoSos” effectively and befitting the situation)

Frank Schneider

“As dmexco exhibitors, renowned giants such as Nokia, Telefonica, Gettings, Adfonic, YOC and InMobi are clearly demonstrating the high status of mobile.But the digital industry is always represented holistically at the expo. And this includes all channels, forms, application areas and first and foremost all participants of the value chain – from the agencies to technology providers, specialists and marketers through to the media.Naturally, this results in several interfaces and thematic overlaps.The idea behind the current exhibitor categories is to try and provide all of the dmexco visitors with a perfect overview.Thus, many of the exhibitors can be found in several categories.”

10.  Brands have to provide experiences more than ever today. What can digital communication channels achieve in terms of brand experience?

Christian Muche

“Brand messages have been conveyed via digital channels at least as emotionally as via classic media for quite some time.Furthermore, they enable a direct response as well as the direct exchange between the relevant target groups.Brands can communicate with the consumers in a considerably more agile and real way by linking contents and technologies such as for instance moving images or targeting and active communities.In my opinion above all products can be represented in a much more tangible form too – especially when they are equipped with and linked directly to digital technologies, for example trainers with an integrated chip, the intelligent car or household appliances that think independently.In order to satisfy the demand for this “world of experiences”, we are planning to integrate these products and brands within the dmexco this year and in subsequent years and enable the visitors to experience them immediately.After all the dmexco visitors also include all those decision-makers who develop, exploit and use the aforementioned digital possibilities.It is the perfect platform for brands to present their products to a relevant target audience and demonstrate the possibilities and consequences they offer the marketing and media worlds.”

11. Can you give us a brief idea of the conference programme: Which themes will be on the agenda? Who have you been able to engage as speakers?

Christian Muche

“The motto of the dmexco 2012 conference is “The Digital Transformation: Shaping Models – Creating Business”.All relevant segments of the digital industry as well as its trends and innovations will be covered.Furthermore, this year in conjunction with the ADC New York we are integrating numerous panels and case studies from the important area of digital creativity.The dmexco label ‘UBERCLOUD’ will clearly distinguish these tangible elements.As we are presently still in the planning phase in many areas, we can only reveal so much:Once again this year the dmexco conference will present outstanding speakers from the entire global digital industry.”

For further information please visit www.dmexco.com

Interviews

Q&A with Clare George-Hilley, co-founder, Centropy PR

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Q&A with Clare George-Hilley, co-founder, Centropy PR 1

Clare George-Hilley is the co-founder of Centropy PR

Global Banking and Finance Magazine recently caught up with Clare George-Hilley, co-founder of fintech and financial services specialist PR agency Centropy, as the company toasts to three years of trading. We asked Clare about what life is like running an agency in the city, the trends she is seeing in the financial services space and what the future holds following the Covid-19 outbreak.

Why did you decide to set up Centropy PR?

I was looking for an opportunity to launch my own agency, both my husband and I had been in the public affairs and public relations industry for over a decade and we thought the time was right to go out on our own.

Clare George-Hilley

Clare George-Hilley

We could see that the financial services industry was surging, with challenger brands and new technology transforming traditional banks and setting new standards of customer service. There was a huge market opportunity to create and launch a PR agency that could provider first class comms support, alongside a deep understanding of complex regulations such as AML, KYC, and the GDPR. Likewise, many traditional technology firms are diversifying their offerings, to tap into the growing market opportunity posed by the fintech boom.

So, we worked on a business plan, designed a strategy for winning clients and officially launched in September 2017. Within a few months we had a growing portfolio of clients and a thriving business, since that point, we have never looked back!

How is Centropy doing now and what are you plans for growth?

The last three years have flown by and our client portfolio has grown and diversified quickly. We now manage PR campaigns for clients on everything from cryptocurrency, wealth management to payments and trading software.

We’ve also hosted parliamentary debates with key industry figures, including Members of Parliament (MPs) on topics such as the future of the financial services industry and the impact of challenger banks on traditional providers. The team is expanding quickly and we’re investing heavily in the latest training and support to ensure our team members are equipped to reach their full potential.

How do you see the next 12 months?

The Covid-19 outbreak has crippled the economy, forcing millions of people to work from home due to the very serious health risks. The knock-on effect of this crisis will lead to companies cutting costs where possible to save jobs, so tech will play a vital role in ensuring many businesses stay afloat.

We are already working with contactless payments specialists and other fintech companies that offer solutions to help companies survive and thrive despite the inevitable challenges ahead.

We aim to continue building our portfolio of expertise, testing ourselves with new challenges and delivering the best possible service to clients

 

This is a Sponsored Feature.

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Lessons from past recessions and advice for business owners during the coronavirus pandemic

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Lessons from past recessions and advice for business owners during the coronavirus pandemic 2

By Neil Davis, managing director and co-founder of Sterling Networks

What is Sterling Networks?

Sterling Networks is a professional organisation founded in 2014 which facilitates networking events for businesses across the Midlands, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and the South West. Over 300 members attend our fortnightly breakfast and lunchtime meetings.”

What is your background prior to establishing Sterling Networks?

“During the 1990s, I worked in the corporate team for Halifax. My wife, Tracey, and I went onto own a manufacturing business, which was also called Sterling, and produced a range of gifts, merchandise and promotional items.

“We soon realised tradeshows were a great way to meet distributors and clients. From there, the business grew exponentially, and we managed to build a network of around 500 distributors. Eventually, we became ground down by the manufacturing business – in part because the local manufacturing sector was being devastated by competition from China – and took the decision to sell the business and relocate to Spain.

“After spending several years living abroad, we moved back to the UK to set up Sterling Integrity (EXPO’S) & Sterling Networks (Networking) We were inspired by a desire to help businesses make meaningful connections with one another, and we haven’t looked back since.”

The UK has recently entered a recession, brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. What have you learned from past recessions and how are these experiences helping you to navigate the current crisis?

“I’ve lived through a number of recessions and have seen the pain that insolvency causes companies on a large scale. It’s taught me that there are those who win and sadly those who lose, and that businesses must adapt to a rise in demand for certain products or services at a time of financial crisis.

“Given the nature of what Sterling Networks offers [an opportunity for business owners to connect and grow together] I decided we could build upon the brand due to the demand for new business during the pandemic. We therefore moved our networking events from face-to-face to virtual via tools like Zoom and have gained a steady stream of new members in recent months, reaching an overall total of well over 300.

“On top of that, we’ve taken new staff on during the crisis and have launched a number of new regional groups across the country. I was determined that Sterling should come out of the pandemic with a head start, so my attitude to the recession has been much more positive than those who are forecasting nothing but doom and gloom.

“We can’t pretend high street retail wasn’t suffering long before the pandemic came along, and thousands of new businesses are sure to start up to meet the demand for the products and services that people require at a time such as this. In order to develop and grow businesses need to focus on where changes need to be made to meet this demand.”

Sterling Networks has been providing emotional support to its members throughout the pandemic. What advice have you been giving to members that could be useful to other business owners?

“I try not to be too opinionated and respect other people’s views when giving advice to members, as there are always two sides to every circumstance. I’ve been careful not to say to people that they should be doing one thing or another, as I don’t know their business and its needs quite like they do. The only thing that I have been telling members is the importance of setting up one-to-ones with one another. By doing so, they can listen to the needs and concerns of other, like-minded business owners and work out ways that they might be able to help one another.

“The pandemic has meant we all have a bit more time on our hands, so the advice I would give to people is to use this extra time wisely. Not having to travel physically from one meeting to another means there is a greater opportunity to connect with more people. It’s important to remember that individuals outside of your business can be just as valuable as those within it.”

What makes you hopeful for the future and are there any words of encouragement you can give to budding entrepreneurs?

“The key events that have happened to this country during my lifetime – whether wars, recessions, or the pandemic – have enabled me to take stock of things. While these experiences are certainly challenging, we all become stronger for living through them, and it gives me great confidence that the world will ultimately improve as a result of the pandemic.

“The whole world is effectively rebooting right now, as is the business community. I like to think entrepreneurs will recognise this opportunity to take better care of their peers, and this translates to greater collaboration between organisations. Speak to as many people as you can, ask all the questions that you need to and do your homework. This might well be a difficult time for us all but planning for the future must start now if it is to become as prosperous as I know it can be.”

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Exclusive Interview with Ugo Loser, CEO of ARCA Fondi SGR

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Ugo Loser, CEO of ARCA Fondi SGR

 Arca Fondi SGR is a mid-sized Italian active asset management company. Founded in 1983 by a consortium made up of 12 regional banks, the company has grown in time, expanding its network of distributors and its client base. Nowadays Arca manages Mutual Funds, Pension Funds and Institutional Accounts with total AUM exceeding 30 € bln, reaching more than 100 banks and financial institutions and serving more than 800,000 final clients.

What are the key contributors to ARCA Fondi SGR’s success over the past 35 years?

Arca has always put clients and distributors first. That is to say we have always privileged fair pricing for funds and developing high quality products and services for our customers. This requires constant innovation as an objective and looking for people’s talent to be free to produce its effect

Why are people the founding element of ARCA Fondi SGR and how have you sustained this vision over the years?

We work in small teams, people are young and motivated and can perform duties with a high level of autonomy and responsibility. Innovation is asked to everyone, everyday

What makes Arca Fondi SGR different from other asset management firms in Italy?

Arca is a company focused on doing what it can do very well, that is to say mutual and pension funds, services for clients and banks. We never follow short term trends but always look for long lasting impact on the industry, like we’ve done may times in the past

What products/services has ARCA Fondi SGR pioneered?

Arca has been the inventor of “Arca Cedola”, fixed-horizon, coupon paying funds, which have been with no doubt the greatest product innovation of the past 12 years on the Italian market. This type of funds, at first strictly based on bonds and later as a balanced product, has encountered an enormous success both with clients and distributors due to its simple and effective value proposition. Arca is a market leader also in the “PIR” segment of funds, a range of product focused on mid and small sized companies, that have been the best performers in the Italian stock market for the last few years. In services, Arca is a leader in technology applied to asset management. Our website, app and digital services for clients and banks are award winning, state of the art combination of data, technology and channels, and the best is yet to come on this side.

What strategies do you have in place to sustain your market position and withstand professional competition in the country?

As I mentioned, we do not waste resources on projects with dubious results, instead we constantly invest on people, products and services. The high level of profitability that Arca has been able to maintain even in difficult years for the markets of the banking sector is a further testimony that this strategy works very well

How do you use technology to create meaningful experiences for your customers?

First of all, we have created a whole new division, Arca InnovAction Lab, dedicated to technology, data and processes. This ensures projects are delivered quickly and they are free to leave bad past practices behind. Arcaonline.it, Arca’s website, provides distributors with detailed information on clients’ portfolios, asset under management and subscription/redemption requests. It monitors aggregate selling data offering to our partners a suite functions and analytics to track commercial campaigns. And if the banks branches need assistance, they may ask Sara, our digital chatbot. A broad and timely multimedia production, covering exclusive reports, comments, presentations, videos, webinars and newsletters is also available on the website.

Customers, subscribing Arca’s funds through its distributors’ network, may access Arcaclick, a dedicated area on Arcaonline.it. With Arcaclick the client can easily browse through her portfolio of funds, analyze its characteristics, view transactions and historical funds’ performance in customizable views. Arcaclick is also a powerful source of information on Arca product range: Prospectus, KIIDs and other literature is easily accessible along with news, comments and reports. Arcaclick may also be accessed via Arca Fondi App, a free application for mobiles and tables, running on both iOS and Android. Available 24/7 and in mobility, Arcaclick gives clients the opportunity access information, news and details of their personal portfolio anytime and anywhere.

What key trends will drive pension growth in 2020 and beyond?

The Italian market for pension funds is still very small and therefore there is a great opportunity to grow. Arca Fondi manages the biggest open ended Italian pension fund and it’s been constantly at the top of its rankings. As people and workers are looking for yield and to weather short term volatility, the pension fund is very well poised to profit from this trend.

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