by: Alain Thys
I have just been on what I can only describe as a 'Romanian roller coaster'. Two days of non-stop meetings, a keynote on a conference of planners, a 4 hour inspiration session with 50 marketers (90% women :-), a TV show, a dozen interviews and more conversations than I can remember. And this all while a few months ago I didn't even know that there was an event called Masterplan 2007, taking place in Bucharest.
And while I enjoyed the breakneck speed, I was once again amazed by the raw enthusiasm, drive and and eagerness to try new things which exists east of the rusted curtain.
They may often be 20-something and they may lack the skills and infrastructure today, yet in a way that only puts them ahead in the race of tomorrow. After all, if you have nothing to "unlearn" you are able to actively cherry-pick from the 25% of our marketing wisdom which actually adds to the bottom line (OK, let's give Wannamaker his dues ... 50%).
And cherry-pick they do. If I have conversations in Shanghai which trade off TV and Word-of-mouth. If Russians and Ukranians talk to me about advertising relevance and Indians can come with 95% accurate predictions of the impact of advertising on sales, I know that when these people have another ten years of experience under their belt, their thinking will be well ahead of some "revered" yet cynical/sedated marketers I have encountered in the West.
Sorry America, but I think it's time the Western marketing community starts taking "Eastern thinking" a bit more serious. They deserve it.