Offer premium experience and ask higher price for it!

Kristoforas Akromas

Before the upcoming Balticbest festival on 30th of August, Best Marketing is bringing pan-Baltic topics into focus. Here’s an interview Hando Sinisalu made with Kristoforas Akromas, ‎Business development manager and partner at Lithuanian digital agency Ad Fingers. 

Ad Fingers is a digital oriented agency with an user-centric focus. They provide three key services: digital campaigns (more than half of our income is generated here), UX (user experience) and finally big data. They have around 30 employees and their bigger clients include Samsung Baltics, L’Oreal Baltics, Unilever, General Financing, Estrella and many more. They’re moving towards a pan-Baltic approach. They were focusing on our local market for far too long. Once the realisation came a couple of years ago, they quickly switched their focus to clients who are operating in at least three countries. This provides more opportunities for creating world class advertising.  

Why would a global brand want to create anything locally? Good ideas can be used universally all over the world.  

Some guidelines are directed from global headquarters. There’s a lot of adaptation and localisation. However, even these huge brands are giving us plenty of space for creativity. We’re allowed to deliver ideas as we wish. We can’t disregard the differences: language, trending platforms, etc. It’s up to us to figure out solutions for overcoming these obstacles.  

You mentioned UX as one of your agencies main work areas. Can you point out any trends in this area? 

It’s a very big topic and UX pros have different opinions on this matter. For instance, some claim burger menus are dated, but I would argue that it’s still the best solution. We at Ad Fingers are looking closely into the work of our UK colleagues. Companies like Econsultancy are giving us a great overview of what’s happening. UX was a hot topic back in 2014 and made its first steps in the Baltics. There are still no clear answers to a lot of questions, hence the conflicting opinions. It’s about proving a hypothesis. Would a red button work better than a green one? Who knows, just check. We see UX as a way for constant improvement.  

You can’t really test a hypothesis without a critical mass of data and small companies are unable to invest into this expensive test-based approach because the ROI is just not there.  

Let’s take booking.com who has big departments for UX improvement. Their employees are constantly checking these hypotheses. Despite having plenty of money for required tools, they still turn to simple user behaviour observation within small, five-people groups. It’s not that accurate but it gives you a trend. Therefore, I would argue that small companies could easily follow the same approach.  

Having used numerous apps (and websites) by respected big brands, I’ve reached the conclusion that the majority of them are just plain awful. The amount of hassle needed to complete a purchase or a simple search is off-putting. Why is that?  

I can share your frustration. Experience is the new economy. Brands should invest more into UX and create a user-friendly website. If the experience is top-notch then it’s perfectly acceptable to charge extra.  

Take the coffee shops as an example - it’s not about the coffee in Starbucks, it’s about sitting comfortably with your MacBook on the table and listening to cool music. It’s the environment, the experience that counts. People are willing to pay premium price for the good experience at that logic applies to online experience as well. 

What’s the role of the local digital publishers such as Delfi, versus huge social platforms like Facebook and Google? These American platforms take almost 1/3 of the advertising money out of the market already. Not good news for the local publishers. 

Every agency-client conversation starts from the question about the client’s targeting options in local media. The question is mostly met with silence. Then it goes on to CPC (cost-per-click) and it’s either silence or it turns out that the numbers are way higher than on Facebook or Google.  

Our agency turns to middleman platforms (e.g. Adform), which are very helpful in squeezing out the maximum out of local media and implementing Facebook and Google platforms. We occasionally use local media for awareness campaigns though.  

Forcing your advertising content into a users’ reading field and building boundaries from desired content is not the way marketing should be done. You can skip ads on YouTube in couple of seconds, in local media it’s 30 seconds. That’s crazy! It’s not going to work for long, users are not that dumb. The competition is no longer between two local media outlets, the competition is between the local media player and YouTube.

Interviewed by Hando Sinisalu, Best Marketing International

Balticbest festival of creativity will take place in Tallinn on the 30th of August, 2017. Check out the program http://balticbest.eu/en#program