Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Ekrem Dupanović
I met Dubravko Grubišić twenty years ago. I came to a meeting he arranged to talk about digital marketing – a topic that might be interesting to me as the editor-in-chief of Media Marketing Magazine. We talked for about an hour, I recorded everything and made an article about it, although I had no idea what we were talking about, and what I wrote about in the text. When this issue of Media Marketing came out of the press, Dubravko was happy with the text, and I still couldn’t quite understand it. When it soon became quite clear that for my professional survival it was very important to keep up with digital, I started to socialize with Dubravko more often. We went out to coffees and lunches, and I was slowly learning. I have not mastered all the lessons even today, but I know a lot more thanks to Dubravko Grubišić, my digital mentor.
When seven years ago I decided to launch the Media Marketing portal, of course, I asked Dubravko to help with that. Fabrika agency did the design in three days, Dubravko programmed everything in three days, and I went online on the sixth day to see the first edition of “my portal”. I’m thankful to him for that, but I will never forgive him, as my friend, for not telling me what I was getting myself into. I Had no idea that a portal is a bottomless pit, that from that day, filled with happiness after seeing the first content online, I would become a slave, who already seven years now is dedicating on average eight to ten hours to it each day- Sundays and holidays included.
Over the last few years our coffees and lunches are rare and far between. It’s as if Dubravko and I hadn’t met in ages. And it was like that until a moth ago, when he called me and said he is the Head of Digital at Via Media agency. We met again for a coffee, a thorough discussion, and agreed to do this interview that you can read below.
MM: Over the last few years your business life has been quite dynamic. But now you’ve settled in at the Via Media agency. How did this happen?
Dubravko Grubišić: Yes, that’s right, after years spent in the world of digital marketing, I’ve made a small break and devoted myself to other projects, but the love for digital marketing has never disappeared. I have been actively following all the events and the development of services and media in this field, especially the social networks, and seeing tha Via Media agency was looking for Head of Digital, I got the desire to return to my “first true love.”
MM: How does a man, who had all the time in the world at his disposal, get used to a 9 to 5 job?
Dubravko Grubišić: Frankly, I still have all the time of this world, and I live it because I do what I like most. Thus I confirm the often quoted saying – “If you do what you love, you won’t do a day of work in your life”. In that sense, as before, I don’t feel that I have a 9 to 5 workday, and really, in the online world that breathes at full lungs 24/7, you can’t even expect to limit yourself into some working hours.
MM: So you are now Head of Digital at Via Media. What are the digital services that Via Media can offer its clients?
Dubravko Grubišić: Taking over the position of Head of Digital at an agency like the Via Media was a big challenge, because Via Media is a big system where digital fits in all the processes that an agency performs on a daily basis. There is a difference between this and my previous engagement, which implied only a view of marketing from the angle of digital, but now it is different. Specifically, the agency uses digital in all aspects of communication, so it is not “just about” leasing digital / online media or content production, but the entire communication system in which digital is one of the channels we use. Accordingly, it is a great pleasure to say that we can offer our customers a full range of services within the digital framework. From the first steps of creating a strategy and presence in the online world, creating websites and / or mobile apps, creating and integrating online commerce platforms, as well as social network profiles, up to “day to day” communication through community management services, creating advertising messages and the visuals we place through direct lease of the media. And there is also campaign optimization, conversion tracking, analysis and reporting, and of course counseling for the purpose of justifying investments and ROI in the online presence of our clients.
MM: And what would you single out as the competitive edge of Via Media? Is there something that distinguishes you in the market?
Dubravko Grubišić: The greatest advantage of Via Media is its creativity and security we provide to our clients. Working with local, regional and worldwide clients, there is no field where we have not proven ourselves as a team that produces concrete and measurable results. Our plans for the future, the projects that we have already started with our partners, will show and prove that Via Media is keeping pace with the trends, and in terms of our market it means it is going even ahead of it. Besides the above advantages, while writing this answer, I think about the time I’ve spent with the agency and I have to mention another, perhaps the most important, advantage, which is the desire and passion of all agency members to continuously surpass expectations, both client’s and our own.
MM: If I remember correctly, you have been in the world of digital marketing for about twenty years, which means you were one of the first to enter these waters. What do you see as the biggest change, and which step in the development of digital marketing impressed you the most?
Dubravko Grubišić: I made my first steps in digital marketing, or more exactly in the world of internet communication, in the now “ancient” 1998, so you’re right, it’s been exactly 20 years since, and it feels like it was yesterday. Much has changed in these 20 years, the development curve continues to have a striking growth path, and today, a lot of things are nothing like they were yesterday. Before, it could pass a lifetime and not so many changes would happen. In fact, I could “boast” that I’ve lived through a lot of it, and I’m sure I haven’t seen even a small part of what is waiting for us. In that sense, I was most impressed by the development of social networks and communication tools, because as a member of a generation that communicated through IRC channels and monochromatic screens, to live in the age of Facebook, Instagram, Viber, mobile apps and generally smartphones, it seems as science fiction, but it’s actually our reality.
MM: Do you have a team in Via Media for some major undertakings?
Dubravko Grubišić: Even for the biggest ones I would say. And it’s just not the team, but all the other elements as well, like vision, structure, creative freedom and resources. As for the team, I have been in Via Media for the last six months, and I have to admit that we had implemented so many projects in that time, both for our clients and internally, that I don’t even how this time even passed. Every day has been so dynamic that I don’t even notice when it “passes”. It would not be possible if we didn’t have a team of professionals who are fully dedicated to their tasks and, most importantly, everyone is ready to learn new things and adopt new skills. Without such a team, it would certainly not be possible to actively run projects and digital campaigns for eight markets, including the demanding UAE market, where we are directly present through Via Media Dubai. With such a team, I’m not afraid to tackle any challenge that awaits us.
MM: Is there anything you haven’t been able to achieve in digital marketing so far, which you believe you will achieve with the Via Media team?
Dubravko Grubišić: Honestly, after participating in a lot of projects, both personal and those of clients, I did a lot of things, some of which succeeded, and some not, but it is quite normal and understandable and the worst thing would be to give up when you fail. On the contrary, that should be your motivation to go further, to get closer to success by learning on the mistakes you’ve made. At this stage, I needed a new challenge, and I got that in joining Via Media. I have already participated in the realization of successful projects and integrated communication campaigns, where digital is an unavoidable component, campaigns that I haven’t had the opportunity to do until now by working on “just one side”. At the moment we are trying to break the classic views on the use of digital in the Bosnian and Herzegovinian market, which have been reduced to mere presence and quantity, instead of proactive quality and production of content worthy of viewing and interacting with. We are already preparing for the future filled with a number of interesting projects, which will include a completely new thinking and realization of the set goals for our clients, through a partnership approach, as we are opening new and so far unknown horizons in our market. I really look forward to that.
MM: In digital marketing there is a lot of wandering around, various theories and statistics which are often contradictory. What would you, as someone who has so much experience in digital, advise todays clients? What should they pay special attention to when creating their digital strategies?
Dubravko Grubišić: Well, I wouldn’t quite agree there are more various theories or wandering in terms of online communication, but rather there are a lot of bad interpreters and bad estimates of what can be done through digital channels. A lot is possible if expectations are realistic, and often they are not, as things are done without a plan or, as you say it, strategies. Therefore, first and foremost, clients must clearly define their expectations and be realistic, do not expect miracles, especially in the short term, because as much as it may seem simple for someone looking from aside – “it’s just a few clicks” – this matter is much more complex and requires a full focus. Therefore, from creating a message itself, creative solution, placement, everyday communication, tracking, analyzing, and daily adaptation to a given situation, nothing should be left to chance, and in that sense I would definitely recommend to clients to leave this work to the professionals, whether they engage them as partner companies (the keyword is partner because without the trust you have with your partner, success is hard to expect), or through constant education of your employees, who in any case must be absolutely dedicated and up to the task.
MM: The market of digital marketing in Bosnia and Herzegovina lags behind most of the markets in the region. What do you think is necessary to push things forward?
Dubravko Grubišić: Judging from talks with colleagues from the region, you are definitely right, the market of Bosnia and Herzegovina, not just in digital, is already years behind the markets in the region. I’ve been long enough in this market to remember the period when it was more developed than, for example, the market in Serbia, and today we are lagging at least five years behind them, not to say that we are over ten years behind the markets in Slovenia or Croatia. I believe we have all explained why this is so too many times so far, so I wouldn’t repeat it all, not because I don’t think I should, but simply because there isn’t space enough to list it all here. It all boils down to the fact that we are a deeply divided country – and I don’t mean territorial divisions, but divisions in our heads, in the sense that there is a huge mistrust between the media, the agencies, and the clients. Everyone is pulling to their own side, there is no cooperation, we do not see or we do not want to see the forest behind the trees. We are not organized as an industry, neither as a media, nor as advertisers, so there is no constructive or open criticism, or quality standards. We don’t have common and verified digital research. Attempts such as the Gemius regional project have failed, but fortunately we have some individuals who do not give up on us (DotMetrics), we don’t have any research on investments in digital advertising, and yet we have media at the regional level in terms of quality, but to whom advertisers do not approve the deserved budgets because of all of the above. Global advertisers don’t even come and don’t invest their money with us, they use the effect of spilling out of regional media, or use only social networks and global video platforms – which does not give our media hope for a bright future, which is why many resort to sensationalism and the content quality decreases. Everything could be much better if we all wanted it. I have touched upon this question in the answer above regarding what we as an agency are working on independently, and I sincerely hope to see the day when these things will change in a structural way with the arrival of mutual communication, cooperation and coordination, and when we join forces within professional associations that will not allow such occurrences.