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Although I had had a busy week, and university deadlines had been piling up on top of each other, I made sure I was able to attend the Amsterdam Commercial Night (ACN) event last week. Partially as a gesture of commitment as the MAA’s Chief Digital Marketeer, but mostly because it seemed like an event jam-packed with knowledge beneficial to me as a future marketeer! This blog post is here to tell you exactly how the event unfolded.

 Upon first entering Posthoornkerk – yes, a church – I encountered  the inevitable array of nuts, chips, crackers and free drinks: a display of the classic Dutch borrel. As I was barely on time (unsurprisingly), I had no time to enjoy these treats and had to scurry up to the main hall where the presentations were being held. I was in awe; the stage was set right beneath the church’s main spired tower you see from the outside, and the seats were lined by dimly lit, small bricked atriums that lead to the stage. 

 The main host of the night was Gijs de Beus, the strategic mastermind behind Friends & Foes: a creative agency located in Amsterdam. He opened the ACN Storytelling event with a little clip on how Friends & Foes was founded, while teaching us the basis of what storytelling is and how crucial it is for brand strategy. He paved the way for the three speakers of the night. The first speaker, Rik toe Water, represented GroupM: the world’s largest advertising media company, with subsidiaries that make beloved shows such as Love Island possible. It isn’t hard to imagine the source of GroupM’s success if all their employees have personalities and presentation skills like Rik’s. He was able to make the church echo with laughter while still remaining educational throughout his entire presentation. He provided exceptional visuals for the audience to understand the power of brand storytelling, as well as pitfalls that come with it if it isn’t done right. His take home message, repeated adamantly throughout the presentation, was to: use all platforms available, consistently engage with your consumers, scale your message, and stick to one main story.

 The second presentation took a surprising turn from the first one. Philips, represented by Dirk van der Horst, offered us an insight into their own (hi)story as game changers within the healthcare industry. We were taken back to 1891, when the three founding fathers of Philips joined forces to establish what has become a powerhouse of innovation. The presentation focused on Philip’s own success story while looking into the future at the incoming trends bound to shape the digitalisation of healthcare technology. Of course, a presentation about the healthcare industry would have been incomplete without a little side note reminding us students to take care of our  alcohol intake. Don’t get me wrong, it was greatly appreciated – but hilarious given that we were fortunate enough to have Grolsch sponsor the event’s supply of beer! 

 Following the two presentations, we had an interim break where we headed back to the borrel area to network, nibble on some snacks, and grab ourselves a bottle (or two) of Grolsch’s beer. The speakers joined too, engaging with students and divulging the companies’ secret recipes to success (or so I hope). At the borrel, Walters People – a recruitment consultancy firm operating  in major European countries – was there to help us with our LinkedIn profiles. I would like to take this opportunity to say that my LinkedIn profile was actually complimented by Walters People themselves…although they did say that my profile picture needed an update (to which I wholeheartedly agreed). After this ego boost, I went back into the main hall where I saw the opportunity to talk to the host, Gijs, and ask him what he was most looking forward to during the event.

 “I was really curious to hear the first presentation because it’s very close to what we [Friends & Foes] do, but with a slightly different take. The second presentation – yea, I know Philips intimately and have worked for them as a consultant. It’s such a complex organization, they’re going through such a profound transformation so it’s interesting to hear how story can be used in that transition. The third presentation I think is a classic example of marketing done well through the use of a story; we still need to hear it, but I’ve had a sneak peak of the presentation and I’m really curious to hear it – really excited.”

 After speaking to Gijs, and sharing his excitement, it was time for the  last company presentation of the night. Ard Bossema, Grolsch’s very own Marketing and Strategy Director, was the third presenter of the night. He kick-started his presentation with an incredible promotional video capturing the essence of the company, and continued to woo us with facts about the company that really set it apart from the rest. Did you know that Grolsch was the first beer to use a swing-top bottle cap? Me neither! Supposedly, it makes Grolsch’s beer bottle the second most famous bottle in the world – after the Coca Cola’s, that is. We were then immersed into stories of Grolsch’s explosive past. Literally speaking. Their first brewery in Enschede was destroyed by fireworks 19 years ago. Nonetheless, they made an astonishing comeback and rebuilt their brewery from scratch. Ard then dove into the company’s strategic trajectory, which included being completely transparent about how they were going to successfully entrance us, their target market, into choosing their new beer targeted to the youth. Watch out for Kornuit! 

 The evening concluded with even more drinks, nibbles, and a goody bag! By this time, everyone was way more social than during the interim break (thanks Grolsch!), and we all got together to discuss the presentations and other less important things, such as our impending workloads and unfinished theses. Overall, I’m glad I attended Amsterdam Commercial Night. I had a great time, felt productive, and left the event more equipped for my future career than I was when I came in.

By Derya Yildirim 

As the deadline for committee applications is approaching – and you may still be unsure as to whether you should apply for a committee or not – we’ve decided to give you the inside scoop on what it’s like to be part of an MAA committee, from a committee member herself! We’ve asked Anneloes – the event planner for the Amsterdam Marketing Event (AME) – if she could give us insight into her experience.

Anneloes van der Steenstraten is 25 years old, Dutch, and has lived in many different countries all over the world. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree in hospitality from Hotelschool The Hague, she worked in the investment banking industry for two years. Currently, she is pursuing her master’s degree in international management at the University of Amsterdam. Alongside her studies, she works as a market analyst for a startup that consults other startup firms and their business development. 

As the event coordinator, Anneloes plans the AME; undertaking activities such as organising the seating plan, the roles of other members during the event, and beverage catering. Simply put, she does a whole lot of planning!

 

Why did you choose the MAA?

“That’s a good question — I came across it through promotional speeches for their different events. I was then approached to join one of the committees, which spurred my interest to get to know a little bit more about the MAA. I think it’s a great group that, despite the differing interests – whether that be marketing, consulting, or different areas – you get to create a great network and meet a lot of different people at the university.”

 

What made you apply for the AME committee?

“I think because their recruitment event is one of the largest recruitment events in the marketing area. I also get to apply my event organising skills from my hospitality study. Additionally, as I’m finishing off my studies early in December, it’s a committee that works well with the end of my studies.”

 

What does your future career path look like? How does being part of the AME committee help you in that path?

“I hope to go into the area of strategy consulting. I think that through the committee you learn to: interact with a lot of different people; do teamwork; organise a big event; talk to different companies; and combine different tasks including work, studies, and the committee together. So you really learn to plan your time accordingly. It’s also a great way to build your network because you’re in contact with so many different companies and people, which is really cool.”

 

What advice would you give to students who want to join a committee?

“I would highly recommend anyone to join a committee just to get to know different people and broaden your horizons. A lot of university students don’t have a lot of work experience yet, so in that sense it’s a great way to casually go into that environment while still being with fellow students. It’s a great way to get energised and get a sneak peak into the industry as well.”

Being a committee member allows you to develop in many disciplines; improving both your personal, and social life. The ability to have fun, network, and hone your skills in key areas such as time management, is precisely what being a committee member is all about! If you’re in the third year of your bachelor’s degree or pursuing a (pre-)master degree, apply here before 22 September! ma-amsterdam.nl/committees/

by Derya Yildirim (Media & Branding)

The sharing-economy has opened a new door of ways to provide a service. From renting a room provided by people in different cities, to lending items in an area when needed, being able to buy and sell any products online, using your own car as transportation (Uber), and many more platforms online that are constantly being developed for this purpose.

Recently, another sharing-economy platform has been developed that targets hard-working students that could benefit from a flexible side job. This online platform allows people to sign up to become a babysitter for a tourist that come into town for a few days and want to have a night to enjoy themselves. A benefit of this is that the parents can choose a sitter that will speak the native language of their child, preventing language and communication barriers. Perhaps, you would like to choose a babysitter that could help teach your child the second language that he or she is already trying to learn. This is a new an innovative platform for the sharing economy that can benefit busy international students who are looking for part time work, as well as allows for parents to take some time off and enjoy the city they are in. This platform is new and is a great new tool to access a part time job. However, trusting your child with a foreigner can sometimes be unsettling. That is why background checks and interviews are needed within this sharing-economy platform. What about others? Do they use background checks or safety check for Uber and Airbnb?

 

This definitely is a benefit to the sharing economy, it has produced a lot of job opportunities as well as an easier way to access rides, babysitters, and rooms. However, when something goes wrong who’s fault is it? Is it the person providing the service through the platform or is it the company that has created the platform? Of course, using these platforms come at your own personal risk. On most of these platforms there is a rating system. For Airbnb for example, you don’t want someone staying in your apartment that has no rating yet, and vice versa, do you want to stay in someone’s apartment that has no rating as well? You sometimes just may have to take that risk if you are desperate, and maybe the photos seem credible? But how do you really know? This is a risk you are going to take; it can either go very well or can go horribly. In my personal experience, a problem has never arisen using Airbnb.

Yes, these companies have created a platform for people to make a little extra cash…. But what about those that have those job as a living and not just as a side job, for example certified car companies that have built up a list of customers over the years. When Uber presented themselves it became much easier to just go to the app to call an Uber rather than scheduling one in advance. Yes, the sharing-economy does provide a service and jobs but if this becomes more influential because of easy online accessibility, what happens to those other people that rely on those jobs? I guess it could just go back to evolution, and survival of the fittest. This is a very contentious subject as job markets and companies are constantly expanding, reshaping and reorganizing. Despite the ethical concerns of sharing-economy platforms, they definitely provide an easy and accessible business opportunity for expats, travellers and those looking to accommodate for the every changing travel industry.

Written by Daniella Janis

dare-to-be-different-1PepsiCo, Storymail, and Heineken. The much-anticipated Amsterdam Commercial night hosted three very different companies, each representing their own distinctive brands. All of which demonstrated the ways in which their advertising strategies and campaigns dare to be different. The impressionable and unique Vondelkerk was the perfect location to set the tone for an evening of stimulating conversation among marketers, all while enjoying a handful of Doritos and a refreshing Heineken.

What distinguishes you from the competition? And, what is the future of advertising were among a few questions asked during the Amsterdam Commercial Night.

PepsiCo uses online influencers to captivate its audience

PepsiCo started the night off by presenting the Doritos’ bold flavor campaign, A or B. By developing a unique twist to previous campaigns, Doritos differentiated its brand by asking consumers to vote to ‘eliminate’ their least preferred flavor of Doritos. PepsiCo’s marketing team explained, “we devoted 60 percent on digital marketing allowing Doritos to socially construct a viral competition between flavor A and B that captivated millions online.” With Internet users as the target audience, Doritos used YouTube influencers as a major driving force of the campaign. YouTube influencers were able to effectively motivate their followers to cultivate interest in the Doritos campaign, demonstrating the power of digital marketing.

“Digital marketing must stay human”

Storymail presented itself as a personal video company that adopts video content based on their audience’s interests and location. Storymail’s Rogier Ros stated, “It’s all about making the customer’s journey as personal as possible, digital marketing must stay human. Providing relevant videos to our audience is the key message here.” In a digital environment where consumers are exposed to an immense amount of content online, relevance is certainly an issue. Storymail dares to be different by customizing videos with the right message, being sent at the right time, in the right form. Interested in learning about this process? See for yourself!

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“Lager really is full of surprises”

Heineken’s beer market is not exactly as you would expect it. Did you know that the lager sales have been decreasing, while specialty and non-alcoholic beers are dominating the market? This is precisely why Heineken felt the need to reinvent its lager by releasing the H41, a new lager that is brewed from rare wild ‘mother yeast’. Heineken was adaptable, and proved that daring to be different can be an effective marketing strategy, when looking to revive a declining product.

Every year the Amsterdam Commercial Night provides a great opportunity for students to network over drinks, circulate their CV to potential employers, and reach out to the evening’s presenters and fellow marketers. Student’s commented on the high energy of the event, “the presenters were young and enthusiastic, the Pepsico team told an incredible story of how to engage customers. Not to mention the location was fantastic!”

After another very successful event we can surely be excited to see what will be in store for the coming years! In some ways the future of marketing appears to be clear. As seen with PepsiCo and Storymail, both companies have proven that digital marketing is the way of future. Yet, the creative nature of digital marketing remains crucial, proving that the best advertising campaigns must dare to be different.

Written by Alexandra Martin

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It would be hard to believe if someone said they haven’t heard about the Matt Hangover Bar yet. The Hangover bar was an initiative by ‘Matt Sleeps’, a mattress company based out of Amsterdam. The initiative not only went viral in The Netherlands, but also in other countries such as the UK. The video about this event has been seen over 200 million times, with many requests to open the bar again.

About Matt, the famous mattress

The Matt Hangover Bar was a pop-up bar in Amsterdam open for only one weekend at the end of September. The place looked like a green oasis filled with beds, palm trees, and fountains. Every bed had its own TV screen to watch your favorite movies and series’, while ordering hangover-proof food from Foodora. It was a publicity stunt by Matt Sleeps that got plenty of media attention since it was different than anything done before. The idea seemed crazy and impossible, which made it all the more exciting. By using the right sponsors like Foodora, Innocent and Dopper, the event became a total success for dealing with a hangover. As an addition to the Hangover Bar, Matt Sleeps just recently launched Mattflix (inspired by Napflix) where you can stream dull and sleep inducing videos to fall asleep more easily. Both initiatives create unique brand experiences.

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Why has it worked?

Marketing as used by Matt Sleeps is called event and/or experience marketing. These kind of events and experiences stimulate the senses and activate emotions. The positive experience will then lead to positive attitudes about the brand. This way you can build, maintain, and strengthen the relationship with the customer, which will then lead to greater customer loyalty. Besides that, the complete experience leads to a better memory. Ten years later you will still remember that you have been to the Hangover Bar.

Reaching our generation again

Obviously, there are some advantages to using experience marketing. At first, it is a relatively cheap way of marketing, especially when you use the right sponsors. It is also a way of differentiating yourself from your competitors in the marketing sphere, and it provides opportunities to make a dull product exciting and ‘sexy’. But above all, it’s a way of reaching people again, something that has been a problem with current advertising as it struggles to reach our generation. To get people’s attention and interest, you have to stand out and that can only be done by being completely different and unique from your competitors. You have to bring a certain ‘freshness’ to it. Experience marketing can definitely help you do that.

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There is no doubt the Hangover Bar sounds like a lot of fun, but I am not sure how many people, who have been laying on a ‘Matt’ all day, actually bought one. On one hand, after visiting the Hangover Bar there is a high chance that you will then think of Matt when you need a new mattress. But on the other hand, be careful with marketing plans that look like fun, but do not generate any revenue. We will see what happens when my Ikea mattress is worn out.

Written by Jasmijn van Veggel

After being sold out one week before the deadline, the Amsterdam Marketing Event 2016 was a big success. This edition’s theme was the Future of Marketing, and discussed was what’s next from different viewpoints. Again, the greatest marketing recruitment event of the year exceeded everyone’s expectations!

From drilling machines to drilling content

Joris Demmers (assistant professor at the University of Amsterdam Business School) opened the event with a brief overview of the origins of Marketing. This led him to highlight the trends and threats Marketing currently faces. A live poll showed that a majority of the AME participants believes that the most important trend is Big Data.

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Next up was Nils Boss from Hilti (a leading-edge technology company that operates in the global construction industry) who impressed with his performance, as he entered the stage with his drilling machines and sunglasses on. For him, the trend of Marketing is aligned with Hilti’s main philosophy: focusing on customer content and customer contact in order to fulfill customers’ desires. To meet those desires, they personally ask them about their needs, sell only through self-owned stores and are present on every important exhibition of the construction industry. With this concept Hilti presented itself as an attractive employer to young marketers striving for challenges and new fields to explore.

Afterwards, VICE (once launched as a punk magazine, but has now developed into a leading global youth media company) convinced with its fresh and young firm culture. Rens Verweij, Head of Strategy, showed why VICE is defining the future in music and entertainment. VICE is globally present in 40 countries where curious employees are looking for stories. By using a network of channels in which these stories are exchanged, Vice is able to provide its viewers with the most relevant and exciting content. Particularly interesting is the way Rens explained how they reach their target group: the Millennials. Considering the audience’s mindsets, VICE brings their stories into the world by using the right medium. Rens ended by recommending every young marketer to follow VICE’s mantra: “Let’s try not to be shitty”.

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During the coffee and tea break, the participants got their first chance to speak with people from these two companies to gain an even better insight into the company cultures.

Two products you can’t live without

After the first break, MOBGEN (the leading mobile solutions specialist) presented itself as an innovative and global brand. This presentation was especially relevant as the speaker, Zouhair Ouriaghli, got his job by networking at the Amsterdam Marketing Event 2015. Zouhair showed the benefits of MOBGEN’s focus on building a long-term relationship with their customers. It can be said that MOBGEN represented itself as an attractive future employer by putting a high emphasis on innovation.

“Hearing that one of the speakers found a job through the Amsterdam Marketing Event really gives me the confidence to find a job myself!”

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In the very last presentation Paulien Streater and Saida Bou Chamach explained why Nespresso is more than just George Clooney. The Armani of the coffee industry is recognized for its ultimate coffee experience worldwide. But how does Nespresso achieve this exclusive market position? Of course, the answer is quality, but it is not only their excellent choice of coffee farmers and innovatively designed coffee machines. By offering a high variety of capsules and the option to recycle, Nespresso fits every customer’s needs and aims to meet the expectations of the Millennials, as they strive for individualism.

The following lunch break enabled the participants to speak with speakers to find out more about job opportunities and if the companies fit their expectations. Moreover, Walters People gave participants the chance to have their CVs checked and offered valuable tips. A few lucky participants were invited to recruitment lunches with HelloFresh and Henkel.

“The recruitment lunch gave me the opportunity to get an excellent insight
into what it’s like to work at HelloFresh!”

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How good of a marketer are you?

The afternoon was full of interesting workshops. Leading Talent, FrieslandCampina, L’Oréal, Henkel and Dorst & Lesser offered various case studies for students to work on. From Leading Talent asking the participants to work on their personal branding, to FrieslandCampina challenging their participants to come up with an innovative product idea for 2020.

“The workshops enabled me to become more familiar with the company and to
interact with the recruiters!”

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The day ended with networking drinks, giving us a great chance to review the day and thank the Amsterdam Marketing Event committee for their excellent work. All in all, it can be said that this event achieved all of its goals of offering insights into interesting and future oriented companies to students that are looking for an internship or a graduate position by connecting Master’s and last year Bachelor students to the recruiters of these companies.

We are looking forward to welcoming you to the Amsterdam Marketing Event 2017!

Written by Meike Behrens