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Wrap up and thoughts from Seoul South Korea

EB85E237-F44D-486D-A160-E10D523498BC.jpgIt was a whirlwind four days in Seoul this week, so I wanted to share my thoughts on this before I forget. I'm writing this from the airport in Tokyo waiting for my flight back to Newark.

First, here is a quick video with some thoughts as I recorded them yesterday.

The IDG conference was pretty incredible. Hopefully you have had a chance to read the posts from Tuesday and Wednesday to see what I mean. I consistently told the organizers that they had created a conference that was on par with any I have been to in the US. Between the conference and having the opportunity to spend time with the Fleishman team in our Seoul office I noticed a number of similarities to the US as well as some differences.

Some Similarities:


  • The financial crisis is global and is on the top of everyone's mind
  • Everyone gets that social media is a huge growth area
  • Everyone is confused as to how to measure it effectively
  • Companies are trying to find the balance between offline and online media and are trying to break down marketing silos
  • Video and mobile are exploding across the globe, but have to be used strategically

Some Differences:


  • Strong cultural differences in Korea impact everything
  • Most US companies fail in Korea (Google has around 1% market share in search here) because they localize, but don't fully immerse themselves in the culture
  • People demand fast service both on and off line
  • Koreans are very tech savvy, highly connected and love to meet in person
  • I found people very hesitant to ask questions in presentations
  • Mobile is ahead as far as services and quality, but devices are extremely expensive here (telecom companies control the pricing and keep it high)

Best thinking:


  • Bruce Haines from Cheil Worldwide had a number of gems including "banning the word digital" because it's all marketing. He also stressed the need to think across channels and formats to have the most impact, breaking down silos and develop the best message(s) tailored to the right audience.
  • Gerry Gouy from MTV was great on and off stage. His view from the entertainment side where he is seeing advertisers spend more money across fewer channels was key. He also mentioned that mobile is still not working at this point and most advertisers are looking to reach a 25-34 year old sweet spot through TV and online.

Here is the Slideshare of the keynote address I gave. I'll be adding audio to this over the next couple of days.



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