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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Talking marketing in Estonia

Last week I had the pleasure of participating in the annual Parnu Marketing Conference where 550 of Estonia’s marketing professionals get together to learn and talk about new marketing ideas. The theme of the conference: “Marketing Without Advertising.”

See the blog postings by fellow presenters David Phillips and Robin Gurney of the Estonian internet marketing firm Altex for more.

Marketing Estonia
During a word of mouth marketing workshop 50 people came up with more than 300 ideas in 45 minutes about how to talk about Estonia to attract tourists and businesses to this Baltic country. A great testament to what can happen when you bring smart people together and remove all the traditional “branding” rules. Some of the ideas:

For toursim:

Estonia is like a fantasy land – beautiful old medieval architecture, Hansel & Gretel-like countryside, pristine beaches and forests with bears, wolves, wild mushrooms; and it’s safe, inexpensive, and almost everyone speaks English.

Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is the largest and best preserved medieval capital in Europe. More beautiful than Prague.

The White Night winters in Estonia are magical, where you can really chill: pure silence amid the snow and ice; walking from island to island on the ice; barrel saunas.

And for the high testosterone crowd, Estonia is a great hunting spot – wolves, bears, wild boar; or you can tour former top-secret Soviet Union military bases.

Now here’s a sport you don’t find everywhere: While the Estonians did win Olympic medals for cross country skiing this year, they also took the gold medal in the world wife-carrying championship last summer.

For economic development:

Estonia is the Silicon Valley of the Baltic – totally E, and far less expensive than other European cities.

Estonia is the safe, friendly gateway for companies that want to do business with Russia, --- but be based in Europe and not Russia.

Estonia offers all the benefits of Scandinavia for businesses – educated population, high quality of life, great technology infrastructure -- with a MUCH lower flat tax rate.

Having spent two days as a tourist in Estonia, I can tell you that it is a gem of a country. Despite Soviet occupation until 1991, the country has preserved its national identity and the beauty of its environment and rich architectural history.

Aitäh Estonia!


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