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Valentin Sinkevych, New Business Manager iplace: "iplace — is the top agency in Ukraine, thinking broadly and globally!"

We have been thinking and thinking and decided: it's time to gradually introduce you to the Ukrainian and Portuguese iplace teams! To tell you what the iplace team is all about, what their goals are, what they dream about, how they manage to work with the largest companies in Ukraine and Portugal and do it effectively. We want you to know about us a bit more than you know now. Shall we begin? ;)


And the first person we talked to is our newbiz, Valentin Sinkevych (or just Valik). The newbiz for iplace is the person who makes the agency grow and get the best clients. In simple words: Valik has been our Development Director in our Ukrainian office for a year and a half now. Participation in tenders, strategic planning, communication with Ukrainian business, excellent presentations, wit and a lots, no, not so, a very lot of humor - perhaps, all the coolest qualities that a new-biz should have were combined in our Valik. And yes, we are lucky to have him. ;)


We spoke about what you can love about iplace, what is going on in the tender market of Ukraine in 2021, what the right tender timing should be and how a business can understand that the "chemistry" with the agency did took place.


It's Valentin


Tell us, what is happening now, in December 2021, in the Ukrainian tender market? What is the competition between agencies (how strong is it), how do big brands behave (more choose those agencies they have already worked with, or test new ones, look for new recommendations)? What has changed compared to 2020?


The workload at iplace is insane right now! We took part in six major tenders. There could have been even more, but we had to abandon some of them because we simply did not have the time physically.


In general, the market has shifted in terms of seasonality. Previously, companies were tendering with shorter deadlines and for a longer period of time and much in advance. And now:

- many have a contract for one year at most, but it can be longer,

- tenders are held later, in winter, not in the fall, as it used to be,

- deadlines have been reduced to three weeks. This is not enough, taking into account the New Year period.


The structure of products has also changed somewhat. There are fewer and fewer media tenders, and performance tenders are almost everywhere... More and more clients want to promote their applications and apps.


In 2021 we promoted many interesting projects and apps. Among them — credits in your palm by Forward Bank, two games — Trash Hunter, which teaches how to sort the trash, and Cyber Olimp, about debunking alcohol myths.


What is the first thing you think big brands pay attention to when they call an agency for a tender? And why that?


It all depends on your common relationship history.


At the first stage, it's:


- the extent to which the contact person from the agency keeps in touch with the business,

- ratings, if that's where the client saw the agency and invited to tender,

- recommendations, if the client learned about the agency from someone else.


In the second stage, when the business gets acquainted with the portfolio and documents, an important role is played:


- cases,

- a list of relevant clients,

- the agency's advantages,

- its history.


iplace has extensive experience with such business categories as FMCG (FMCG), retail, finance, auto, etc. Some clients have been working with us for more than 4 years and exceed their business figures by 5-37%.


Let's talk a little bit about seasonality in business. Most agencies and businesses divide their advertising campaigns into seasons: winter (New Year's holidays), spring (March 8, Easter, May Day), summer (vacation time), and fall (coming out of the same vacation and a hot time for business).

How far in advance do you advise business to prepare for each season and why so? I mean, when a tender should be announced, how much time should be allocated for defending, for selecting an agency, and so on?


It seems to me that the timing for a year-long tender should be something like this:


0) A little prelude through introductions and meetings with potential bidders. This can be done throughout the year.


1) 3 days/one week for the agency to familiarize itself with the bid and plan the resource.


2) 3 weeks for the agency to prepare a proposal.


3) 1 week for defending.


4) 1 week to make a decision.


5) If won, agency needs 2-3 weeks to prepare for implementation and paperwork.


BUT if it is the hot season (November or December), the agency and the client 100% will have a high workload and you can add another week.


For smaller tenders everything is easier:


- It takes about 2 weeks to prepare a bid.

- All the rest - 1 or 2 weeks, not more.


What questions should a business ask an agency to understand that there is the very " chemistry ", the compatibility?


These are the most important ones:


- What is your experience? Who are you and what are you? This is important at the beginning of "chemistry." If it resonates, we move on.

- We have such a goal. How do we achieve it? Why do we need to do it this way and not the other way?

- How much money do we need for this? How do we allocate the budget?


We've talked about tenders and business. Now about you and the iplace team. Name three qualities for which you love your work at the agency?


It was even more than three. ;)


- The team and relationships. We have a great communication, we are all on the same wave, because we have a common goal!

- Expertise. In my opinion, iplace is one of the best on the market!

- Flexibility of work.

- Interesting tasks. You can dive into a client's niche and see what you need to do within the strategy to achieve your goals.

- Corporate culture of iplace: travelling, jokes, board games, corporate parties.


In 2021 there are more than 35 of us. The 6 people at iplace who have been with the agency since the beginning are still with the company, which is more than 10 years. In October we celebrated the anniversary of iplace in Barcelona, we just went there with the whole team. It was cool!


What qualities do you think a New Business Manager should have in order to work in an advertising agency and successfully win tenders from the big brands in the market? In order to find common ground with big brands (and colleagues). List the top 3 and why they are.


The top secrets I have yet to learn. =)


But given my experience and understanding to date, these are:


- Have experience. You have to know the market and the people in that market well.

- Have good communication skills. Understand where to make yourself known more and where not to impose yourself... Try to make people like you, but don't talk too much. To hold the brand, because new-biz is the face of the agency.

- Have a good understanding of the agency's and business's products. Digital/media knowledge, understanding of what influences what, etc.

- Have presentation and negotiation skills. To be persuasive and not get lost in awkward questions.

- Strategic thinking to understand the broadness of strategy.

- The ability to work in a wild multitasking environment. And the ability to extract the most important thing out of it all. To focus on every step of the deal.

- The willingness to constantly progress. The market does not stand in one place; it is important to constantly improve your skills.

- Psychological and stress resistance.


The last question. For you, iplace is...?


The top agency in Ukraine, thinking broadly and globally!

Which builds hypotheses, based on the goals. Which can synchronize business+media+digital+performance and offer the best strategy. And, most importantly, implement it by 100 percent!


In 2020, we implemented more than 1,182 advertising campaigns and 3 534 153 088 total views in 2020 were received by iplace clients' advertising.