Remember those six Slovenian students (YUGO Challenge 14) who challenged themselves in order to accomplish something never seen in the Balkans? I went a bit further and politely asked for a brief interview. On the other side I have got an even more polite answer in amazingly friendly manner. Hereby I am passing you part of their story directly from the backstage.
DM: Could you please write down the names and occupation of every team member?
YC: Tamara; Iris; Nika; Anja; Urška; Nina. At the time of the tour we were all marketing students.
DM: What made you to organise the tour like this one?
Urška: We are all members of the Student section of the Slovenian Marketing Association and as a part of it we organize marketing trips to different cities and countries to get to know other successful cases in practise. A year before the YUGO Challenge, a team organized an excursion to Silicon Valley called USA Challenge. We knew that we wanted to continue with this format of excursion but we still didn’t have a destination. Considering we all enjoy travelling to countries that were part of former Yugoslavia – we know the language, we love the food, friendly people and good music. We thought it would be great if this time we experienced a little bit more of the business world, to see how similar it is to Slovenian and in what ways it differs. So it was actually an easy decision.
Tamara: Food played really important role when choosing the destination, heheh. We are all big fans of “burek” and “čevapi”.. :)))
DM: What expectancies did you have in regard of the tour?
Urška: I think the main goal still was to get in touch with the best marketing practises in different fields but at the same time to have fun, get to know the culture in-depth and enjoy the experience.
Nika: I was the only member, that was at the both tours – USA and YUGO, so i kind of new, what to expect. But still, both experiences were very different although with the same goal.
DM: What were the main obstacles and setbacks in organising this demanding journey?
Nika: Since this is a big project it takes a lot of time to make it happen and organize everything. In this several months people could change their mind or got a job, therefore were not able to go to the tour. so it was quite a challenge keeping the team together – the 6 of us that stayed.
DM: How did you get in contact with all of the companies and agencies you have been visiting?
Nika: Mostly we just contacted them directly to their email and after called them, if there wasn’t any answer. They were all very nice to us :).
DM: What kind of support did you get and from whom in order to make this all possible?
Nika: It is a great advantage, that we did similar tour a year before (USA), because the concept was already made. We knew where we could have problems, how to get in touch with sponsors, agencies, which media to contact etc. It also means a lot, that we are a part of marketing association, meaning that we had background and support of other members.
DM: Did you pay attention onto specific companies-agencies or you were choosing them randomly? If yes, what were the criteria?
Urška: It was important to cover different areas so in the start we made sure we don’t only plan visits to marketing and advertising agencies. We got to know more about marketing in sport clubs, got some insight into how the media work, what is the marketing like in cultural institutions, in big companies, start-ups etc.
We are all girls so we were also thrilled to see how the world of fashion brands works. All in all, I think we got a good view of marketing world from different aspects. Of course, to really cover everything, we would need a lot more time, but we squeezed as much as we could in a month and it was truly awesome.
DM: What sort of issues-problems have you been facing on the spot?
Nika: Surprisingly there weren’t many. We mostly had fun with our van. It was a little bit older than we expected it to be, so driving it was a bit different. That especially came to life when we needed to turn around that big thing in small places – there were laughs, tears and very nice people (men), who came to help us. Teamwork solves a lot of problems 😉
Tamara: If you are going on a trip for a month especially with five other girls you have to expect and be prepared to have some issues, but when you are traveling with people who are positive and taking care of each other, every problem can be solved. As Nika already said team spirit is the key element in situations like that. We all learnt a lot and gathered some new important skills not only from marketing but also from everyday life.
DM: Is there any plans for the tour in ongoing 2015?
Tamara:So far we didn’t plan a new excursion, but I hope that other, younger (new) members of Students section of Slovenian marketing association are thinking of organizing a new challenge for 2015. What is my wish and also advice is that trips or better said excursions like YugoChallenge and UsaChallenge would become an annual thing in our section, because I think that experiences like that are very welcome in life of every marketing enthusiast.
DM: Is it possible for a wider public to have a look into the materials that have been presented on Potopisno predavanja YUGO Challenge?
Tamara: More or less all the photos and also our impressions were posted on Yugochallenge Facebook and Instagram page during the journey and are still available there. We also wrote few reports for local media but unfortunately all of them are in Slovenian language. On our event “potopisno predavanje” we just summarized the whole trip into the two-hour long lecture but sadly we don’t have a video clip of that.
DM: What would be your message for M-Factor readers?
Tamara: If you have an awesome idea although people think is crazy or impossible, just keep believing and work hard to make it real. Nothing is more blessing than a wish that came true.
Nika: As Tamara said, you can achieve anything you want, if you put some effort into it. And the great deal of success comes with a great team.
Special thanks goes to Nika Štrbenc for being a middle man.