The three things we liked at the “Alfa-bank” business conference

Updated: 28.03.2016

Business stories, Igor ZingerMann and Internet-networking

The clients’ club meeting took place on February 18 in Kazan. Three hundred top-managers and business owners from Tatarstan took part in it, including managers from Neti.

Strange as it may seem such events are rare in Kazan. That’s why it was even more flattering to see that “Alfa-bank” can organize such conferences and get people together.

It’s useless to name all the speakers and their regalia. They all are familiar to chief executives and marketologists. We’d better tell about the most memorable things.


Actual business cases debriefing

The event is useful if it helps practically. It’s not difficult to find good theoretical material. It’s more difficult to turn it into real life results.

Among the speakers there were the heads of the companies from Kazan:

- Car dealer “Apelsin” (, which is building a federal network at the moment.

- Structural Insulated Panel producer ( with the franchising network in 40 regions.

- The growing network of robotechnics classes -

The businessmen told about their business goals and current issues and then got feedback from the speakers and participants. The experts Igor Mann (Игорь Манн), Alexei Ivanov (Алексей Иванов) and Michael Smolyanov (Михаил Смолянов) pointed out the weak points that prevented growing. They thoroughly examined websites, analyzed business models and client service.

We understood that different businesses have the same issues: unclear positioning (weakness of unique selling proposition or lack of it), lack of customer-oriented approach and weak service. At the same time these points can be endlessly improved. That was the topic of Igor Mann’s presentation.


Igor Mann’s presentation

Igor Mann went into the basics: unique selling proposition, positioning, customer service. He told about service-oriented business, getting feedback and handling customer objections.

But business doesn’t consist of client only, as the Russian marketing guru pointed out. Nowadays managers want employers to treat the company as their own. That’s why the manager’s goal is to create an atmosphere that will help the employees suggest ideas about improving different aspects of the business.

Igor also highlighted a very important topic – customer feedback collection. He explained how important it is to thank clients for the feedback, because they make the company better.

As for the material presentation, we noticed two things:

1. Igor worked with the audience as an expert. He held the listeners’ attention, joked and gave excellent examples from the huge companies’ life: “Atlant-M”, Virgin Atlantic, Walt Disney.

2. In his words we felt the connection with the ideas of the training we had at the Zingerman's in the USA. The irony of the moment was in names: in the USA we are taught how to deal with service by Zingerman, in Russia we are taught by Igor Mann. The difference is in mentality only. Igor talked about life in Russia, gave Russian examples and told Russian jokes.


Networking through the Internet

That was the first time we saw the web-service It’s a website, which helps people who take part in conferences meet online. You can login using your social network account. You need to fill in two fields: what you’re looking for and why you’re useful to other people. After that you can communicate with other conference participants and get into new networks. It was like wow effect for us.

There were also traditional off-line coffee-breaks, when  we could communicate. That was an opportunity to meet people from the chat in person.


Time to make

In its invitation “Alfa-Bank” guaranteed inspiration and new ideas. We were not disappointed.

“The conference was enlightening from the point of view of real business-cases, marketing advice and new knowledge. – says Neti CEO Oleg Khalilov. – We started implementing Igor Mann’s easiest recommendations right on the next day.”

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