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A new generation academy in digital marketing!

What is Happy Education Academy? How was it set up? What types of training does it organize? Who teaches? Who can participate? Where is the future of digital marketing going? We had a pleasant conversation on all these questions.
RADAAR: Welcome, Mr. Tunç. First of all, thank you very much for being a guest to RADAAR. We hope we will have a pleasant conversation. How are you?

Tunç Berkman: I'm fine Ayşegül, thank you very much. I thank you, for your invitation to the RADAAR team. I hope it will be enjoyable too. The weather is nice, the environment is good, I'm in a good mood these days, so my energy is high. I hope I reflect this energy to the feast.

RADAAR: Hopefully, very good. Well, you know that we are in the normalization process due to the pandemic; the situation we all live. How's it going?

Tunç Berkman: The pandemic in essence ... As we are used to now, but ... It still has not passed and the second stage is showing the numbers and increasing every day. I hope we will get through with the flu season without any major problems. But this will continue for another year in our lives. So, at least one more year, until the vaccine is available… So, we'll learn to live with that. We learned to walk around with masks. We learned to work from home, and we learned to hold meetings outdoors. How do we do those open air meetings in winter, I just wonder about him.

RADAAR: Yes.

Tunç Berkman: So it's a different period. Mankind adapts to everything. I can say that it passes with adaptation...

RADAAR: Mr. Tunç, we will talk about Happy Academy in great detail, but if there are people who did not know before, in other words, who is Tunç Berkman ?, What did you do before Happy Academy? Let's talk about these a little bit first?

Tunç Berkman: Well, of course, with pleasure ... In short, let me try to get it together quickly. It is not too short, but ... I got my university and master education in America. Then I started my first business life in America, I worked in a dating company in New York, for about two years. Then, on one occasion, we met Ali Bey, Ali Koç. I started working at Koç Group in Turkey. I started as a Business Development Manager at Koç Holding, worked at Koç Holding for four years and at Koç Holding for three and a half years. What we did with Cisco at that time is now called digital transformation, we called it e-transformation at that time, we did a project about the digitalization of the company and the digitalization of its infrastructures and the digitalization of processes. At that time, two companies were formed in that project. One of them; Travel business online called Book in Turkey, the other is; A data-based marketing with a money brand called Tanı Pazarlama, a company that creates the database of all companies of the Koç Group, has emerged. In the continuation of that project, an ambient credit card project with Yapı Kredi, called My Koç Family, was created for Koç employees, a loyalty project. For employee loyalty and for employee benefit. Then I worked at Tanı for a term, a year and a half, as the Operations Director. After that, I moved to Arçelik, I worked as the Strategic Planning and Business Development Manager for the first time in Arçelik. Later, I became the Group Marketing Manager responsible for the Arçelik brand. At the end of my four-year Arçelik adventure, I wanted to work in telecom. A proposal came from Avea, I transferred to Avea as Marketing Director, Marketing and Strategic Planning Director. I also did business development work there; We did different works such as Fenercell, Galatasaray Mobile, and we issued tariffs such as tariffs for all directions. At the end of my 3-year Avea adventure, at a time when it was talked about Avea Turk Telekom merger, a different offer came. And because I wanted to learn about the media, I switched to a media agency group as General Manager. 3 years agency that I founded two companies while living my experience, I am one of many angel investor from Turkey's first licensed. One is mobilexpress, still ongoing, it was a fintech company, it started the credit card storage process, more precisely, it started with marketing and sales on SMS, then it turned into fintech and a credit card storage operation. Different applications have developed in mobilexpress. Now in its tenth year, it is now becoming a payment company. There was a brand called Chado Tea created by a friend of mine who worked at Koç, I became a partner of it and we started to bring and sell tea from all over the world. Especially in restaurants, mainly in retail chains such as Macro. Then Starbucks was another customer. When Starbucks brought its own tea, we gave us frenchies and started to open our own store. It is currently in 4-5 locations, 4 in Istanbul and one in Ankara. Then there are different corners, but 4 locations are Chado branded locations. After that, after I spent 3 years in the agencies and 3 years in the media agency group, I established my own digital agency. After the 3rd year and when I founded the agency, you name it, an offer came from Vestel. I evaluated the proposal at that Vestel and became the Deputy General Manager of Marketing at Vestel in December 2013. I was in Vestel until November 2019. After Vestel, I left to do my own work and because we had different opinions, at the end of 6 years. These things happen in a professional place. And I started doing my own work. Here, on the one hand, I am on the board of directors of many companies, some of them are start-ups, some of them are established companies… We have a project that we are consulting from an artificial intelligence based world marketing company. Apart from that, I am in the advisor group of a company called Bolt Insight. They are doing market research. In addition, I entered two of our new orphans and entered their board. One of them; It is called Triber Shop. Influensers are here, phenomena design and sell their own products. They make their own designs and sell them. We are on the logistic side of those products on Triber basis. In other words, it creates a channel for sales and finds producers. The only thing that phenomena and influencers do is to design and make their products here. So it's a very easy model for them. I also became a new teacher for a company called Direct Click. You can order any product online at any time from the app. For example, if you don't have nails at home, you want nails. If there is no toothpaste, you want toothpaste. Whatever you want comes instantly, depending on the region you are in. It is also a new business model. On the one hand, they continue, on the other hand, I have a little consulting operation myself. From there, I advise some companies. Like this, right now.

RADAAR: It is very beautiful.

Tunç Berkman: I forgot I left him for the last time so we could talk about Happy. We founded Happy Education 6 months ago, together with Can Uysal. He is also one of the founders of Nişantaşı University. Now he owns Biltes Colleges. Our aim is to teach everything about digital marketing and marketing at Happy. Here, we have 14 students right now in the first course, it started 2 weeks ago. We did not start badly, I hope it will get better.

RADAAR: You have accumulated a lot in your professional life, very nice. We see that you are improving yourself a lot and constantly adding new things, and I am sure that this information will serve as advice for newcomers to the profession. But I wonder about your journey to entrepreneurship after a corporate background. So how did this road come about, how did it develop?

Tunç Berkman: As I said, I was lucky when working in a corporate, as an angel investor myself, I had the chance to invest in different businesses because I also had good partners. They have come to maturity at some point. We had to take care of them, too. There is a situation like this in the institution; Especially when you are a senior manager in corporate, large structures, and when you come to them with a CV, you can manage very large teams such as General Manager, Deputy General Manager or Director and achieve different results in large structures. However, one of the most difficult issues there is to convince different groups of different policies and to convince their team at the same time, to lead, to add vision to this persuasion process is something that requires a lot of effort. In entrepreneurship, on the other hand, there are sides that require different efforts to convince customers. But in the biggest different corporate structures, you make your own decision and you can do what you believe is right even if you do not convince others. That mistake belongs to you with its reward and sin. So it brings freedom to you. But of course entrepreneurship is very... You can think of institutionalism as a straight path, going on a path, going on a plateau. But entrepreneurship is a structure with many ups and downs, and you need to be ready for uncertainty because it has many ups and downs. You need to be able to mentally program yourself to deal with uncertainty. You must be used to insomnia. Because something always comes to your mind, things can change constantly. If it is the first leader of every company, especially in entrepreneurship... I was not an entrepreneur in the past but I was an Angel Investor. Now I have become an entrepreneur with Happy and with a couple of recent businesses I have done. I am actually doing those jobs now. I used to invest, help networking, mentor or something, and now it can be more difficult and tiring when an act is involved, as I was the last to do it completely. It is also enjoyable when you start to collect fruits.

RADAAR: Yes it is really like that. Well, Mr. Tunç ... I want to come to Happy Academy slowly. What is Happy Academy? How was the idea born? What kind of a need did you decide to establish the Happy Academy?

Tunç Berkman: So ... Now, especially during the Vestel period ... I was in Avea, there were some things when I was in the agency, but there were especially well-educated friends at Vestel, friends who graduated from very good schools ... but there were very few people who knew digital. There are certain groups of people who know digital in our agencies, but again a little less. For example, let me not say that television is the traditional medium, there are many who know about them, whether it be in media planning or in practice... But the new generation in digital is coming behind and the process of specialization takes some time and it is a younger population. But as I said; this does not have a continuous training. Digital is such a thing that I have studied business development and marketing at university now, the basis of it does not change, but something new comes out every 6 months in digital. For example, platforms are changing, tiktok has entered our lives and we have always had tiktok, but it started to be used more, for example, now we are talking on zoom. There was zoom before the pandemic, but it was not used that much. Zoom may become a different marketing tool in the future, for be-to-be, for example companies, company marketing activities. It is very dynamic when you look at it that way. Second, there is a shortage of trained staff. Third, it needs more staff to grow fast. Seeing this, in my time, there was a team that we had digital audits done while at Vestel... That team... There was such a business model. They also recruit and train students, then they don't take money from students, they put them in companies and get their money from the company, they work like a headhunter. But they only bought 10 people to train. There were a lot of applications. We also said; Let us at least serve the rest of these applications. Because we see this need; The education gap in digital, the second is the human resource deficit, the third is the need for development of human resources and the work is very good professionally, they are the people who find professionals who do the job very well and work in different companies, agencies or their own companies, digital marketing, media planning and on education... We formed a team with them. We have 17 trainers, the trainers also have backups. We kept the content mainly on marketing. Then, apart from that, since e-commerce has grown so much now, there are trainings on e-commerce and e-export. Plus, apart from having all aspects of digital marketing, if they want to specialize like programmatic, there are also smaller programs such as SEO, in the form of Search Engine Optimization. We also established Neuromarketing, which is an innovative idea. We will put affilate marketing training so how to do more affilate marketing serial? We will teach how to make joint marketing activities in different brands. For example, we put in an innovation training to design products people love. Managers who have not studied finance, basic finance or advanced finance for start-ups also benefit from this. But we will not open it very much, so it will be a place where we concentrate on marketing vertically and touch all areas of marketing. Happy Education Academy and as I said there will be such innovative courses on product design or service design. Apart from that, there will be jobs such as e-commerce and export, which are already an extension of digital and constitute an important pillar. And also finance or finance for start-ups... We will continue with trainings that we do not diversify, such as executive communication finance.

RADAAR: Well… Who is your team?

Tunç Berkman: As I said, these 17 people in different agencies and companies are at the level of directors and managers responsible for marketing, or some of them have worked in corporate life for many years and have set up a separate consultancy company, they are currently providing consultancy to big brands, there are these. Sinem has an academy coordinator. Our friend Sinem previously worked at Tan Sağtürk Academy. From there he was a manager responsible for PR and customer relations at Eyüp schools. Now he went to our academy. We have an assistant friend working with him. This is the team. We were going to teach the lessons offline at first, before Covid. Inside Akasya AVM, there is a shared office space called Work Company. In Levent, we had not agreed yet, but then we would understand with Kolektif House and we would give it in two locations in order to reach the residents of the European Side. We were going to put their leg online for those who are not in Istanbul. But with Covid, I unfortunately had to return online for all trainings. I am also teaching, by the way, I am giving a three-hour lecture on Marketing Strategy and Market Psychology. Apart from that, we will add a new module on retail marketing, that is, retail marketing of this marketing. It will be given by another friend of mine whom I knew before. He has worked on these issues for many years and is still working on retail marketing. The team is like this...

RADAAR: Well… who are the trainings for, that is, with whom?

Tunç Berkman: In other words, a person who has gone to university can also attend, that is, a person in the first year of the university can also participate. Mainly, but we see this, as I said, there were 14 new students. It was not even 2 weeks since the lessons started, we started on September 15, so it was 9 days or 8 days? Something like that… And most of the participants have 3-4 years of stuff, let's say the weight, they have experience. Some have their own businesses, some marketing, some sales. There are a few people who are at the university, who are in the last year of the university. There is a person who is in the 3rd grade of the university. A person who just started university… I think he has passed to the second grade or just right… When you look at it mainly, we can say that university students and people who are in the 3rd or 4th year of their career.

RADAAR: We have just mentioned; returning to distance education. What do you think about distance education? Do you think that is as efficient as face-to-face training?

Tunç Berkman: So like this… It may never be as efficient as face-to-face training in my opinion, but it is efficient. Let me tell you why it is efficient; First of all, our classes are 14 people here, we do not want to increase it to more than 20, at least we use a platform called Vedubox, it works based on Zoom. Once you say 14, 15, 20 people, everyone can see each other on the screen. But for example, I am very personally active in the classroom. I try to provide more such interactivity. I try to get everyone involved. Trying to get everyone on the screen to participate is getting more difficult. We have an advantage in our platform; We film all the trainings, live trainings, teachers are one-to-one, there are questions and answers, there are quizzes, there are pop-up quizzes. We are doing case studies, that is, for example, a friend who opens Google's Analytics and tells a subject in Google Analytics can divide them into small groups with their examples and make people work on the screen. After that, we do quizzes, as I said. Here we get their comments about the instructor at the end of each training. We get their comments on the content of the training from the children and the participants. And according to him, we fix and improve the next training. It is an advantage to be active and lively. Of course, it is a little harder to catch up with classroom education. It has an advantage as follows; Since all the trainings are videotaped, we have a data library and they can watch the lessons from there. They can download it as PDF. So we try to provide as much interactivity as possible. And we made it suitable for this platform. In other words, we made the trainings available online as much as possible. That's why we're trying to catch up. But I still think it is 70-80% efficient compared to in-class training, this is online training.

RADAAR: Well… both universities and more focused initiatives like you… More and more institutions started to provide education in this field, as you know. So how do you see the trainings in this field? So do you think its efficiency is good or is it lacking?

Tunç Berkman: I have attended 2 now, so let me tell you with full experience, I wanted to experience it during this quarantine period, as we will also give these trainings. There was a training called a digital marketing analysis. In other words, there were also senior managers or mid-level managers. For example, it wasn't real time. There were documents there, you were reading the documents. The teachers had videos, you were watching the videos. Assignments are only in real time, so they give you case studies like case studies. You were answering those case studies, sending them and commenting on them with the trainer. I learned a lot of things there, but when you look at it in terms of efficiency, I did not get the efficiency I wanted. Then I enrolled in a program called Data Science for Executives at the London School of Economics, it lasted five weeks. It was 2 months on MVT. Five weeks but it was intensive, that is, it started at 10:00 in the morning and ended at 13:30 in the afternoon for 3 days each week, it ended at 15:00, sorry, it was 5 hours. For example, I benefited him because it was like a school, in front of the live teachers, the class was 12 people, we were divided into class groups. Homework, we were doing a case study together. It was a little more efficient for me. But even that is progressing so fast that it cannot measure your level of knowledge. I think it is necessary to measure the level of knowledge with tests and things, measure what people have learned and go over the missing issues. They can't do it fully. For example, universities do this more easily offline. They measure you and then they say, look, you know the scores are like this, but you need to train this side a little more. So there are lower rates of referral to you individually. They make comments on your request and they say that your homework is good here, it is good here, look over there. But since there is no such thing as staying for a while since it is an executive certificate program, they do not make people nervous. So it will be efficient but very dependent on you, the person, how efficient it will be.

RADAAR: To compare with abroad, how do you find the competencies of professionals working in this field in our country, in terms of digital marketing?

Tunç Berkman: I think there are very good professionals. As I said, they need to follow the agenda very well in order to improve themselves and to be constantly updated. They should attend the trainings. Learning has no age and no end. Technology is changing very quickly. Applications are also changing very quickly. I think they should also be investing more in themselves on this issue. Otherwise, there is a very good group when you look at it in terms of professionalism or in the light of knowledge. I think this group should invest more in itself for its continuity, I think it should..

RADAAR: So nowadays, as we already talked about, digital marketing is quite overwhelmed and becoming more and more dominant. So completely in the middle of our lives. What do you think about this subject? So, do you think corporations and brands should focus on this area? Should it turn into digital marketing? Or should they also benefit from other marketing methods?

Tunç Berkman: They should definitely benefit. Because, okay, sitting at the heart of our digital life, we wake up on the phone all day, sleep on the phone, go to the toilet by phone, almost… But there is also something like this, now it depends on what purpose you do. So now there is something called marketing, marketing has 4-5 batteries, that is, a vertical column. First of all, you try to create brand awareness, after you create brand awareness, you try to increase brand awareness and enter that person's perception area. Then you try to enter the preference area that we call constration set. After entering the preferred area, you create journeyed interests that will go towards purchasing, you remind yourself again, that is, you regeneration and remarketing. After that, you go on sale. Now, in digital, this is a much more comfortable thing. Because digital also has different platforms. For example, while Google first uses Instagram and Facebook for brand awareness, Google can be used more for regeneration and retargeting. But it is also possible to use them in different ways. That's why, if you plan the right rate of return and return on investment and prepare content suitable for the medium, if you follow people's social needs well and do things for them, digital is very efficient. But still create brand awareness ... outdoor, radio and television, especially television we knus very strong Turkey in particular. Therefore, the benefits are very high in terms of investments for measurement in digital and efficiency in terms of sales-oriented businesses. For brand awareness, you need to be in different media so that people can show your brand and message over and over again as much as possible. This is television, open air and radio, and newspaper, unfortunately, has dropped a lot. Everyone reads newspapers on the internet. The magazine was already scarce in our country. But certain areas of specialization can also be interesting in the journal in terms of general use. They will come back online anyway, mainly when you look at it. When you look at it like this, you say the name, you need to create a good mix in terms of efficiency, we should not be one-sided.

RADAAR: What kind of marketing activities are you doing to promote Happy Academy, Mr. Tunç?

Tunç Berkman: We are currently holding Instagram and Facebook for brand awareness and partially with the gamification we do, we are holding competitions here, we are posting teacher videos, we are doing promotional days from the competitions, etc. We use them mostly to tell brand awareness and how we do business. As I said, after creating a brand thing on Google, we make directions using gd on google when there is a digital marketing education or training that we will bring to them in direct searches. We make optimizations in Google Search. On the well side, we make darts posts on Instagram. I can summarize as our aim is to create awareness first, then to create leads, to increase engagement with leads, because we are a new brand right now. So we use gamification but gamification a lot.

RADAAR: How do you personally see the future of digital marketing? So what will we be talking about in 2, 5, 10 years?

Tunç Berkman: For example, now I am doing my own program on Youtube. I am doing a program called Ezberi Boz with Tunç Berkman, it is aimed at young people. I forgot to mention him. In the academy, for example, we took 10-minute sections from the lessons of all of our teachers and our instructors on Youtube. We're going to put them there now. So, for example, when we post a post on Instagram, with a teacher or a trainer, or on LinkedIn, we will direct them to that instructor's Youtube channel, that is, they will be able to watch the Happy Academy and our training there. Thus, he will see that he will enter the channel, "the instructor teaches this, this is the contents". They'll see a 15-minute slice. There will be an awareness from there. So they will be able to understand the thing too. Because people are especially looking for digital experience and trying to see how the service they will receive with different experiences will have an effect on them. As such, it should be made known. Returning to the problem, for example, I think this will happen now; there will be active listening. So what does active listening mean? People will do as follows on social media; Such a service will come to brands. They will say, "What is your target audience?" Here is my target audience between the ages of 18-35, female, male, a, b, c,… Anyway… Then they will say that in this active listening, the woman in your target audience is interested in the following issues, they talk about it on social media. Men mostly watch these, share with each other about these issues, they attach great importance to the following issues, they are about life or politics. And with those reports coming out of there, brands will understand that my target audience is talking about this, this type of content, listening to this kind of music… Seeing this, they will be developing their own communication strategies or product development strategies. In other words, it will no longer be based on the data in the CRM company, but on the data created by the segment on social media platforms. Data analytics and data analysis will become much more important. But when it comes to data analysis and data analytics, we should not think about it now, people who have studied not statistical engineering, but also psychology and sociology will become much more important that what does the data collected by those systems mean and how they are interpreted. So that it can be understood more easily.

RADAAR: So yes. Technology is moving really fast. And we'll probably be talking different things 5-10 years from now. Finally, Mr. Tunç, do you have any advice that you would like to give young people who are at the beginning of their career or to professionals who are currently working in this field to get to know the digital world better?

Tunç Berkman: So once, they have to follow a lot of resources. Even I, there are so many sources that I subscribe to newscutters from all of them, a lot of information comes from them. I try to read them and find interesting articles. Either this is a very fast sector. Even 6 months is a very long period, for time digital. That's why everything can change after 6 months. They should follow very good sources. They need to follow technology. Companies should be keeping track of what they invest in, companies in this sector. They should be following how the channels are developing. And they need to keep themselves up-to-date and dynamic. If they want to be successful in this sector, I think the most important criterion is to be curious. Secondly, liking to read is out of curiosity. And try ... So the best thing to understand something is to apply. Therefore, I recommend everyone to apply if they want to learn something about digital or if they want to do something. So "how to make a report and analyze, or if you are doing a design, what should you do to actually make and implement that design". This job is learned by applying. Otherwise, it is very theoretical. It is also forgotten in theory. But when you practice, the brain perceives it, like riding a bike or skiing, anyway, once you learn it, you can make it much better by practicing it. That's why, as I said, plenty of research, reading, being curious… It is the basis of reading that research anyway. And trying to implement…

RADAAR: Mr. Tunç was a really enjoyable conversation. Thank you very much for answering our participation questions at RADAAR: Talks. I hope you enjoyed it too.

Tunç Berkman: Either I have a production that always likes to share. There is a production that also likes to convey my knowledge. I enjoy it. The important thing for me is that the audience can find and recall areas that are beneficial for them as well as they enjoy. If so, it means we have already achieved our goal. Thank you for inviting and hosting me again.

RADAAR: We thank you again and again. It was very nice to get to know the Happy Academy and you closely, to listen to your experiences and to convey them to many people. Thank you so much. Thank you very much for listening to this episode of RADAAR: Talks. I hope you, your audience, enjoyed it too. You can access other episodes from podcast applications such as Youtube, Spotify, Itunes. Please feel free to share your suggestions with us. See you in the next episode, goodbye.

Tunç Berkman: Goodbye, see you soon, stay healthy.

RADAAR: It was really enjoyable. Take care of yourselves.

Tunç Berkman: See you.

RADAAR: See you.