Strong business development professional graduated from Universitatea de Vest in Timisoara, AdHugger.net discussed with Delia Dragomir, co-founder of Eucom Business Language, and found more about the company’s marketing and communication strategy, Agile Learning, criteria for choosing new languages, competition, clients, etc.
Why should companies apply for Agile Learning?
There are many reasons, but I shall list only a few of them:
- Due to the fact that Agile Learning is a concept created and implemented by us since the beginning of 2019, this means that over 1.000 students have passed through our hands, so we have had time to gather and implement feedback, to see what works and how we can improve this concept. From the very beginning, I have thought that a winning option for everyone is the combination between trainer and technology in the classroom. It is completed harmoniously, so that our trainee benefits from a complete and memorable experience.
- Another reason is the progress rate, which in the case of Agile is over 50%. So, trainees in the Agile system have a 50% higher progress than those in the classic, face to face system.
- Frequency and attendance of the course are high, they are over 80%, a very important aspect for the trainee, because this way he / she gets to learn the new notions much faster, but, also for the HR of the client company, this issue is important, because it tells the degree of involvement of his / her own colleagues.
- And it would be worth mentioning, as well, the well-being that is created at these courses, the close connection between our trainees; by our courses, we help them get to know each other better, and thus work better in the projects in which they are involved day by day. Our trainees get to discover their potential and thus they can live their values every single day in the companies in which they operate.
What is your strategy for business to business communication?
There has always been a sincere, honest, straightforward and open communication between us and our partners, oriented towards win-win solutions. The best communication was the direct, personal one, with a focus on the real understanding of needs. These are also the reasons for which our partnerships have lasted for over 10, 12 years.
How important is for you the marketing and communication strategy and how much do you invest in it?
I mostly did marketing and communication internally. I have collaborated with external agencies in too few matters. This is also because the specialty of agencies is on the B2C segment, and it was very difficult for us to find an agency specialized in B2B and which would offer us all the services we need. Or we, as we work exclusively B2B, have a different type of approach with our clients, we do not address masses, the volume is not a big one, we have to work in a micro-targeted way, on the responsibility of everyone’s needs. These are the reasons for which we have carried out a lot of actions internally, relying on common sense and putting ourselves in the “shoes” of others.
How has this strategy changed for you during the years and why?
We have started to show ourselves more, meaning that we have decided to talk more about ourselves, about what we do, about who we were and who we are. We have let the people behind the business to be seen more. Until this year, we had a colder, distant approach. But starting with this year, we realized that we are actually people among people and we have decided to let our souls, passions, weaknesses, strengths and mistakes be seen. Let’s be good and bad, but, yet, people ☺
What are the criteria for choosing the new languages you are introducing in your curricula?
The request that came from our partners. We have always responded promptly to requests that have come to us. In this field, it is very difficult, almost impossible to create a need, especially now, when everyone is very attentive to what they invest, how much they invest, what they invest in and what ROI is. Even if we have extraordinary trainers of rare languages, for example Japanese, if our partner does not need that language, he / she shall never organize a Japanese language course, especially not in these times. So, when the request arises, we are able to initiate all approaches and respond positively. Because the CAN DO attitude is one that characterizes us and sets us in motion. We have always enjoyed responding to challenges.
What do you offer differently than the competition?
First and foremost, our background, that of the founders, is atypical, meaning that neither I nor Silviu have basic language studies. We initiated this out of the desire to take courses differently, “not like in school”, interactive courses, courses in which experiential component is predominant. We have been concerned from the very beginning not to go through a schoolbook, not to work according to an imposed material, but to adapt and customize the entire course and the entire course support to the objectives of our partner on the one hand and to the objectives of our trainees on the other hand. Or being able to do this is not easy at all. It requires a great deal of skill and tenacity on the part of our trainers. Getting to satisfy everyone involved and doing it in an interactive way, so that all participants feel good, is a great thing and a lot of work and skill behind it.
How has your portfolio of clients evolved in time and why?
Besides being some of the largest international companies present in Romania, our partners are very nice people, who have been with us for years, who have trusted us and have been patient with us. We made mistakes, and they were willing to understand us and be with us when we fixed them. We have learned a lot from them. Coming from multinational companies, the culture of feedback has always been present in their lives, and we have also learned from them how to embrace feedback and look at it as a step towards evolution, towards forward.
What do you wish for 2021, from a business point of view?
To continue our mission to be “your bridge to the world”, to continue to help our trainees discover their potential by means of foreign languages, to open new universes, new opportunities for them. To continue to positively impact the lives of the people we come in contact with, to continue to show them that learning can also happen in a pleasant way, and to feel good throughout the process. To continue to show them that, if you are in a study group, this helps to build relationships and to a better mutual understanding.
If you were to compare the two economic crisis you caught while being entrepreneurs, which one do you consider to be worse and why?
This one because it has affected us all, from children to the elderly. Regardless of age, social status or occupation, we have all been affected. And we have been affected to a point where it hurts the most and to which we are the most sensitive, that is health.
The current crisis has forced us to redefine ourselves, to reconfigure routes in a way we did not think would be possible. So, it comes bundled with a lot of benefits, with a lot of life lessons, of overcoming limits, of restoring limits and priorities, of connecting with the basics.
What piece of advice would you offer someone starting the entrepreneurial path right now?
Be open to feedback, to collect data, analyze it and make decisions based on it. To be attentive to the needs that are in the market and to which of the problems in the market the product / service that he / she offers responds. Not to pay too much attention to those who say it can’t work. To strongly believe in the purpose he / she has defined for himself / herself, and to work bearing in mind that it is the only chance he / she has. To expect it to be hard, very hard, but to believe that, to the very end, everything was worth it.
How has the closing of schools impacted your business? Did the number of online courses grow for you?
This subject is also a personal one, because I have 2 children at school. During all this time I have worked from home, so I can be next to them and I can say that it is a challenge, as a parent, to be able to work from home with children in online school. You have to coordinate very well, to take into account their fixed breaks, lunch breaks, which must not coincide with your meetings and so on and so forth. Sometimes, even technology fails, the laptop crashes and it also updates from time to time.
Alongside with moving activities online, people have become much more receptive to our Agile Learning program. If before it took longer to convince them to agree to try this concept, now they have become much more receptive and open to trying such an approach. And they see the benefits and advantages and they like it ☺ There were companies that have decided to keep only our courses during this period, because they saw the benefits. And, in addition to the linguistic progress that their colleagues had, they saw how our programs contributed to the well-being of the company, even some of the partners confessed to us that they prefer to continue the programs with us just to keep an oasis of normality within the company. These feedbacks have given us the strength to move on and mobilize.
How did you have to adapt to the situation?
By the same principles, we listened, we asked, we implemented. We stayed close to the team, partners, trainees, we did our best to understand all points of view and needs and we looked for the most suitable and applicable solutions.
We mobilized very quickly, in just 2 days we managed to move our entire activity online. And when I say the entire activity, I mean everything, we moved over 400 groups online. And that meant a lot of work. We have learned to work on all possible platforms, because some of our partners have certain restrictions. We discussed it with the team, with the trainers, who, of course, most of them had never done such a thing before. Even if we had the concept of Agile Learning, the sessions with the trainer took place face-to-face, or now everything had to be moved online. Many meetings with our partners, with the participants so that we can align ourselves and find the best and most suitable solutions. And once again we saw how a united and results-oriented team can manage to move its entire activity online in just 2 days.
How important is for you educating the market you are operating on?
It is very important, especially that, in the 18 years of activity, it has been easy to notice that everyone is focused on his / her business and knows his / her “segment” very well. It is not malevolence or anything else, but it is simply natural not to understand what is behind each business, until you operate in that business. That is why I believe that market education should be a permanent concern of any business, regardless of the field in which it operates. It is but natural for your partner not to know everything, because he / she is not in daily contact with what you do, he / she does not follow trends and news as you follow, because, if he / she did that for each of his / her suppliers, when would he / she have time to pursue his / her own business?
That is why I encourage everyone to communicate as much as possible, to say what is happening in his / her field, only in this way you get to be known by your partners and to see and appreciate your true value.
Eucom was founded in 2002, in order to prove that a foreign language can be also learned in an interactive way, and “not like in school”, and to respond to the needs and challenges of companies in full expansion and integration into the globalized business environment. It is the largest company in Romania that organizes foreign language courses and language assessments in the B2B segment and it has the mission of being “your bridge to the world” for any company wanting to perform in a global business environment. Learning a foreign language with them is performed in an experiential, pleasant way, with an ideal combination between trainer and technology.