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Who’s afraid of a Finnish mobile marketer?

Finland, the country that gave the world Nokia and Linux, is often seen as something of an engineers’ paradise.

Finland, the country that gave the world Nokia and Linux, is often seen as something of an engineers’ paradise: A place where laconic, no-nonsense individuals can focus on just making stuff that works. Unassuming Finns may not flaunt their skills or even say much at all to you, the common belief goes, but when they go to work, they work hard and they can work wonders. Finland, with its deep talent pool and even deeper design culture, can be a great place to develop a product. But what about bringing it to market?

Here is where Finland’s reputation becomes a double-edged sword. I often hear – but oddly, only from Finns themselves – that Finns have little to no marketing skills or knowledge. Sure, they say, let the Finnish savant with multiple advanced degrees do the coding or handle the product design – but leave the sales and marketing to someone savvy, like the Swedes. But you know what? Finns happen to be great at marketing.

First of all, as a small country Finland historically has always excelled at exports, whether we’re talking about tar and timber in the 19th century, or networking equipment and mobile games in the 21st. By definition, to be a successful exporter you need to be able to bring your goods to market. That means finding and getting to know your partners and customers, earning their trust, and building lasting, sustainable relationships with them. Finns prove themselves in this regard every day, punching far above their weight in the global arena.

From where I sit in the mobile games sector, for example, at any given time there are at least seven or eight Finnish games and apps in the US iOS App Store Top 200 grossing charts. You don’t see similar numbers of apps from other countries of Finland’s size – or even much bigger countries, like France or Italy. Those Finnish apps might be great, but they don’t simply market themselves. Developers like Supercell, Next Games and Rovio (where I work), all of whom call Finland home, all benefit from years of accumulated knowledge and relationships with ad networks and operators in the mobile marketplace.

Furthermore, success in our industry is driven by performance marketing – the advertisers only pay if they see the actual app installs, and repeat advertiser business only happens if the channel delivers results. Show me the clicks and installs, they’ll say, and I’ll show you the money. This is where Finland’s “engineers’ reputation” becomes a virtue once again. For today, especially online, successful marketers must have the data to back the spending up. In an age when technology allows advertisers to see real-time measurement of ROI, ever practical and results-oriented Finnish firms that can harness the modern mobile marketing landscape, are thriving.

Finland, more than most countries, is said to be a place where you are judged by what you do, not what you say. The same happens to be true in the 21st century world of marketing. Need help bringing your amazing app to top of the charts? Maybe you should call a Finn.

Ville Heijari
Chief marketing officer, Rovio Entertainment Ltd