interview with Marco Ruffa, Patrizia Pepe’s Communication and Multimedia Director


Patrizia Pepe is an italian fashion brand founded in 1993 by the couple of entrepreneurs Patrizia Bambi and Claudio Orrea.

Marco Ruffa is the Communication and Multimedia Director at Patrizia Pepe and I spoke with him about his job in the company and his view of the state of PR today.

pp_marco ruffa

Alice: Marco, what is your role in the company?

Marco: My role goes beyond the simple communication officer. Few years ago the company decided to make an important step unifying online and offline communication’s area. I started from the information systems. Then there was an evolution, and I started to manage online sales, communication online and social media, together with a small unit that taked care of generating and managing multimedia content. The next step was to unify a marketing function with a function of IT. So I took a leadership role more complex in which all these functions are integrated into a single unit of work.

Alice: How many people are there in your team and what are their functions?

Marco: Last year we have been reductions in the company. I actually manages a team of 14 people, divided into mini-groups according to their area of action.

Nowadays there are three figures in the specific communication office. One person is responsible for the manufacture of the materials of communication, like the creation of photo shoots for advertising campaigns or look book used for the realization of a catalog, or other channels related to the promotion of the product. This person is also responsible for the media distribution, creating materials, and then managing how they are distributed in different media. Another person is in charge of external relation, handling the classic activities of PR as interviews, product promotion, relationship with the editors who may need our product to make photo shoots and appear in various magazines, and a small part of dressing, i.e. product promotion dressing well-known people. Then one person manages the operational component related to marketing materials, taking care of contact with multibrand and also coordinating our events. Four figures dealing with the e-commercestructure and online campaigns. Even if it is true that the promotion and online planning are tasks of the communication’ sector, when we land in online media we need to collaborate with people from e-commerce area.

Finally, among these groups there are figures involved in the production and management of multimedia content: from photography to video to audio to any other multimedia creation.

Despite the polarization, the group is characterized by a strong interaction. We work all together in an open space office, so when we need to communicate we get closer the chairs and we talk!

Alice: What ‘s your view of the present conditions of PR and communication sector in Italy?

Marco: Speaking about the market, it is evident that there is a big crisis. The crisis in the world of publishing related to the printed paper is expanded in a profound way. It is a crisis that began with the advent of all the information tools related to the digital world and that now is reflected in the PR sector. And perhaps the crisis of global market accentuate this aspect, because companies today h

I also think that the world of PR should change to bring more measurable results in terms of efficiency for the company. Once there was more availability and the company stationed badgets; so, a good communication manager had to vehicular as much as possible the name of the company and its products, falling within the budgets. Today, the evaluation includes another element that it is even more difficult to insert in the PIPE (Private Investment in Public Equity), which is that of the sale.
ave two severe emergencies: spend less and sell more! Combine them is a bit complicated, but unfortunately in times of recession companies spend less on ads because it is the easier cut than they can do in order to save money.

Alice: How are you looking to deal with this crisis?

The strategy to focus on the digital world is a winning strategy, because you have the possibility to negotiate prices where there are no costs for companies that are talking to you. But our goal is get to people who actually are interested in Patrizia Pepe. So the right way is the segmentation. Through a market research, we are strengthening the possibility to create new campaigns that are targeted and focus

. This is the archetype for redesign communication activities in company like ours. 
We are looking for tools that work in detail and then give us actually returns.ed on customer needs by offering the product that the consumer is looking for, when the consumer is looking for

Alice: What specific tools do you use to achieve your strategy?

Marco: Apart from the statistical tools, as Google Analytics, useful for the online detecting, a good example is the use of a good CRM (Customer Relationship Management) in order to segment customers and focus on active users. We did some campaigns categorizing the customers into four clusters based on a mix of recency, frequency and value of purchase. So, how many times purchases, recency with which you come visit me on my web site and what is the value produced. We segmented into high value, medium-high, medium-low and low value, and we sent several campaigns during the weekend trying to offer the right product to the right users.

Another tool is the “network performance”, ie the possibility to work with bloggers who are contacted through affiliate networks like Zanox and Tradedoubler. These affiliates select blogs for interest and topics, offering the possibility to run online campaigns and creating win-win strategies. Through analytics, we can trace the traffic from that website and determine the contributed value.

There is always a part of traditional communication, but in this case it is much more difficult to segment the target. In this case it is pure brand and you need to find the right location,  in line with your message and your product.

However, the important thing is to build networks that then gather efforts of all the channels in a much more effective way.