Pablo Foncillas

Professor, researcher and speaker in business innovation.

Pablo Foncillas speaker, marketinh, innovation, conferencias
English · Spanish

Educated at the Swiss School (speaks four languages), Pablo Foncillas holds a degree in Law and an MBA from IESE Business School. He has combined an academic life with his roles as speaker, executive and consultant for several companies.

Previously he was part of the faculty of IESE, teaching for 10 years Open Executive, MBA, and Executive MBA programs in the Department of Marketing. At IESE he was also academic director of international in-company programs and founder and co-director of IESE’s Industry Meeting on e-commerce. He has given classes to students from prominent institutions the world over, including NYU Stern, ESE Chile, IDE Ecuador and Universidad del Pacífico, as well as INSEAD-CEDEP, among others in Spain, Europe, and Latin America.

Since the 1990s, Pablo Foncillas has combined his management activities with academics and consulting in many companies. He has contributed to the growth of multinationals in various sectors (marketing services, food, airlines, utilities, and leisure) and countries, in different positions at local, national, regional, and global levels. He has helped with the commercialization of more than 200 brands in more than 25 countries, in sales roles and in general management as an integrated member of the executive committee.

Presently, an important part of his work, which includes research and publishing, focuses on the digital environment, how it is enriching commercialization processes and models of companies and how these have an impact on company result accounts. He is also specialized in the areas of business communication, commercialization process innovation, the development of strong brands, and sales in environments of consumer goods and service companies.

He is a member of the advisory board of Línea Directa, a think tank of experts composed of renowned professionals together with company executives, created to foster the transformation of the company.

Pablo is author or co-author of four books (two in 2019, Winners: The method for winning customers in the age of Amazon, in its second edition in 5 weeks since its market release), various cases published by the best business schools in the world, and he is a regular contributor to the media as well as journals on management.

A regular speaker at board meetings and steering committee meetings, he has also been a guest speaker at conferences in various countries on the subjects of e-commerce, omni-channeling, social networks, trends, sales, route-tomarket, business communication, and marketing in general.

Throughout his career, he has won various EFI awards and was on the panel of judges for the Premios Eficacia (Effectiveness Awards) in 2006, the most highly regarded marketing award in Spain. He has also been judge at the El Sol festival, the most significant competition on creativity and innovation in Spain and Latin America.

New marketing changes everything: Ideas, examples, and trends that will transform sales

Marketing is a discipline in constant flux. It is crucial to know what innovations are on the horizon if you don’t want to miss the boat on sales. This talk will address – by means of a “quick overview” of dozens of cutting-edge examples – the latest marketing trends.


If I told you that one of the 10 companies who makes the most from online publicity was a store, would you believe me? Amazon is in this group. What would you think if I suggested that television in your country will be an algorithm in 5 years? Netflix, the most global channel in the world, present in some 120 countries, uses algorithms to connect with its customers. Who is more influential among younger generations (or millennials): a YouTuber or a Hollywood star like Leonardo DiCaprio? The latter appeared last in a recent study among 1,500 young people, losing to a handful of Internet celebrities. Which group of people would come to mind if I told you that they are constantly online, spending 4 hours more a month than any other group surfing the Net? They’re called silver surfers, referring to the elderly, a group of people that is transforming the physiognomy of the Internet.

Marketing is changing. The way companies and customers connect is changing. The way to sell is changing. And it will continue to do so. Are we ready? Do we know how to create content that will attract our customers? Have you considered that advertising is changing faster than ever?
And what should the talent who oversees all these changes be like? In this eminently exploratory session, we will answer these questions and more.

Main benefits:

• Discover the latest ideas that leading companies are employing to connect with the market and their customers.
• Get to know the behavioral trends of the consumer – off the corporate radar – with respect to shopping and the use of products and services.
• Explore the most outstanding techniques that companies are using to encourage their customers during the purchasing process.
• Understand the necessary talent and organization challenges for selling better.
• Inspire reflection and above all mobilize attendees to evolve, with the aim of defeating competitors in the battle for the market.

Forensics of failure: Keys to fail with success

We live in a success-oriented society where common belief is that failure is bad. However, the innovation process leads to failure more often than not. And innovation is in high demand these days. Putting in place a failure management process can be the way to turn failure into insights and learnings, and boost your innovation output.


Innovation is essential for companies. The times when you could spend weeks, months, or even years designing, testing, and improving a product or service are long gone. Everything happens very fast. Today, if you use the “old” methods in sales and marketing, your product or service will be obsolete by the time it reaches the market. Innovation in such a fast and uncertain environment unequivocally leads to failure many times. And the difference between winners and losers is how they manage failure. It is important that organizations provide a “safe environment” where ideas can blossom, develop, and grow. It is a must to know how to manage failure, and both individuals and organizations should analyze failure and learn from it in order to prosper.

How do we react to failure? How many success stories have risen from big failures? Why is it hard to talk about failures? Does your organization allow room for failure as part of the innovation process? Do you and your organization learn from your failures?

In this session we will discuss success and failure stories, glance through important research findings about failure, blame, and the associated learning process. Finally, we will discuss a set of tools that will help you set the “failure wheel” in a favorable direction.

Main benefits:

• Accept that failure is part of the innovation process
• Understand how your organization should act so that failure can occur as part of the innovation process
• Set the tools that will allow you personally, and your organization, to analyze and learn from failure.

Retail Safari

The Retail Safari is an integrated, personalized experience for each client depending on their specified needs (ad hoc routes). It has been tested in various cities and countries in Europe with a multitude of executives. The workshop is structured in 3 steps:

1. Team visits to locations accompanied by a trendspotter/coolhunter who will help make the experience more vibrant. The locations are chosen for using advanced practices in connecting with their customers, among other factors. Each team will visit unique routes (no team will repeat any location) to ensure the richness of the session.
2. Teamwork accordingly to previously assigned tasks and brief group presentations of their conclusions
3. Wrap-up session where we will explore, in an open but ordered debate, the latest brand trends in customer connection

Failure forensics

The times when you could spend weeks, months, or even years designing, testing, and improving a product or service are long gone. Today, if you use the “old” methods in sales and marketing, your product or service will be obsolete by the time it reaches the market. Innovation in such a fast and uncertain environment unequivocally leads to failure…many times. It is important that organizations provide a “safe environment” where ideas can blossom, develop, and grow. Research shows that one can actually learn more from failure (your own or someone else’s) than from success; it is a must to know how to manage failure, and both individuals and organizations should analyze failure and learn from it in order to prosper.

The experience economy applied to the customer

Customers are the base of any company, and they have become promiscuous in their
relationship with brands in a hyper-competitive environment. Commercial, marketing, and customer management are the areas with direct customer contact. It is very common to hear the heads of those departments complaining about the lack of “sensitivity” to the customer in their organization. It might seem a paradox when you consider that growth or profitability per customer are common objectives within companies’ command structures.

The answer for many companies has been to find a way of differentiating themselves and adding value to their products through experiences. The experience economy deals with how to do this and win customers’ hearts.

The 4 essential steps in social media

Worldwide there are 3 billion people connected to the Internet, representing 80% of the world’s wealth. In a recent study at IESE we concluded that one in three companies in Spain currently have no presence in social media. On the other hand, we know that online social media is changing the way in which companies build their commercial relationships, develop their Brand awareness, manage corporate reputation, deal with customer complaints, or even communicate with their investors.

No one wants to let a commercial opportunity of this size float by, but is your organization ready for it? What about your processes? Do you have the right talent? How can a BTB or BTC company take advantage of social media?

Innovation: The talent challenge

To innovate it is not enough to motivate – innovation goes beyond having good ideas: it requires the combination of a set of behaviors and processes to turn ideas into profitable products or services. The final objective of innovation may vary depending on the company, but at its heart it’s the same: you need ideas, and mechanisms to make them flow and enrich each other until turning into a specific output with value to the organization.

Is your organization encouraging pro-innovation behaviors? Does it have the necessary
processes to allow these behaviors to create ideas which could become a valuable output?

Learning to dance with eCommerce

The e-commerce “industry” is one of the few growing at a blistering pace in Europe, up to two digits in most markets (in both Business-to-Business and Business-to-Consumer). It already represents 312 trillion euros in the business-to-consumer market alone (3,5% of European GDP.) Taking advantage of what digital provides to business is key. At the same time, it is a great challenge for organizations, teams, and leaders.

Winners: How to win customers in the Amazon Era.

How can I stand out in the era dominated by Amazon? How do I connect with the new users? How is my company moving towards omnichannel? What are hyperservice and servification?

In Winners you will find the secrets to connect with your current and future clients, using the technology just as a tool.

Winners: How to win customers in the Amazon Era.

The Supermarket

The book presents an analysis of the current functioning of this type of establishments, in addition to a future vision. It’s a sort of treatise addressing every angle of the reality of these companies.

His chapter talks about “the future of the supermarket,” he reviews the history of this type of establishment as well as present concepts relating to omnichanneling or new strategies for reaching users more effectively (such as hyperservice and servification).

He also explains why he believes Amaz-ona will be the supermarket of the future, meaning it will have the best of the Amazons of the world (on-proposals) and the best of the Mercadonas (off-proposals), and at the same time it will listen to users, offering them extraordinary service.

The book’s objective is to become a work of reference in Spanish, and at the same time serve to honor the more than 265.000 people working in companies of the sector in Spain.

The Supermarket

Fashion in the digital world

In the new digital context, boundaries between the business and the communication in the fashion world become diluted. The e-commerce platform is the best way for a brand to reach an advantageous on-line communication and in this scenario on-line publicity and sales join together ¿ Is this a new phenomena for fashion¿ ¿ What is the best way to manage it?...

Fashion in the digital world

Not afraid to change.

Based on real events, this text addresses the difficulties and opportunities that professionals in transition have. People who have lost their jobs, professionals who want to change jobs from their current position, executives who are forced to lead a new project with strong doses of professional risk and therefore to be fired ... everyday situations that today force to change its protagonists.

The challenge proposed by Pablo Foncillas in his book is a sincere self-analysis exercise to detect the necessary changes in our professional life. An exercise that can be absolutely extrapolated to any professional or company.

Not afraid to change.