The tech industry has long been looking for a shore in the East to reach out and increase its influence outside the traditional growth spheres, like the USA and Europe. In recent times, Dubai has seemed like a natural fit for this. With its world-class infrastructure, a fast-growing economy and a highly conducive environment for innovation and disruptive technologies, Dubai is increasingly gaining recognition as the region to target if you want to get in on the next growth wave for tech.
All this can be gauged by the fact that many tech leaders and influencers land in Dubai each year to share their thoughts, ideas, and experiences on all things tech. Conferences and seminars have become a frequent occurrence in this desert locale lately, of which one of the most important ones is the Digital Marketing Summit.
Quickly becoming the single most important event in Dubai’s tech calendar, the Digital Marketing Summit is now an annual event that brings together the best leaders from various avenues of tech, each of whom are transforming different industry verticals, in their own ways.
This year, the event was held at the Hilton Dubai Creek on February 13th, 2020, with the theme of changing approaches towards different business models and strategies, in order to keep pace with fast-emerging trends that keep affecting businesses on a gigantic scale these days.
The event was organized by Nitin Naven, the Country Manager of 1.21GWs, and his team. Nitin has always been incredibly enthusiastic about bringing the best in the sphere of digital marketing together on a single platform, so that they can share their success stories and thoughts. This led him towards becoming the brains behind the Digital marketing Summit, which is a now a top event in the Dubai digital circuit.
Nitin kicked off the event with a keynote speech on the importance of this summit and the value that the speakers bring to it. Nitin continued to moderate the day long event, introducing speaker after speaker, giving a brief overview of their professional profiles and the topics they were going to speak on.
This time-around, the speaker line had 7 influencers, from varying industry backgrounds and entrepreneurial experiences. Here’s what each of them talked about:
Interacting with Innovation – Making Moments Memorable:
Caroline Bee, Senior Vice President – Europe, Middle East & Africa, Pico International:
Currently leading PICO International’s expansion strategy for the EMEA region, Caroline Bee is one of the world’s top voices for the propagation of digital engagement for brand activations. Her talk in the DMS revolved around how much of the marketing and branding strategies being used nowadays have become bland and boring.
She focused on shifting the primary focal point of such campaigns towards becoming more audience-oriented rather than just “unique and authentic”. The key takeaway from her talk was how your message should be personalized enough to ensure that the customers are willing to reach and interact with it.
She also touched upon issues that brands commonly face when running cross-cultural brand activations and the ways in which they can develop their voice so that it becomes synonymous with their intended message and vision.
Caroline’s thoughts imbibed the way she managed to pull off incredible work feats in her diverse career. Her work for Coca Cola, leading their hospitality program at the Beijing Olympics and for IBM as their Account Manager for a key incentive program, are her career’s top highlights.
Humanize Your Brand In The Age of Chatbots!
Radwa Hassan, Regional Marketing Director, Emerging EMEA Markets, Hitachi Vantara:
Next up was the audience’s chance of hearing from Radwa Hassan, who’s leading the regional marketing team for the EMEA region at Hitachi Vantara.
Her talk, aptly titled “Humanize your brand in the age of chatbots” laid bare the importance of cultivating influencers for your brand that take your message directly to the audience where it would have the most impact. However, she was not implying to the term influencers as it’s being used today, which includes social media personalities with a large following, rather, according to her, these influencers are your everyday customers and employees.
Her talk emphasized the age-old marketing tactic i.e. word of mouth marketing, and that it still holds incredible relevance and potential even today, only if tweaked according to modern standards, altered to fit the marketing vision and led to the right audience through the right medium.
For background on the speaker, Radwa is an individual with almost 17 years of hands-on experience in leading marketing teams and initiatives across Turkey, Africa, and the Middle East. In her long career, she has held important positions in the marketing teams for organizations such as IBM. She is highly renowned in the industry as the person who can drive ROI from marketing initiatives allowing businesses to lead real-time results from their investments in this area of business.
International SEO and Beyond:
Miranda Gahrmann, Global SEO Manager, Randstad:
Despite many naysayers, SEO is not dead, it’s just that its scope has been significantly altered by search engines like Google, trying to refine the way the word “search” is defined, understood and worked for, in order to ensure that users get the most realistic results possible to their queries.
This has made SEO an increasingly important topic for marketers trying to dominate different niches on search engines in order to lead the way towards growing traffic at the top of the funnel to their digital entities.
This was the gist of the talk that Miranda Garhrmann delivered at the DMS this time around. Miranda is an expert authority on cross-language SEO optimization techniques and in her talk, she identified the unique approaches that one needs to take when optimizing for a brand in multiple languages and regions and still gain relevant results from all the efforts involved.
Being a global e-commerce consultant for more than a decade now, Miranda had a unique perspective on the SEO domain through her work with top brands such as Philips, Mcafee, and Randstad. Her career journey has allowed her to build a very different perspective on how one needs to go beyond conventional SEO practices when required to deliver the kind of results that brands expect from broader, cross-region digital marketing initiatives.
Marketing 2030+, Are Your Marketing Skills Relevant?
Kirsty Sweeney, Country Marketing Manager, Digital Lead for MESA, Hewlett Packard Enterprise:
The ever-changing landscape in the global business environment definitely presents an optimistic situation for brands looking to carve new ways to grow and lead. On the flip side, this volatility is quickly making many skills that we value today irrelevant.
From automation to the induction of big data analysis in marketing, a mind-boggling array of technologies are now being utilized within the marketing sphere and individuals who don’t focus on them enough will soon be driven out of the workforce as they no longer meet the requirements that brands prime them for.
Kirsty Sweeney’s talk etched out the specifics for this growing concern among companies and employees alike and charted out the ways in which employees can build the kind of skills that will allow them to stay relevant in the marketing domain till 2030 and beyond.
She further emphasized on how the Middle East and other emerging regions will be incredibly important to such efforts as they are areas where we will see the most growth and disruptive marketing efforts being implemented in the near future.
Kirsty’s topic was highly relevant to her work niche as through her two decades of experience, she has acquired a vantage point from where she can not just assess the presence of such pressing challenges but also provide her expertise to help solve them.
She is currently serving as the Digital Lead for Hewlett Packard for the MESA region, finding new ways to approach the challenges that her industry faces in building a cohesive atmosphere where talent and emerging technologies can reach a point of unison to drive sustainable growth.
How to keep up with Growth Hacking Strategies in 2020?
Abeer Raza, Co-founder & CMO, Tekrevol:
Every startup wants to achieve just one thing i.e. growth, but how exactly can this be achieved? Is there a certain way to do it? What strategies need to be deployed in order to achieve it?
Answering all these questions and more, Abeer Raza appeared at the DMS with his talk on how to keep up with Growth Hacking Strategies in 2020.
He began his talk by focusing on just important growth is to businesses that are just starting out. Abeer drew from his experiences as an entrepreneur for Tekrevol and Start Inc and gave the audience on the background of how both these companies grew so drastically within years of their incorporation.
Abeer then delved into the most important part of his talk, i.e. one where he focused on how emerging technologies like AI, Big Data, etc. are to be utilized to achieve growth hacking potential for firms in 2020 and beyond. He provided information on how to build and sustain such strategies and the ways in which the team should work in order to successfully implement relevant growth hacking strategies.
Abeer is an industry authority on the topic of growth hacking as in his short entrepreneurial journey, this man has founded, invested and mentored many firms through their startup phase and allowed them to find their feet. He is currently serving as the Co-Founder and CMO at Tekrevol, an enterprise-level digital solutions provider firm with a focus on developing cutting edge digital properties including mobile apps, websites, wearable apps and more.
Brands Are From Mars, Customers Are From Venus:
Hani Masgidi, Managing Director, Info Media Consultancy:
With the market becoming ever more competitive and through the rising marketing and branding clutter, it’s becoming an increasingly difficult task for brands to attract, convert and retain consumers on a consistent basis. Hani Masgidi is one of the few people who have an answer to this problem and he laid it bare in his talk at the DMS this year.
Hani suggested that nothing in this new age industry will ever take off if it is not backed by the right data being extracted and utilized to its full potential. Big Data Analytics, the extremely powerful tool to accrue the most accurate insights on consumer relationships, is where Hani believes that the potential to successfully navigate the Customer/Brand relationship lies.
In his talk, he mentioned how the new age retail industry is where the impact of Big Data Analytics can be the most apparent if applied through the right approach. The MENA region is one of the biggest retail hubs in the world at the moment, so companies and brands working in this sphere can enlist the help of Hani in order to build their customer influence over vast strata.
Hani is currently serving as the Managing Director of Info Media Consultancy, where he informs brands on how they can best approach their relationship with their customers, build a brand voice and prime it effectively through the use of impactful technologies. He has a vast amount of experience in multiple different niches, making him a dynamic expert for the topic he spoke so passionately about at the DMS.
The Importance of Blogging and Giving Compelling Content to Optimize Your Company Website:
Maha Ahmad, Marketing Consultant:
The adage that “Content is King” has been used so much that now if someone does use it, it sounds clichéd. But despite this, content is still the number one determining factor to help brands rank on search engines, drive traffic and engineer maximum conversions. But how exactly does one write content that can do that? This is a question that has perplexed many digital marketers, so guiding them towards building a winning content strategy, Maha Ahmad led her on talk to on the importance of blogging and how to produce compelling content at the recently concluded DMS in Dubai.
Maha discussed different types of blogs, such as audio blogs (podcasts), video blogs (vlogs) and all other types of blog types that are also part of the decision making process for customers to use.
In her talk, she emphasized on the fact that blogs are a key influence on companies’ brands and increase sales if used properly. They also lead to increased purchase decisions. Maha also focused on the importance of creating authoritative, well-crafted backlinks, that not just help you rank better on Google but also create credibility and engagement with customers, in addition to driving new traffic to businesses. Maha continued on to explain how blogs influence the purchase decision of customers, and that bogs are indeed used as one of the major sources of driving business success if used wisely to help influence purchasing decisions.
Maha has amassed all such valuable insights through her 15 years of experience as a top marketing resource. From project management to content development, she is a 360 performer who has led numerous brand initiatives in various spheres that have translated into real-time growth and success for the businesses she has represented.