A load of cobblers

Filed in Middle East marketing, Technology by on July 12, 2016 0 Comments

At some point in reading our blog, you may well notice a gap in posts from 2014 to 2016. It’s a case of cobblers, to be honest…

The old proverb that a cobbler’s children are the last to have shoes is probably never so true as it is when applied to the marketing and communications industries. Ad agencies tend not to advertise themselves, brand agencies don’t build their brands and PR agencies themselves rarely invest as much time, effort and intellectual vigour as they’d like clients to give to PR.

Our first major task as an agency, back in the days when Spot On was the first specialised technology public relations company in the Middle East, was selling the Internet to a suspicious and doubtful media on behalf of clients like Cisco, Intel, Novell and Microsoft back in the mid-1990s. That early experience of helping to ‘break’ transformational ‘new age’ technology gave us something of a déjà vu feeling in 2007, when we first started to experiment with the emerging platforms that we know today as ‘social media’. We realised early on that we wanted a slice of that new digital cake and immediately started investing time in getting to know it better. Along the way, we found new things that we liked and saw some fundamental changes happening that we saw would affect all marketing as we knew it.

So, we started one of the first regular agency blogs in the region to talk about new best practices, observations and aspirations regarding this brave new world. We spent five happy years posting our thoughts, findings and advice on The Spot On Blog. Much of this time was well before most companies were really interested in investing in digital marketing, so Spot On’s own digital marketing also became our testing ground for ideas that clients wouldn’t always allow us to implement. We launched ourselves on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Youtube, Flipboard and any other new channel that opened up. We invested enormous amounts of time in learning about emerging platforms, evolving consumer behaviour, new digital disciplines and how all these were changing the old ways of doing things.

Thanks to the Arab spring and the huge impact it had on social media adoption in the region, clients were more willing to invest in these brave new platforms. We finally moved on from selling ‘the Internet’ to selling our services. We parted ways with Spot On’s last non-digital client in 2013 and were able to focus all our efforts on digital communications. As the scope and scale of our digital client work increased, we found ourselves simply too busy to service all of our own digital platforms. We let the blog go to pot a bit, basically. The sort of thing we help our clients to avoid!

Well, now it’s back. It’s time for new shoes – and the kids are first in line!

Read more about content

Plenty of content marketing opportunity for Middle East brands (March 2014)

Is Arab content really a lost cause? (Jan 2014)

Could your brand commit a content crime? (November 2013)

Create more compelling content (September 2013)

The problem with content (August 2013)

Time to revisit your brand positioning? (July 2013)

A wake-up call for aspiring citizen journalists in the UAE (July 2013)

Are you being genuine? (May 2013)

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Carrington Malin

About the Author ()

Carrington Malin is co-founder of Spot On PR and has been managing sales, marketing, media and communications campaigns across the Middle East for more than 20 years. He likes technology, surfing and chicken liver salad. You can contact Carrington via Twitter at @carringtonmalin or via email at carringtonm(at)spotonpr(dot)com

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