Counting clicks

Pic via Twitter thanks to @DigitalMktgME

There was a good vibe at the Click 7.0 Digital Marketing Event today. Chairing the event, I did expect to see a slightly larger crowd, which was a huge shame as the day turned out to be one of the most varied, diverse and insightful I remember from a Dubai event in a long time.

The first panel saw three ‘c level’ speakers sharing their insights into the move to digital and what it means to their organisations – how they harness that energy and life, capture that data and build on those relationships. It was also a strange mix – two broadcasters and a pizza guy, but the combination gelled well and it was a chance to pull a ‘Bono stunt’ and get on the mobile to order 16 pizzas from uber-social UAE-based pizza joint, NKD Pizza. Sure enough, a bemused audience soon found itself tucking into the pizzas that came bursting through the door in the hands of black-clad pizza guys!

Hill and Knowlton Strategies’ Andrew Bone shared the agency’s view on content marketing – insights into finding ways to tell a brand story backed up by seven case studies that looked at communicating across digital media. That triggered some interesting discussion around companies finding ways to communicate that are consistent with their values and public perception of them. Perhaps, the consensus seemed to be, stories could be told that lead the consumer towards a brand’s viewpoint and changing perceptions rather than shout out aspirations for the brand that jar with consumers.

A panel on social media marketing followed – a spirited affair to say the least. A rather bemused audience was assured that ad agency Leo Burnett was booking 70% of its revenue through digital – and Aramex’ Hassan Mikail and SocialEyes’ Akanksha Goel discussed approaches to outsourcing and insourcing content creation and social media curation. A wide range of viewpoints compellingly communicated by strong panellists, IMHO!!!

The race for digital domination

The following panel, ‘The race for digital domination’ saw Xische’s Danish Farhan on fine form, flinging down gauntlets like a glove flinging machine. His strong, assertive style combined with Saletab’s Mustafa Ahmed’s quieter but measured assertions – again, a good combination that delivered a number of insights, including the inadvisability of ‘cookie cutting’ international campaigns and delivering them to the Middle East – and Danish’ ”halalisation’ of content!

After lunch saw two presentations – Sitecore laid out its multichannel online marketing goods and an impressive set of tools and resources they were too. Usually a sales pitch presentation after lunch is the kiss of death, but Sitecore does some very cool stuff indeed and the audience was treated to some strong case studies of how you can slice and dice customer data to present the very best web experience when they land on your page – wherever they’ve come from. And then we had Ibrahim Badawi talking m-commerce – combining experience at the coal face with Dubai e-government with a refreshing candour and a down to earth and witty viewpoint on how Dubai and the UAE in general, is headed for a mobile revolution.

The last panel of the day was a fitting conclusion to a strong start – the ecommerce panel combined MarkaVIP, Cleartrip, Saletab and Aramex. The audience got what they paid for, insights cascaded as the four panellists opened up on the lack of trust in local ecommerce sites, the issues of cross-border transactions, Arabic content vs English content (and how Arabic content leads to English transactions!) as well as some clear guidance on marketing, operating and succeeding in a nascent market. Watch out for the Turks, Mikail told the region’s budding e-commerce entrepreneurs.

It went by in a flash – not a single duff voice, not a droning ‘take me now’ presentation and a lot of memorable lines and thoughts to take away. If you missed it, Flip Media’s Yousuf Toukan is chairing day two tomorrow and you can register on the spot. It’s a shame there are seats to spare – if you missed today, you missed a ‘big one’. In my humble…

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Alexander McNabb

About the Author ()

Alexander McNabb has been part of the Middle East's media and marketing scene for 30 years. He's a communicator, speaker, moderator, workshop leader, radio presenter, blogger, author, swimmer, rider, photographer, cook and even finds time to help companies with their communications.

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