Exploring the Digital Marketing Summit 2016

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By Ashfaque Zaman and Rubab Nayeem Khan

The third edition of Digital Marketing Summit 2016 was held on the 8th of October at Le Meridien Hotel Dhaka, with the theme “Demystifying Digital Marketing”. The day long summit was conducted with five keynote sessions of globally recognized digital marketing experts, two case study presentations, one interactive panel discussion, four break-out sessions and digital expositions of different brands. An initiative of Bangladesh Brand Forum (BBF), DMS 2016 was presented by HUAWEI and powered by SSD – Tech and was organized in association with The Daily Star.

The Summit brought leading and global industry professionals, decision-makers and thought leaders under one roof to exchange and share their experiences about all aspects of digital marketing. The keynote speakers were – Fergus O’Hare, Director of Facebook Creative Shop for APAC; Md. Mehedi Reza, Product Operations Manager, Alibaba Group; Suresh Ramaswamy, Digital Lead – Regional Director, SEA, Grey Group; Hemant Mehta, Senior Vice President, Media & Retail Businesses, IMRB and Monirul Kabir, CIO, Spider Digital Innovations.

Two successful case studies were presented by Strategeek Digital and Magnito Digital. One insightful panel discussion, focusing on ‘Creating meaningful consumer engagement through digital marketing’ was moderated by Hasan Mehdi, CEO, SSD-Tech, along with 5 more panel members – Syed Tanzim Rezwan, Marketing Director, Reckitt Benckiser Bangladesh; Monirul Kabir, CIO, Spider Digital Innovations; Solaiman Sukhon, Head of Marketing, Aamra Networks; Redwan Hafiz, Co-founder and the People’s Champ, Analyzen Bangladesh and Sanjid Hossain, Head of Digital Services, Mobireach.

To strengthen ground-level expertise for digital marketing practitioners, the summit held 4 breakout sessions. These specialized breakout sessions were conducted by expert digital marketers from Google, Alibaba, WebAble, and SSD-Tech, who focused on different analytical aspects of digital marketing.

Digital Marketing Summit 2016 was presented by Huawei and powered by SSD-Tech. The summit was initiated in association with The Daily Star and also supported by – Event Partner Le Meriedien, Knowledge Partner MSB (Marketing Society of Bangladesh), IT Partner Aamra Networks, PR Partner Masthead PR, and Social Media Partner WebAble.


Fergus O’ Hare
Director of Creative Shop
Facebook APAC

Fergus O’ Hare

What are the key elements that help create a hub for business on Facebook?
When you’re specializing in traditional advertising, the work is great; however, it isn’t targeted towards the right people. At Facebook, you get to do quality work. You need to understand the people you’re talking to and in order to do that, you need to build your work, based on human insights. The beauty of Facebook is that you can target without advertising; hence you can take the insight that resonates with a certain person. There are 1.7 billion newsfeeds on Facebook and every individual’s newsfeed is completely different, so the messages and advertisements that are in there should be meaningful and relevant to them. With cross-campaigns, we build seven to eight pieces of creative ideas for the same products that have a slightly different insight for that target market; so if it were a particular product we could find insight for age group, geographical location, gender as well as ethnicity.  As for being timely, it’s about seeing an ad at the right time.  We had a product named Zzzquil which helps cure insomnia and cold, so we delivered the advertisement around 1 am or 3 am in the morning because we knew people would be awake to see the ad for Zzzquil.  It wouldn’t have been as effective had we delivered it in the afternoon.

In a survey of 3700 marketers, conducted by Media Examiner for Forbes, it was found that only 45% felt that their efforts on Facebook were working. How can you raise the efficacy for this?
To make the advertising more effective, it has to be targeted well, so we’re always helping marketers target better, we’re also making sure people aren’t just putting up television content on Facebook; rather they are building the content that serves a purposeful for the site. When the content is signed off, we add subtitles and make it mobile-ready.  Whatever marketers are trying to sell in an advertisement, we put it up front so that the message is delivered quicker. So we’re working towards making marketers and clients more effective by generating content that has a target audience and is also mobile-ready.

In Facebook’s case, what marketing strategies do you incorporate in order to increase consumer engagement?
We call it thumb-stopping creative; since people are scrolling through Facebook quickly you have to make a content that draws their attention immediately. It has to be something that’s highly targeted and timely in order to successfully engage the audience.


Suresh Ramaswamy
Digital Lead
Regional Director, SEA, Grey Group

Suresh Ramaswamy

You stated that digital marketing is more than just aesthetics, digital copies, and shiny objects. What are the key features of digital content?
The content is in the same format that you would traditionally have; it encompasses text, visual and video. However, the way it is crafted is emphasized more so than the actual type of content. We look at the content such as a search, it is mostly text based. A web page or banner is mostly text and visual based and finally, video is a multimedia experience. We are at the preliminary stage of the virtual reality aspect that is being used by very few brands and being done for experimentation. One must look towards innovation and angles that have not been explored because there is so much content being thrown out there.

What are the challenges of applying the concept of the craft in South Asia?
The primary challenge is the scope. It starts with pursuing and understanding the primary goal of a particular medium. You must ask yourself what can be used tactically or as a compliment. The people who are providing these services must show the efficacy for this. If you create an idea, what is the right medium to land it or execute it? From my experience throughout South Asia, we are doing lip service to digital media.  There must be an evolved skill set from the agencies and a leap of faith. A vast majority tends to gravitate towards the methodology that has worked before; they want to be safe. You have to take these small steps and breakthroughs and raise the level of interest and willingness to do so.

Could you site a company that is using digital marketing innovatively?
Companies such as Unilever are doing well in this regard. This would be more effective if the second and third top ranking brands would adopt the creativity to enhance the mileage out of the media rather than having to shout with the media expense that you have. The initiative by these companies would allow for the pursuit of creative content.  Ikea has been doing a great job in SEA. It has seen rapid growth because each idea is unique, therefore becoming something that you would like to share. It creates a feeling that makes anyone think that they should have done it.

You emphasize the ideology that great creativity drives disproportional business, an unconventional saying. Could you elaborate upon that?
The entire point is that a company will spend on marketing. If you want that expenditure to come back as returns, you must understand breaking through to the crowd is a necessity in a crowded media space. It is a wasted effort if you spend money and it is not utilized. We have always known this but there has always been the need for data to solidify and substantiate it. The GUN report talks about creativity while other FE reports expand upon effectiveness. There are a few practitioners who are trying to take these two ideas and show the relationship. Now you cannot take into account every factor; given all these isolations, you can clearly witness that a creative idea will create elevated attention.


Hemant Mehta
Senior Vice President
Media & Retail Businesses, IMRB

Hemant Mehta

Measuring is said to be the most important part of marketing. Could you elaborate on this idea?
As human beings, we have a history of measuring the caliber of anything significant and marketing is no different. It is an investment and an expense; you need measurement to see what is working and what is not. This is true in every aspect of life. Every time you measure something, you look for a definite result that allows you to progress. For instance in media, you can measure the number of reads of an article or the views of a video. It has always driven the industry and it drives growth by deciphering what is efficient. Through digital media, the minute you start to measure, you specify the number, the key demographic and target group in a large, accurate and rapid manner. Through digital media, you can also track consistent change.

How have content marketing, social media marketing, and ad retargeting changed how you reach an audience?
Digital media has completely transformed the mannerism in which you reach an audience. Previously, a company would say that he might be targeting upper-middle-class housewives. Now we look for specification such as attire preference, lifestyle and other psychographics. We now incorporate psychographic and demographic with the particular trend of social media uses (text, Email, Twitter, Facebook) into consideration. There is so much data available and it has profoundly changed how we are defining the consumer. It is no longer one on one; if you look at traditional television or print, you’d put out an ad with the hope that it reaches a few. There is instant reaction today. If a company does something wrong, there is a vociferous and vocal consumer out there who is going to scrutinize them. In response, they can retarget and get feedback instantly.

Nielson recently reported that 83% of consumers take recommendations from friends and family, a phenomenon that shows the power has shifted to the consumer. How do you target or approach this trend?
You have to be absolutely honest and instantaneously react. You have so many live feeds from various mediums that send your feedback and you have to able to react with an efficient team in your command center. This team must send a creative response that engages the customer and they must also know how to handle criticism or take action. A vast number of crises are not happening on the ground but in the digital space; managing your integrity in the digital space is just as important as managing quality. Today’s consumer is very empowered and evolved and their voice needs to be leveraged as a tool. You can use this data to communicate, manage your reputation and poach new clients to use your product.

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