The Storytellers and the Number Crunchers

Dyar Al-Ashtari has led a chorus of digital marketing success stories

The purists, that still consider marketing an art form, will be keen to point out that communication mediums have and will continue to change. What makes a marketing campaign successful, will always be the message it puts across. It is the ability to pull at the heartstrings of people and make them feel an emotional connection to an inanimate product.

From the time marketing gurus like Philip Kotler made such statements, to the present day state of the way the marketing Industry is set up, there have been some enormous shifts. Two of the biggest changes in the game have been a direct result of social networks and their use as marketing channels. Unlike any other communication tool before them, what makes them unique is their ability to generate a real time, two way conversation and their ability to track user data. Both of these have been game changers. What it takes to build a successful marketing campaign in the modern age has been redefined thanks to these tools.

Dyar Al-Ashtari, one of the modern day success stories, will attest to the fact that the success he has found with marketing campaigns across Europe stem from the ability to leverage all the tools and technology available. The innovation he drives might be technical but at the heart of all the data analysis and never ending optimization of ad buys, it is important to note that a core message or brand ethos can still not be ignored.

While some people might have a natural knack for finding a golden mean between the worlds of data driven optimization and crafting stories, there is no real replacement to the years of experience and business know how people like Al-Ashtari bring to the table.

His experience as a public speaker is a testament to the fact that his skills as a story teller come to the fore each time he crafts a campaign for one of his clients. Al-Ashtari takes the brand, its story and ethos, packages them into simple, crisp communication, customized to the variety of channels they are pushed through.

In the modern context, it a hybrid set of skills that brings success to notable marketers like Al-Ashtari. The ability so interpret data and act on it is as important as the ability to craft beautiful tales. When the two skills are put together, it creates the modern day equivalent of a truly great campaign.

There was a time where the pillars of a brand building were beautifully written messages filled with emotional appeal. Today the value such content holds is not the same. It is not that brands no longer need an emotional connect, it is just that saturation and ever declining attention spans have made it difficult to build an emotional bond in the bite size content consumption pattern social media has created. What has evolved instead is the need for a deeper integration into the consumers lives. Brands are moving to community led model where they not only talk to their customers on a more intimate level but also allow them to interact with each other in a space aligned with the brands ethos. The social engagement and gratification that stems from these organic conversations is the bedrock of the positive association these users build with a brand. When these users become spokespersons for the brand endorsing its ethos and thereby its products they pass videos, text messages and other communication through their interconnected social networks spreading the message of the brand without any media buying costs incurred.

In the past television and hoardings put out a brands message but today the consumer can respond to them. The data and engagement it offers is priceless while building a brand in this day and age.

The objective of marketing, in the bigger scheme of things has been to generate demand for a product and eventually drive sales. There was a time when the impact of a campaign was measured by a set of approximations. Metrics like TRP become gospel and hoardings were assessed merely on the perception of how busy the streets or markets in its vicinity were.

Today, there is no need for any such approximations. Media buying on digital platforms has allowed marketers to track the customer’s journey from the time they see an ad to the time they make a purchase on an e commerce platform. They profile their customers based on real interactions and preferences, send them to products that they have already shown some kind of buying intention towards. In case the interaction does not result in a sale, they can tell what stage of the process the consumer dropped out at.

To a shrew exponent of digital ad buying, this data is gold. The data helps them allocate funds to marketing campaigns more efficiently than ever allowing them to predict their ROI. It has been a big factor that has contributed to the rise of digital retail giants.

With all these tools available to make a marketer’s life easier, it is important to note that marketing has not necessarily become the walk in the park people might assume it is. The competition is fierce and standing out from the crowd has never been as difficult.

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