Online Classified Market In Pakistan


Online Classified Market In PakistanPakistan has traditionally always been a nation with strong social support systems rather than institutions. Even for things as simple as schooling or buying a house, we seek after the opinions and recommendations of our own and extended family and friend networks rather than depending on external reviews or peers.

Over the last few years however this system has seen a gradual shift especially in the upper income segments. As technology has permeated into our lifestyle, the increased exposure and information flows has resulted in making judgements based more on the recommendations of strangers and experts than just existing peers. The increase in more and more people shifting to nuclear families as well just amplifies this trend further. To cater to this sophisticated audience, a growing plethora of classified advertisements sites are springing up in the anticipation of this growing market of the future.

Globally a $100 billion business, Classified sites are the new form of how consumers and businesses or more appropriately sellers and buyers find each other. Whether individuals or businesses are looking for a used car (pakwheels.com), a new employee (rozee.pk), a place to sell their mobile (hafeezcentre.pk) buy a plot for investment or their new home (zameen.com), or even find a partner (shaadi.com), the first stop is increasingly becoming the Internet to sites such as these and more. The appeal lies in the convenience and ease of use such sites provide with powerful search capabilities, more personalized “push” services such as automatic ad alerts, more timely and up-to-date listings and features such as photos, video, and sound clips in online ads. Best of all they are FREE!

In some aspects, the evolution of the online classifieds in Pakistan is unique from its global counter-parts. Pakistan has seen the rise of vertical sites i.e. specializing in one area such as jobs, real estate and matrimonial first unlike say US where the first and still biggest classifieds site is Craigslist, a horizontal site specializing in many categories simultaneously. Secondly, unlike the west, where online classifieds have taken business away from newspapers, online classifieds in Pakistan have grown the overall market. During this time even the print classifieds have grown substantially. This is comparable to our telecom markets where the fixed lines though have been growing gradually, whilst the mobile market has shot through the roof improving tele-density significantly. The future however is mobile and similarly, the online classifieds industry will ultimately cross the print classifieds through the sheer reach, flexibility, cost effectiveness and ease of use for both advertisers and searchers.

Classified sites are the ideal web 2.0 business for a country like Pakistan for unlike Ecommerce models based businesses such as EBay or Amazon where the transactions are completed online, users never buy directly from these classified sites thus our limited infrastructure and payment gateways do not restrict the growth of these online business. Instead, users to these sites use the service to look for best offers and get in touch, while transactions are conducted in person or by phone. The sites benefit from advertising revenue and some paid listings for ‘Featured’ ads. Whilst numbers of the size of the market and revenues are harder to come by, leading the traffic race is OLX with 2.2 million unique users every month in Pakistan. Local sites such as Pakwheels, which deal mainly with second hand cars, claim 15 Million Page views in a month and 150,000 registered users. Zameen.com claims over 180,000 unique monthly visitors and 10,000 site listings a month.
“The market is interesting because of the potential – Pakistan is a huge market in terms of sheer numbers There are roughly 20M Internet users in Pakistan today, and we believe that this number will grow substantially over the next decade. So there’s definitely a big potential in the Pakistani Internet market. We believe that a free, quality classified site like dekho.com.pk is a service that most of the Internet users in Pakistan will want to use”, said Nils Hammar, CEO at dekho.com.pk, one of the pioneers of classified sites in Pakistan.

The launch of Dekho.com.pk since November last year is interesting because this is a horizontal site, much like OLX or Locanto in Pakistan and amongst a growing number of foreign horizontal sites investing in the future of this country and this market. Even with local players, also the market is shifting from vertical category sites to horizontal category sites. Even the players who were earlier in one category have launched other verticals or their own horizontal sites e.g. Pakwheels have launched naitazi.com and tringtring.com, verticals for general goods and mobile phones in Pakistan.

The trends and the factors governing classified ads markets support their assumptions. There is a substantially large numbers of micro and small entrepreneurs who are increasingly looking at advertising options that are free or low cost to market their businesses, services or products online. Online classifieds provide them with a local as well as a national reach and like we mentioned it’s free. A site like dekho.com.pk already claims 50,000 listings in a span of few months.

Classifieds online is definitely evolving but it needs a critical mass. Pakistan’s online industry is in the nascent stages. The overall internet population in Pakistan is limited. Even though it is said to be around 20 million, a person accessing Internet at least weekly is not more than 5-8 million (estimated). Out of this, people looking for search based information would be 2-3 million. This is not a critical mass when compared to US or other developed markets. Secondly, there is a problem of information hoarding e.g. the real estate brokers thrive on their knowledge of whose buying and whose selling and would not part from this information easily. However even with these challenges, the number of classified listings and the audiences would increase substantially in the next 3-5 years because of two things:

1. Pakistan is an emerging market growth with both GDP per capita and online media consumption growing at a good pace. The increasing salaries, more disposable income (many times due to both partners working), increased choice of goods has ensured that users are changing their laptops, PCs and cars faster than before. 50% of mobile especially gets changed within 6 months of purchase. These trends are resulting in a spurt in online listings. People are selling everything – right from washing machines to laptops and even air conditioners. Currently the household in Pakistan which wants to sell items doesn’t have any option offline except the people they know. Hence, online classifieds sites are providing these solutions.

2. Sellers are not online, while buyers are all over the Internet. How many apartment landlords are willing to put up their rental ads on a website? Infact how many landlords are Internet savvy in the first place? However as awareness about online classifieds increase, this will change and more people will join in the marketplace. Online classifieds currently stand to become the trade portals of all C2C transactions in Pakistan and fill in the huge gap between buyer knowledge and sellers disadvantage.

The future for these markets look bright. Internet penetration in Pakistan has been constrained because of broadband and PC penetration where as Mobile penetration has been explosive. People are beginning to realize the ease of access of Internet through their mobiles and in many cases they are having their first exposure to internet through a mobile handset. Online classifieds on Mobile are gradually gaining traction and with the rapidly growing mobile internet users, it could become the largest chunk soon.

“A great mobile service is a must as the Internet usage goes mainstream. We have a mobile site today on dekho.com.pk/m that is being used by all kind of mobile devices. As the market grows we will add more options for mobile users. The future looks promising. We have a lot of belief in Pakistan and the Pakistani Internet market and we want to be a part of the progress as the market grows. So far, the response we’ve had from our users has been great, so I really believe dekho.com.pk will bring value to the Pakistani market”, said Hammar.

One thing is for sure, no matter how the classifieds market will look like in the future, more Internet users mean better services being developed, and better services in turn attract more Internet users. Hopefully we’re in the beginning of this positive spiral where it’s hard to imagine 5 years from now a better way to sell our cars, buy our houses or even find our partners for life.

Original Post: http://auroramag.wordpress.com/2012/06/19/classified-and-online/

The Client Brief – Perfecting The Art


The creative brief is your roadmap. Your Sherpa. Your guide to the buried treasure. The creative brief is the contract between the client and the agency and between the agency account team and the creative team. It spells out in inspiring terms exactly what is that needs to be produced to solve a specific business problem.

Yet it is either treated like a piece of literature with an unending number of pages or an uninspiring piece of paper with check boxes to be filled out. There is also a problem of inconsistent understanding of how to develop and use the brief. Usually the account team does not think about adding value on top of what the client provided. The creative brief is developed in silos and this creates disconnect between the strategy, account management and creative teams. Given that the quality of the final work depends on the brief (Garbage In is Garbage Out) there needs to be a shift in the way we approach the creative brief. Creative Brief

To improve the briefing process, PAS recently hosted a one-day training workshop ‘The Client Brief – perfecting the art!’ on February 1, 2012 at Marriott Hotel, Karachi. The workshop was conducted by Sunil Gupta, a Master Trainer and a veteran of Indian advertising with 28 years of a wide range of experience across diverse brands, consumers and markets.

The new brief is a growing testament to the availability of hyper-choice in an extremely cluttered marketplace where traditional differentiation is no longer enough. The creative brief now is no longer just about the document. It’s about the thinking behind it and the ideas that comes after it. “I want to expand the definition of the brief from that piece of paper in which you put down that I want a 30 second Tvc and two print ads to this is my problem and I’m looking for a communication solution part of which can be advertising. Can you come up with ideas that create customer delight”, evangelizes Sunil Gupta. “The customer has to say WOW!” He continues, “Word of mouth now is very critical and that is created by experience. Now you have to say as your communication brief or engagement brief, what is the experience we want to create for our customers and can our systems support those experiences. Therefore internal communication and training becomes as important as communication and advertising. That is the point to create today. Your entire company has to be aligned around your brand. This is a question of willpower and discipline. You can have the best advertising and it still might not meet objectives because the product experience is damaging. Thus advertising is just one part of the strategy today”, said Sunil Gupta.

Muhammad Shoaib Baloch, Creative Director, Prestige Communication concurred with an observation of his own “A brief is a process and the agency is never made part of the actual process of what resulted in the need for advertising. Brief can be the dust or the gold, depending on how the client briefs the agency. The more exciting the brief, the more the out of the box campaign you’ll get”.

Thus it can be said that the brief is not a form to be filled out but the beginning of the creative process, the first creative thinking, the first imaginative leap and the first ad of the campaign and if it’s not written in the format that gets into the agency people’s minds, than they will not measure their work against it – one reason why despite bad briefing, the agency still produces great work…They simply ignore the brief.

Creative BriefYet advertisers cannot afford to take this aspect of communication lightly. With the pace of business quickening and as the number of brands multiplies, increasingly it is not companies but the customer who will decide which brand lives and which brands die and to do that it is now highly important to stand out in the market place. This means finding something, anything which can separate your brand from the clutter. To start this process ask yourself “Are you Asking The Right Questions”. The brief in 1992 which the agencies used to send to their clients included questions like:
• What is the problem or opportunity?
• Who are we talking to?
• What should the advertising achieve?
• What thought do we want to leave with others?
• What will make them believe this?
• What is required?
• Anything else?

Come 2012 and for most part agencies still follow the same brief format namely a problem to be solved by advertising, consumers’ to ‘target’, a message to say AT them, reasons to believe, tone of voice and what media the client needs. This is despite of the fact that the consumer and the media both have changed dramatically in the last decade. A more relevant method of questioning now is What’s the real problem?, Who is this among?, How might we best approach solving this?, Why might they talk about this idea?, How do they get involved? and What will keep the conversation going?

The brief also needs to follow some guidelines amongst which are:
Marketingese / jargon has no place in a brief. Speak with personality (ideally that of a consumer), and immediately you’ll use far more evocative inspiring language and not hide behind generic marketing nothingness.
A briefing is not a dictation. Make a brief closed or directional, and you’ll know what the creatives will produce even before they go away to work on it. A brief should be a platform from which they can launch off from. Not a means for you to force your ideas on a team. Always double check – can you think of two or three ideas from the brief you’ve written immediately? Are any of them your pet ideas? If yes, your agency will produce more or less the same.
A brief should not be written in exclusion of others. Whilst the planner should own the final document, but it is absolutely imperative to go to speak with the creative teams when writing it. Take some options, get their point of view.

If the creative brief is not itself creative, if it does not suggest solutions to problems, present information in an expansive and interesting way, and interpret the information with imagination and flair, then its authors and presenters have no right to expect anything different from the creative agency. To check whether it’s an engaging proposition or not, it helps to ask questions like Is it instantly clear and does it communicate exactly what you want to say?, Does it contain a fact about the product you didn’t know before you started writing? Is it surprising or thought-provoking?, Does it contain a strategic insight?, Does it contain a benefit to the consumer?, Do you yourself believe it? If the answer is ‘no’ to any of these, it isn’t an engaging proposition e.g. we can say Dawn Newspaper is the paper of choice of the upper income segment of the population of Pakistan which are the core decision makers of the country, which in all likelihood will produce a typical ad. However a better brief would be Dawn Newspaper is for people who like to make up their own minds and a great brief would be Dawn Newspaper – not written for sheep. Thus when writing a brief, these are the top tips.

Consistent – The brief is brief for a reason. There is no space for tangents and multiple ideas. Pick your core theme, and trail it through EVERY element. If it is as fertile a thought as it should be, this will be easy.
Get the right info in the right boxes – Often boxes are mixed up in which Insights are passed off as objectives and the audiences are often found in mandatories. There are no “dull, functional” boxes. Everything should inspire and stick to your theme.

Language – Work hard to avoid the mundane. Let your vocabulary flow and inspire. Rewrite it. Rewrite it again. Every word is sacred. Make them all work hard. Remember, if you leave a loose word or loose thought, what’s to stop the creative picking up on this and basing their idea on it.

Follow The Template – It is a fixed template for a reason – to stop everyone going on for pages. If you need to shrink text or expand boxes, you are writing too much. Edit yourself, not the template.

How To Advertisement

Find your trueline – Marty Neumeier in his book ‘Zag’ says that all brand communication should emanate from your trueline. A trueline is the one statement you can make about your brand which is the reason why your brand matters to customers. It can’t be reduced, refuted or easily dismissed. The key to crafting a trueline is to focus on a single proposition. If you find yourself using commas or ‘Ands’, you may need more focus e.g. Avis – Because We’re Number Two, We Try Harder or for a insurance company don’t let your illness cripple your family.
With the wealth of increasing clutter of products, features, media, advertising and messages creating a poverty of attention in our world today, we need to ensure that we create emotions, aesthetics and experience that excite our audiences and creates vibrancy again in an increasingly dull and similar advertising landscape. To do that kind of magic requires crafting a magical brief.

Published: Dawn, Aurora Magazine, April, 2012.

Yes! We Khan – Social Media Case Study Of Imran Khan Rally On December 25th, 2011


Imran Khan Yes We Khan Rally Picture HopeThe highly successful Jalsa of 25th December, 2011 organized by Pakistan Tehreek Insaf was a major social media milestone for Pakistan. By using a disruptive technology in early markets, PTI has upset the status quo, catapulting a man who did not look like a serious contender for government initially into the forefront of the race whilst engaging voters in fundamentally new ways.  This form of tech adoption has also ushered in a new relationship model between leaders and their supporters (especially young ones) with all political parties now announcing and jostling for the ‘youth vote’ with their youth wings. Perhaps in the future it will also serve to change expectations of ‘Citizens’ and ‘Leader’s’ roles in government.

Imran Khan’s campaign epitomizes the opportunities  to be gained using your ‘customers’ to amplify the effect using new technologies despite contending with established players that have far greater resources and legacy. At its most basic however it’s about good fundamentals. For a start it’s about selling a product which people want [an innate buzz]. Dr. Awab Alvi, the person responsible for PTI’s social media strategy said “We are just an interface to communicate the product to people online. People want to see, hear and want to interact with our brand and we use a medium to give them what they want. The buzz is nothing to do with us marketing the product. Fundamentally the product is a need of the time due to the country’s situation and people are looking for an alternative and Imran Khan is being seen as that alternative.”

Thus authenticity matters and If one looks at the competitive landscape in this context, Shahbaz Sharif and PML-N have recently spent an inordinate amount of money on social media trying to make up for lost ground, but the difference is again in the vision that Imran Khan sells and the ‘more of the same’ approach which is being used by PML-N. In social media one can’t just adopt a brand and expect people to buy into it without authenticity. The new ‘Khudari’ message (something which PML-N didn’t do in 20 years) thus will not work for their brand in this case.

Another one of the tenets of social media that holds true for PTI’s approach is “go to where your customers are.” PTI made it possible for people to participate where they want, how they want, using the tools and friendships they want. Whilst it’s a butt of jokes that most of Imran Khan’s base cannot even vote and that children under 18 are not relevant to be targeted because they can’t vote. However in this traditional thinking, political bigwigs forget that these same generations can talk [and inspire] and help to build a wave of change. Social media enables them to use lower or zero transaction costs to do it. It is these passionistas  who serve as the base for the party.

“There is a tremendous army working for the organization which responds to queries, reputation management, etc and to date NONE of the volunteers have ever been paid. When you have passionate people doing something they love… they believe in the change, in doing it as an end in itself and all they want from us has been the recognition of that aspect’, said Dr. Awab. ‘I tell them truly that it’s YOU whose done this for Pakistan and I mean it’. Faisal Kapadia, a blogger and activist at ‘DeadPan Thoughts’ describes the feeling as ‘It was a high that I’ve never felt before with an energy level not even found at a U2 concert’.

Social media use by PTI includes clarifying and defense of the party’s policies and actions, reputation management and killing of the rumor mill, engaging with voters, provide the imagery that give hope and provide for a catalyst of change. The key engines thus that propelled the social media movement forward for the organization included but were not limited to Imran Khan (Official) Channel and Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (Official Page) which are the Facebook channels responsible for organizing and mobilizing people for initiatives that support key processes whilst ‘We Want Imran Khan to Be The Next Prime Minister Of Pakistan’ and ‘Jagutho’ are initiatives for sharing viewpoints, helping supporters, volunteers and campaign workers to co-ordinate their offline and online activities.

Combined there are over 500,000 ‘fans’ of PTI & Imran Khan with over 50,000 plus active participants at any moment in time. These channels were the ones which provided the support needed during the Jalsa online and the figures below show the impact of these on the Jalsa and vice versa.

Constant engagement is key. Imran Khan campaigns and encourages users and artists to use the imagery they provide for their own purpose acknowledging and recognizing that they should give up control. The best creative developed Imran Khan addressing the Jalsa with the caption: ‘Hope Is Priceless… for everything else there’s Mastercard’. A big lesson for brands here is to ‘Make it easy for people to make you their own’. Let people act on their desire to get involved at a low transaction cost, and very visibly. This increases leverage.

PTI has also been present on Twitter with @Imran KhanPTI and @PTIOfficial channels. Twitter works since during the span of the Jalsa the PTI broke 11 global twitter trends within a 5 hour window and because of it reverberated across the 300 million strong community on the platform including ‘DilDilPakistan’ quickly being picked up across the region.

To understand its significance, one can take into account that as a baseline it takes a minimal of 500 active users and 1200-1900 tweets per hour to break a global trend. To dominate it as PTI did, it takes much more. Another platform which has been very successful for PTI has been the mobile 80022 which drives the membership for the party.  Utilizing this form of technology, PTI has their ‘army’ segmented via city, via constituencies and clumped by affinities which allows them to mobilize with great speed and effectiveness.

This informs people with SMS messages when an event such as the Jalsa is about to happen and asks for participation. Roman Urdu works better than English on the platform. In the future, this database form of marketing will serve its purpose for voter turnouts.

Other features enabled on mobile include mapping via SMS which was used to provide directions to nearest available pickup points for people and recently an iReport debut feature on the platform which was used to identify and resolve the problems that people were facing at the jalsa.

iReport holds the potential to be much much more. This is going to be a powerful form of Citizen Reporting platform and once properly activated will become a force for accountability in Pakistan as normal Pakistanis report their encounters on issues which PTI raises.

The jalsa also used an innovative platform of ‘Live Streaming’ the event globally to all those who could not be physically there. Using a 50 Mbps fiber connection, the event was streamed to over 35000 people at its peak LIVE across the globe.

The PTI Jalsa has broken new grounds in the marketing of politics and perhaps even for business. Marketing executives need to start focusing on what will happen when their stakeholders self-organize, mirror each other’s interests, magnify the interests into passions and make a lot of noise. This can change expectations fast. They should be aware of traditional thinking in their organizations so they can counter these. It must be remembered that all disruptive change always presents as a fringe activity at first. Thus marketers need to make it a priority to understand social media adoption milestones, so they don’t get caught by surprise. Some of the good lessons out of the Jalsa which marketers can learn from:

  1. PTI strategy is to focus on selling leadership, not policies. Most political campaigns sell their candidates like products, replete with features and benefits (“policies” and “programs”). More profound, leadership and personal qualities and beliefs inspire more easily than policies.
  2. Trust your stakeholders to discover and do the right thing. Smart organizations are becoming more cooperative by sharing “control.” Letting go energizes people to contribute in a meaningful manner.
  3. Realize you cannot control the conversation and that’s okay.
  4. The more transparent and collaborative, the stronger your organization will be as a competitor.
  5. Think small. Industrial Economy marketing held that the only things worth watching were big numbers and big initiatives. Yet in the digital age, many many people doing small things can have a big impact when they are using digital social media because it affords so much leverage. Many small numbers can roll up to a big number. Many-to-many means geometric growth and acceleration.

For PTI after a successful campaign, now on the Social Media Roadmap is to move on from ‘just defending ourselves’ to organization of the masses and translate the online activism to offline activism. “Right now it’s all Imran Khan’s draw but now we’ve seen potential we will be organizing leaders in colleges and universities. Jagutho is one of the initiatives which has created a ‘Responsible Citizen’ model which is organized around a mohalla basis which we hope to implement soon.”, said Dr. Alvi. “The Future is calling”.

Unleash The Power Of Digital Out Of Home In Pakistan


These are signs of changing times and they are everywhere. Banks, retail stores, exhibitions, malls, airports, restaurants — digital signage is being mounted at all these places. Enter the world where flat screens offer high-quality, value-added marketing content.

Digital signage is a broad term used to describe the integration of a variety of technologies, including software, that culminate in a single end result — a unique and powerful communications medium that provides unparalleled opportunities for marketers to capture audience’s attention, educate and inform, build brands, improve customer experiences and drive sales through the use of digitally powered signs (such as plasma display panels, liquid crystal displays (LCDs), kiosk stations (such as ATMs, computer monitors and normal televisions) to replace and enhance traditional media such as posters, outdoor billboards, etc. The concept has been around for some time, but now digital signage is fully coming into its own since the days of the dot matrix display boards, the first usage of this technology.

AN ATTRACTIVE ALTERNATE

Digital signage is now a viable and affordable alternative to traditional printed signage because the prices of display hardware have tumbled. Thus this new medium of Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) (also known as out-of-home advertising, in-store TV, captive audience TV, digital signage or dynamic digital display) looks set to offer advertisers one of the most targeted and powerful ways of reaching consumers. The type of content on this type of signage can vary. Pakistani marketers looking to improving the effectiveness of their marketing communication are fast replacing the static point-of-sale signage, especially in today’s multimedia world, where it doesn’t have the POP! it used to.

Aside from content such as TV ads, messaging on DOOH can also provide a website address, mobile number or even an IVR, which, when dialled, provides a pre-recorded message specific to the ad display location for exhibit, product or other information. DOOH can also be made interactive with sensors, touch-screens and other interactive devices which can be installed alongside these displays, allowing content to respond when consumers pass by. This enables the customer to fully engage in the communications experience, and this also provides valuable marketing data.

Dynamic dimensions

There are several dimensions of this technology, including comprehensive control over how, when and where your messages are delivered, based on the location or time of the day. This is called narrowcasting. Narrowcasting involves streaming specific data to specific audiences as opposed to traditional broadcasting, which targets a great swath of general viewers.

Digital advertising makes it possible to present messages on multiple DOOH displays through eye-catching dynamic content targeted by demographic, psychographic and geographic specifications, besides other customer-defined business rules such as the time of day, store zone, etc. Since the content can be changed or updated at any time from a remote computer containing the solution’s administration software, the displays are designed to show product information to consumers with the hope of encouraging sales that would not normally occur according to consumer’s traditional shopping patterns e.g., on a given day, different ads for a clothing store might be presented to reach the young people between 18-25 year olds through displays at bus shelters, coffee shops, on campus, in food courts, petrol stations, bank machines and in malls, depending on the time of the day they are likely to be there in large numbers.

This kind of specific targeting allows a marketer to communicate their message to the audience at critical junctures and cuts down the total spending on ads. The greatest strength, however, of digital signage lies in its immediacy. Digital signage enables “speed to messaging”, “faster time to market” and communications flexibility when content creation, composition, management, transport and presentation are all done digitally.

This allows the cost-effective re-purposing of ads across media platforms, since digital signage networks are largely automated and remotely controlled. This enables the launching of new communications campaigns with zero courier costs, no on-site personnel requirements and total security. Thus digital signs can literally be reprogrammed with the latest advertising campaign, price change or public message at the click of a mouse button. One mouse click and thousands of screens update automatically.

This also has the benefit of eliminating out-of-date messages to increase relevancy of messages for the consumer – no more posters or messages from last month’s campaign fluttering around. In the future, these signs will also be able to influence inventory and supply chain by promoting products that are in an over-supply and cutting off promotions of products that are out of stock at that location. Targeted, informative content that changes behaviour, such is the power that every marketer dreams of.

Also, since DOOH presents digital messages at the point-of-purchase, it brings “the power of place” (how our surroundings shape our thoughts, emotions, and actions) to life. There is currently no other medium which makes it possible to deliver compelling content at the right location at the right time for maximum impact, for example it is a known fact that over 75 per cent of buying decisions are made at the point of purchase (Source: POPAI). Setting up a digital signage at a shopping mall or retail outlet can influence purchasing right where it’s about to happen. This is what sets digital signage apart from traditional media. It allows you to run purpose-built, meaningful content that can be managed to meet the consumer experience.

DOOH also has been reported to increase customer dwell time. Dwell time is the period during which a dynamic process remains halted in order that another process may occur, e.g. a person stops to glance over at a range of biscuits in a super market. Retail studies have shown that the longer the dwell time, the higher the number of sales.
The use of DOOH has also been reported to enhance the customer experience through value-added ‘edutainment’. In waiting rooms, e.g., such as the doctor’s office, pharmacies, railway stations or banks, these displays reduce perceived wait time. People really enjoy watching the educational programming on these displays and believe that the time spent was less than it really was improving customer satisfaction.

SETTING IT UP

Setting up a basic signage is as simple as plugging a DVD player and a DVD with your ad into a display console and putting it up in a shop. However, for a proper DOOH, the components needed for a digital signage system include: an authoring console equipped with content management software, allowing the playback of content in a variety of playback formats, a server to which finished content is uploaded and from where it is distributed to the different displays of the network, a distribution infrastructure consisting of a data network or fibre optic or CAT5 cable which broadcasts media from the server to the displays and digital signage displays which can be plasma displays, LCD monitors, CRT monitors or kiosk stations.

The distribution infrastructure is perhaps the most important part of digital signage, and choosing the correct distribution technology is a crucial element of any digital signage project. To date, the most common distribution infrastructure in Pakistan has been the data network platform, most commonly seen in the top retail stores of the country.

A data network platform uses a computer network infrastructure in order to transmit content in the form of compressed multimedia files (such as MPEG files) from the management station to the central server and from there to the computer connected to the display device. The central server handles distribution to multiple displays and the display-end computer decompresses the file for display on the display device. This solution requires a dedicated CPU in every single display device deployed.

While offering better approaches and new paradigms of message targeting, DOOH is typically sold on a rental basis. Thus the technology’s inherent capabilities for message targeting combined with attractive rates make DOOH attractive, providing high return on marketing investment. And the best part of it all is that marketers can maximize display value with measurable effectiveness, tallying sales data to the message that was being run on these screens.

GETTING NOTICED

The greatest interest in digital signage today is from the banking, telecom and retail sectors, although it does have other uses in healthcare, education and other displays of information, e.g. an average retail store has a footfall of over 500 people per day who can watch these ads and the preliminary results of studies by local major players show that a dynamic content’s impact is higher than that of static media on these locations. So it’s no surprise that the potential for this technology is huge.

Telecom franchises number well over 1600 alone, there are over 5000 high-end retail shops where this technology can be deployed and high-end banking branches number well over 4500.

As one of the suppliers and pioneers in this field, 3M Pakistan is currently assessing the potential of bringing this technology into Pakistan. They’ve already launched one of the components of DOOH amongst their range of products, Vikuiti, which is a range of projection display components. Vikuiti has been tested at over 50 locations in Pakistan so far and have been proven to be an excellent choice, surpassing the metrics of reach, frequency and recall over static media. Within one year of its introduction Vikuiti has already hit the targeted numbers for this market and is growing fast, slowly converting the POS market in Pakistan.

According to Dr Hugh Philips, a cognitive psychologist, human beings “select” or “de-select” what they notice based on the relevance of what is presented. That being the case, motion video and animation coming and going on a dynamic display has a high probability of being seen, and relevant or interesting messages can then fulfil the objectives. The numbers are already promising. Viewers are five to 10 times more likely to notice and recall dynamic media than static media (Source: POPAI).

It’s a high-definition world, and today’s time-starved consumers demand more from their experiences, thus using digital signage can make for happier and more energised customers. With its superior ability to target specific messages towards defined audiences and get noticed, digital signage offers unparalleled opportunities to anyone wanting to capture the ever fragmented audiences’ attention, educate and inform people, build brands and drive sales and profitability.

The advantages of digital signage

• Reaches defined audiences
• Targeted messaging
> Target your messages by screen, location, time or day
> Enables tactical marketing by audience segment
• Captures audience attention
> Increases message impact through eye-catching dynamic
content
> Enhances the customer’s experience through value-added
‘edutainment’
> Increases customer dwell time and reduces perceived wait time
• Speed and immediacy of message change
> Reduces time and cost to produce and deploy new messages
> Eliminates out-of-date messages to increase relevancy of
messages
• Ensures local compliance with auditable playback
> Automated playback with no human interaction
> Compare proof-of-play reports to sales data
• Maximises display value with measurable effectiveness
> Creates content schedules containing multiple messages
per signage asset
> Easily tests different message executions and assesses the
impact of each

Published: Dawn Newspaper, Sci-Tech
http://news.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/in-paper-magazine/sci-tech-world/unleash+the+power+of+digital+signage

For More Information on MI Digital’s Digital Signage Solutions, please visit www.midigital.co

The Future of Digital Marketing: Pakistan 2015


It’s sad that at every turn we tend to focus on the negatives when this great country really offers endless opportunities amidst all this chaos – if one is focused to see the forest for the trees. Because of a lack of legacy infrastructure to burden us down, the marching advent of technology and telecom is shaking up the old and ensuring that Pakistan is coming of age in one of the fastest of the new growth industries such as Digital Media and Marketing which will only go up and up over the next decade.

Let me start by making a bold prediction. Expect 15% of all advertising in Pakistan to shift to digital, interactive, mobile, social and online video over the next five years. Why is it bold, because currently digital spending is estimated at US $5 Million and if the prediction were to come true, we’re looking at an amount hovering in the $40 -$50 million USD range. That’s a growth by a factor of 10 in just 5 years. It’s an impossible figure at first sight but like in the rest of the world, the increasing consumer connectivity (4 million+ broadband connections by 2013 – Source: PTA), Mobile and social technologies are rapidly evolving the very definition of marketing and commerce in our country and the on-coming world of 3G / 4G technologies, cloud computing, mobility and even SMS/WAP based services will quickly bring this prediction about. With this in mind, the following will be growth areas in our country over the next few years:

Prediction #1: The Ubiquitous Mobile Eco-system

If you think the Telecom sector is huge right now, wait for a few years. With close to 60 million phones and 90 million SIMs providing the foundation, already without a doubt the next big thing is going to be mobile. You maybe getting tired of hearing about how it’s going to happen, but it is coming and coming soon and it’s going to be not just about phones, it will be an entire ecosystem built around the mobile – any service, anytime, anywhere and on any screen.  Bring in location based services, m-commerce and Proximity forms of marketing enabled by a million strong SME sector and it’s a no brainer that mobile-assisted shopping will be integrated into the physical and m-commerce especially will become a necessary part of multi-channel retailing and an important component of Point of Purchase Promotions. With that we can portend the rise of mobile comparison shopping, mobile coupons, mobile affiliates and ever more SMS services. Add in social networks which are being promoted on even the Chinese mobiles, we can easily perceive that social media and social commerce on the mobile device will be a big part of our marketing efforts. For the marketers the challenge in this regard will be even more platform fragmentation.

 

Prediction #2: Digital Marketing Will Be About New Possibilities

Digital marketing will be about connecting information that’s otherwise not connected to create new possibilities and experiences. If my own personal experiences in game development are taken as an example, applying game mechanics to the customer journey, particularly product awareness/brand discovery – with levels, engaging fun challenges, and certain rewards can be very effective way to market your own brands even now and in the future will be certain to grow as ‘experiential marketing’ takes over from traditional activations. You’ve heard life is a game … this time we’ll be living it especially as augmented technologies come into play in this country – some we’re developing even now. For those who’d like to see what the Pakistani marketing world can be like in 2015 Google ‘Nike London Grid’

Prediction #3: TV Will Still Rule But The Focus To Something New Will Come

In a Feb 2010 published report by the European Interactive Advertising Association (IALS), the number of hours that the average person spends connected to the internet in Spain now exceeds that spent watching television. The study, conducted in 15 European countries, revealed that people in Spain spent an average of 13.3 hours per week connected to the internet compared to 13 hours in front of the television. There is quite a difference between age groups, with younger people spending most time online, while those over 55 years of age almost exclusively use only television. Whilst on the same note a study by Ipsos Reid last fall found that Canadians are spending more than 18 hours a week online, compared with 16.9 hours watching television. In the UK, According to a Sept 2009 news report by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), online has overtaken television to become the biggest single medium growing to 1.75 billion pounds, with the medium accounting for 23.5 percent of all spend, ahead of television. If the European and Canadian trends are to be taken as a benchmark for our world in the future, than there will be a major shift in advertising from being predominantly TV focused to something new. The economic drivers are already compelling marketers to try their hands on digital.

Prediction #4: Digital will continue to remain a Paradox

Digital marketing will always remain a challenging paradox for the traditional marketers because the way currently marketers think about digital is flawed, fully racked as they are with a mindset tuned towards providing immediate gratification, a one-off mentality and a propensity to constantly chase the next shiny object. Understanding conversations, the loss of control, co-creation, engagement are forms which will take time before they’ll be manifested in the marketing communications here.

It can be said that digital technologies have changed everything, not because of the speed of access but because there is a direct connection to what we want which is always on. This has changed the experience from one which used to be disruptive (turning on the PC to check email e.g.) to embedded (checking email on the phone whilst on the go) and being integrated into everything we do. This is the same technology that will be powering our media and marketing over the next decade and giving us continuous hope and reason for bringing our country into the developed world at an extremely fast pace.

A truly connected world is going to be a radically different world from the world we currently inhabit and understand. It will be a world where mobile devices and computers will be as prevalent as the air we breathe. It will be where social media will compete against mass media and real time ‘Now’ will complement the traditional forms of ‘Search’. It will be a world where Apps will compete against ads and context will be king. The cloud, semantics, Android, mashups, mobile, social graphs & social-spheres, user targeting,  HTML5, location-based, gaming, ad exchanges, path to conversion, 3D, channel interaction, HD video, augmented reality, data visualisation, apps and even more, and all present even on the lowly Chinese devices will stand to drive the consumer on a different path to purchase than the current models. Already the trends show that consumer preferences are already shifting towards the digital landscape. We’re watching Indian soaps on YouTube, banking through our mobile phones, finding life partners and ordering grocery online. What happens when these technologies become embedded in our lives? We’re already witness to the decline of the ‘Broadcast Business models’ from newspapers & magazines to TV & music, none command the stature of previous decades and as technology progresses they’ll lose their importance even more. With this will come the end of noise & interruption form of advertising and the rise of context, relevance and real experiences for brand building.  Consumer behavior will continue to change as technology evolves and permeates even more into our lives, giving greater influence and control to the consumers over the relationships and the experiences that they choose to have with the brands.

 

 

The Blogging Scene In Pakistan


Ten years ago a set of 95 theses were organized and put forward as a manifesto, for all businesses operating within what was then suggested to be a newly-connected marketplace. Titled ‘The Cluetrain Manifesto’, it put forward an idea that the Internet was unlike the ordinary media used in mass marketing as it enables people to have “human to human” conversations, which have the potential to transform traditional business practices radically. The authors asserted that a shift would occur through substantial and pervasive changes in current company-to-consumer interaction. Communication would shift from mission statements and marketing media aimed at consumer segments to open dialogues or conversations between businesses and consumers, whilst online marketing would be more about holding conversations with people rather than broadcasting half-truths about products and services. Turns out that tens years on that now everything is a conversation.

The fastest growing alternative media to the traditional channels (3.7 million results on Google Pages from Pakistan and 367,000 blogs found), blogs in Pakistan are now being credited from everything from bringing a giant corporate to its knees over its negligence during a reality show, greater consumer awareness, putting pressure on governments and politicians for greater transparency, showcasing the new and the trendy to the point where all gadgets now MUST have a blogger’s meetup at launch followed up by reviews, media practices, latest fashions, marketing and even general venting of frustration at All Things Pakistan.

The ability for anyone to have a thought, be able to type it up and then publish it online for the world to see for free has been equated with bringing in the same revolution as the printing press did 400 years ago. So much so that every traditional broadcast media & newspaper worth their salt has started their own blogging channels to avoid missing out on this cluetrain. Just on Dawn.com alone, one is treated to a myriad of subjects ranging from Politics, Satire, Sports, Technology, Business, Culture, Food to much much more. Politics of course is the favorite subject and one is treated to the widest range of topics from ‘Couldn’t She Find A Nice Indian Boy’ to deep philosophically inclined discussions on women’s rights and the burka. One is also treated to all the content that one would never be privy too in our traditional channels especially regarding our political leaders.  Sports too especially Cricket are the passion of the nation and nowhere is it more apparent than on the net with the keywords ‘Cricket Blog Pakistan’ resulting in 446,000 results from Pakistan alone.

The biggest benefactor of the blogging scene however has been the Citizen Journalism scene, everything from taking on the big bad corporate and their policies to exploit low waged workers and risk their lives in factories without proper precautions or rights, or to prison seriously injured workers in a hospital room to block them from the media and labor movements, action against exploitative advertising of baby milk or more minor issues like delays in payments has been documented and archived for generations to come. The citizen of Pakistan’s voice is finally being heard and it is loud and demanding remedial for the generations of anger, exploitation and squelching of our voices.

One of the management gurus Tom Peters said, “One of my grand theories is that, fundamentally, there’s only one source of innovation, and that’s pissed off people. I think anger is the essential motivator.” If this is the case than this is our time to change the Pakistani world the way we want it to be with the power of the word. It has been known for eons to be mightier than the sword and with digital distribution it’s a tsunami now which will shatter all that that comes in its path.

 

Farming Farmville


It can be said that it’s a growing social phenomenon when during a romantic interlude between couples, one person shouts ‘OMG! my strawberries are going to die” and runs to the computer. Yes! we’re talking about none other than the modern day equivalent of farming which has been designed to be completely in sync with the time compressed modern life – ‘Farmville’, the place where Strawberries grow in 4 hours and water melons grow in 4 days. This is the farm where you can grow both Tamarind trees and lime on the same soil and you have to adopt cows which wander in from no where.

Farmville is a social game which has been developed by its parent company Zynga. With 60 million players globally, It is projected to rake in $1 billion in 2011 and Google has poured $100 million into the company in an attempt to launch its own ‘Google Games’. It’s popularity can be gauged from the fact that anyone who has ever been on Facebook in Pakistan, 90% of your messages must have been the bombardments to come play the game, help build up the barn, accept a gift, adopt a cow, sheep or simply ‘just be a neighbour’. The gameplay of Facebook is deviously simple – plant something – wait for at least a day- get money – buy plants- wait for at least a day- get money- buy plants and so forth with some additions of buildings and other stuff. In return the player levels up and gets achievements for sticking to the game, which makes the game very addictive. The addiction starts off easy that one day you’re just planting a few plots of wheat and soon you’re hooked buying farms, expanding farms and harvesting 24/7.

Personally however I used to play Farmville but after the 5th time my crops withered due to an active social life, I said ‘Go Moo!’

f

The Year Twenty Ten: A Review


It’s that time again when we reflect upon the world and aim to do better with our resolutions. This has been an eventful year. I guess we were expecting it to be when Google announced with a bang in January that its corporate network had been attacked. With the follow up being the attack on the Iranian Nuclear Facilities through the Stuxnet worm, the Gulf leak that occurred from BP’s Oil Spill, Pakistan’s Floods to the finale this month with the US Cable Spill, 2010 will be remembered as the year of struggles and crisis. In the midst of so much flooding of stress, tension, five distinct trends stood out which could well summarize the year that was 2010 and possibly tell us a bit of what 2011 will hold.

The Rise of Leaks and The End of Privacy

it was a very busy year on the privacy front and nothing showcased the power of the social web than the way technology was used this year in multiple forms. From the news of Tony Hayward, CEO of BP’s Yacht trip during the worst of the Gulf oil spill to the recent US cable leaks which have had consequences for the political fiefdom in our country and have given rise to new meanings to the terms ‘Open government’, ‘Public Interest’ (do we really care about the hot Ukrainian blonde) and ‘Radical Transparency’. With Google also in the hot water over it roaming street view vehicles, to Facebook’s new Privacy settings which basically sold your profile to advertisers expect the Web community at large and the government to become even more concerned about what to do with all of our personal data in 2011.

Recession Proof: Mobile Rules 2010

Without a doubt, the explosion of the smartphone landscape this past year and the allure of earning income from the new data services and surrounding industries in Pakistan have made the mobile and telco industry a behemoth to contend with.

Apple’s iPhone 4 was launched  early this year followed up by the equally drool worthy iPad and the world has never been the same again. Angry Birds was the number one application in the Apple’s Pakistani App store whilst locally ‘Gully Cricket’ became the first locally developed mobile game to be made available from a local carrier.

2010 can also be said to be the year of the Android phone – Worldwide HTC dominated the market with their Android assault especially HTC Desire. However the new Motorola Droid (Milestone) is getting the best reviews since their old Razr went blunt and reports of the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 are very positive whilst Android has also made its presence felt in Pakistan, being launched by a Chinese Telecom company along with equally economical internet packages on the mobile phone which is expected to double the number of internet surfers within a year or two.

All these trends are expected to accelerate well into 2011.

Social Networks Come of Age

It can be said that Social Networks came of age in this country when users on Facebook crossed the 3 Million mark this year (3,075,480 at the time of writing this article) and politicians in this country took to twittering their thoughts and whereabouts to anyone who cares to follow them.

Marketers know that tough times also spur innovation and thus they are experimenting with mediums such as social marketing. Social marketing promises lower costs and bigger returns. In fact, word-of-mouth campaigns encourage consumers to do the marketing on behalf of the brand themselves. There are many brands which are getting on the social media band-wagon amongst them hair care, cooking oils, personal care are the most famous categories. Telecom industries are using the media as a form of customer service centers.

In 2011, expect social media to get even more popular, more mobile, and more inclusive as even the lowly Chinese phone starts supporting the different networks natively. It will also toughen the job of IT departments as people feed their social media needs through the mobile medium.

Pakistan IT Industry Becomes a Source Of Pride For The Nation

The Asia Pacific ICT Awards (APICTA) is an international awards program which provides networking and product benchmarking opportunities to ICT innovators and entrepreneurs from 16 countries in the region including Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Sri Lanka among others. Out of 16 APICTA categories, the P@SHA (Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT & ITES) delegation picked up 7 Merit Awards (the APICTA Silver equivalent).  These included Merit Awards in Security Applications, E-Inclusion and E-Community, Financial Applications, Communications, E-Government and E-Health categories. It was our best performance ever.

The Rise of Online Movies & TV watching

Perhaps it’s a by-product of the ever declining broadband internet prices in the country and the ever faster speeds (10 mbps launched on 10/10/10) because of which online movies and episodes of the latest Indian or English sitcoms have become the trend to watch whilst free online. Indian movies are the most watched feature on internet with 3 Idiots being the top-most watched movie this year online. This trend is expected to continue even further this year.

The upcoming year appears poised to build on the strength of trends already in place: greater mobility, greener technologies, mobile technologies, more powerful hardware and web-enabled products and applications that focus on collaboration and interoperability. The marching advent of technology and telecom is shaking up the old and ensuring that Pakistan is coming of age in one of the fastest of the new growth industries. With that we bid farewell to 2010 and bring in 2011 with prayers for the prosperity of this great nation for one and for all.

A Newbies Guide To Social Media In Pakistan


A Newbies Guide To Social Media In Pakistan

It’s hard to ignore the fact that the Social Media scene is active and thriving in Pakistan. From allowing parents to stalk their children and their off-spring’s friends and of course their friends online on sites like Facebook to toppling over might corporate behemoths through the power of the blogs, the power of the people has been clearly been manifested through this medium and also highlighted the fact that we have no lives of our own. However because it is still a relatively new concept, and something that we feel everyone should know about we’ve compiled a glossary of what the whole ‘social’ thing is about in our country.

Social Media Expert: Approximately every third person that you meet online. Such social experts can be usually found twittering & Facebooking away about their lives, their cat, their dog, their cat and dog, their tooth brush and their otherwise inane life. Usually don’t have a clue about social media but can talk great lengths about this great software that will put a link to your site on 21,000 forums and 10,000 blogs with just a click and also offers ‘SMS marketing’ services to complement your social campaign.

Blog: Usually millions of online journals that link together into a vast network. Mostly used for self-obsession, self-promotion and Narcissism. Generally underscore a hunger for fame which usually ensures that people line up to trade punches on various Blagger meetups.

Social media bore: 99.999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% of the people using social media.

Blagger: Person who writes a Blog.

Lassi: The favorite drink of the blaggers everywhere.

Farmville: The contemporary manner of getting back to nature.

Internet Celebrity: Usually an angry young man with no clue to technology but with a large Internet following. Has been known to talk about his mom calling him a lot of things such as lazy, fat and unclean.

Avatar: What you look like in a virtual world such as a ten foot tall dragon riding blue cat with breasts.

Green Revolution: Adding Green Flags To Your Display Pic.

Small Talk: What you do when Twitter is down.

Quotterer: Someone who spends most part of the day tweeting ‘inspiring’ quotes to his followers such as ‘The Answer My Friend Is Twittering In The Wind’, ‘“Ask not what social media can do for you, ask what you can do for social media” or “Just Tweet It”.

Social Media Agency: Has no clue why it’s offering services such as page management, advertising & spamming 400,000 email addresses but promises the lowest rates to do so.

Display Pic: Ranges from the people who think we’re so interested in them we need to see their childhood photos to the nothing-is-more-natural-than-me-just-kinda-laughing-not-noticing-you’re-taking-a-picture-of-me kind of photos.

Parents: AKA Stalkers. Have been known to tell the opposite gender friends to stay away from their ‘ladla’ via walled posts available to your peers and the public. Also have been known to post your childhood pictures on their accounts and tag you in the process.

Stalkers: We just like watching every little thing you do…. Always.  

Sheep: The new weapon of choice to throw at friends, peers and in the corporate boardroom.

Compatibility: Me & You Is Friends, You Smile, I Smile, You Hurt, I Crack Myself Up Laughing

Poke: A tool used by the young, male population of the country to hit on (probably fake) profiles of the females whom they will never have the nerve to go up to in real life.

Tagged: See parents

Movie Quizzes: The favorite past time during business meetings.

Status Updates: Attention seeking painfully unfunny, unoriginal update on various sites by wannabe philosophers and psychologists. Usually ignored by most people.

Relationship: “It’s Complicated”.

Four Square: A personal advertising tool to make the jobs of robbers, kidnappers & thieves easier.

Band: Angry young angst ridden teens with guitars & drums trying to get a ‘following’ on Facebook by putting up videos of themselves with weird expressions.

YouTube: A site which our politicians try to “Shut Up” often, but usually fail to.

Friends: All of the 10000000000000 people who’ve I’ve added on Facebook.

Comments: LOL

Social Media Addict: The person who actually understood all these terms. Also used for people whose friends lists (see above) are loaded with people you’ve never met, never actually spoken to, and whose name may or may not be real, but somehow feel a close kinship to.

These are some of the ones i could come up with. Join in and let’s add to this list together.

PAS – Aurora – The New Value Seekers


Dawn New Value Seekers ConferenceIn the last two decades, with the march of technology, increasing commoditization, increasing global sourcing and competition and increasing discretionary incomes across the boards, the consumer in Pakistan has gotten selective and buys only those products that precisely met their changing needs which unlike before  are not immediately obvious anymore. With the evolution of new forms of media, global outreach and the current hyper-fragmented channels, the marketing process too has evolved making life harder for the marketers in Pakistan.

In this new world of ‘value’ reconciling what the customer wants and then delivering on their expectations, has never been more important or more challenging. This is especially more-so, because in many of ourUmair Mohsin sectors, over the years consumers had been effectively taught to buy on price and price alone. Thus the PAS-Aurora Conference that took place at the Karachi Pearl Continental Hotel on the 20th of March, 2010 sought to answer these questions about the new consumer. If the presentations could be summed up in one sentence it would be ‘the customers are now fully in control and marketers are scrambling to understand what their customers value and the value they place on those values.’ The mood at the conference was entirely dedicated to the topic of seeking value in three key areas namely ‘the organization’, ‘the brand’ and ‘the customer experience’. It was especially interesting in hearing how the current state of the economy had altered the value equation and what the industry experts expected to see in the coming months / years.

Highlighting the changes between the old value seekers and the new, the conference started on a keynote session by Mr. Hamid Haroon, CEO, Dawn Media Group. His focus was the underlying morality that drove the Hameed Haroonold-value seekers in creating for their consumers. He minced no words when talking about the short-termism of modern industry practices including the growing number of media & agencies offering kick backs to clients which he said “undermined the advertiser, media and society”. Writing off today’s campaigns, he remarked that “Advertising agencies today are low-med sweatshops for implementing strategies created in larger markets” and implored people to find answers that would actually create value for their consumers.

The session was followed by Mr. Aly Mustansir, Chairman, Pakistan Advertisers Society, who talked about recent initiatives taken by the PAS including banning advertising on pirated cable channels and establishment of the Consumer Multimedia Index. Jamal Mir, Ad Hoc Vice-Chairman, Advertising Association of Pakistan ended the session with a talk about the challenges facing the industry including Economic, Human Resource, Compensation, the problems of Media multiplication and the standards AAP was setting in driving value for the organization and the industry.

Seeking Value From The Organization

The session started off with Mr. Atif Bajwa, President, MCB presenting his views on “Internalising the
Mr. Atif Bajwanew  value equation” and talked about how the customer should be the starting point for all decisions. Talkingabout MCB’s strategic thrusts, he spoke greatly towards building a leading payments bank including becoming #1 in alternate distribution channels like the mobile phone. Citing numbers he said already MCB had signed up 50,000 users for its Mobile Banking initiative.
Subsequently Mr. Abrar Hasan, CEO, National Foods talked about “value driven strategies to meet consumer expectations”. Citing ‘The Consumer Decision Journey’ model published recently in the McKinsey Quarterly (June’09), he challenged the traditional linear progression of consumers from awareness through familiarityConsumer Decision Journey to sales, purporting that that the traditional funnel concept failed to capture all the touch points and key buying factors resulting from the explosion of product choices and digital channels, coupled with the emergence of an increasingly discerning, well-informed consumer thanks to the “epicenter of consumer driven marketing which was the internet especially during the active evaluation phase.”

He said that “40% of the customers changed their minds because of something they saw or learnt at the point of purchase. Therefore it was imperative to reach consumers at the moments that most influence their decisions.” His advice to create value to was to Invest in customer driven channels and win in-store. He ended his presentation on the note that “The key is not change… but to adapt and survive under rapid change.”

The final presentation of the session was delivered by Mr. Farhan Hasan, COO, UG Food company, titled “The smart organisation in a value seeking world”. He talked about how value was about a bundle of services for the consumer and not price. Talking about Pakistan being a ‘Sachet Economy’, he commented that if 2/3 rd of Farhan Hassan, COOworld’s population made less than $1000 than why were marketers selling them products designed for those nations making 20 times as much. His value creation process involved targeting the aspirational classes with small quantities and larger volumes with good margins. He summarized his discussion as “high volume + high margin plus additional [sachet] volume with good margins = smart business sense”.

Seeking Value From The Brand

The immediate session which followed answered the questions as to what it took to innovate in advertising and provide value for the brand. Answered by Julian Saunders, Managing Partner, The Joined Up Company in his presentation,” Value for Time – It’s What People Really Value”, Olivier Auroy, MD, GS Fitch, Middle East who talked about “Why Good Design Never Lies” and Mr. Guy Winston, National Creative Consultant, JWT Pakistan in his presentation “Stop Talking, Start Involving”, these international experts focused on how content and delivery were the next wave of getting one’s marketing Olivier Auroymessage out. They talked about how creativity was going to be about creating content that was funny, amusing and could quickly be shared. Julian Saunders in his presentation advised to ‘Brand Play’. He referred to cognitive research that “what we remember is determined by how the experience feels when it peaks and when it ends”. He concentrated on providing simplicity (“don’t make me think”) and talked about how respecting time was also a sales strategy. Olivier Auroy on the other hand, focused his attention on how brands needed to remain accessible and relevant to consumers. He cited studies which proved that fun could change behavior for the better. He concluded with how people wanted brands to connect to their community, give them control, were friendlier and funnier.

Seeking Value From The Experience

The last two talks were delivered by Mr. Sirajuddin Aziz, CEO, Bank Alfalah who gave a thoughtful presentation on “Consumer Touch Points As Effective Communication Tools” whilst Mr. Karim Rammal, President Unicorn Consulting, concluded the session with ‘Meet The Digital Native’ advising marketers that that “…unless you bring something to the table – Inspire, Passion, Laughter, Curiosity, nobody cares if you’re on twitter”.

Aurora TeamThe conference ended on a high note delivered by Mr. Irfan Mustafa, VP & MD, Yum Restaurants on “Yeh Tera Pakistan Hai, Yeh Mera Pakistan Hai”.

If the conference has proved anything is that what really has changed is the way we implement marketing and the way we run our marketing organizations. In the oncoming world we will no longer talk about mass marketing. For all future marketers it will be vital to understand that the price-value equation will be different for each consumer. That’s when real value will be created.