Exclusive Interview with Farhan Mirza, VP Marketing – Strategic Alliancez

Exclusive Interview with Farhan Mirza, VP Marketing - Strategic Alliancez

BM: Being a part of Strategic Alliancez, what major changes have you observed in the field of marketing with the passing time?
FM: The biggest shift that I have observed in last few years is the mindset of how people perceive social media now. I remember in those days the main agenda of our marketing presentation used to be convincing the client about importance of social media but now we see that every client has realized that digital is a medium which they can’t ignore and now they talk with us about how we can get them better results. In addition to that, now the awareness of people has also increased and the industry has grown form just accumulating fans for their Facebook pages to utilizing social media to actually enhance the sales.

BM: What challenges did you and your team face in the initial stages of digital media development? And what challenges do you face till date?
FM: Since we all know that there are so many digital agencies which are working day and night and the competition level was really high but we stood strong and our creativity as well as amazing campaigns helped us stay ahead in the game. The recent challenge that we face is that many brands are typically using conventional agencies for there ATL and BTL activities and they also offer to manage there social media marketing, which on the surface sounds very lucrative to the customer but as they say “ devil is in the details” so what ultimately happens is that social media never gets the due focus and attention and always remain a by product. We strongly feel that this is an era of specialization and only a specialist can cater to the latest trends and social being a dynamic and rapidly evolving field needs an expert to handle the social media assets and the media planning for any client. Just to further clarify my point, one size fits all, does not work in marketing any more and based on the audience, the social media platform and other variables a same message can only give you desired results if it is adapted accordingly.

BM: With the diversity of digital media, what new changes do you want to introduce in the sector?
FM: I feel proud to say that my team and I stay up to date with the latest marketing trends and this helps us all in making our first move. We try to be the trend setters by doing intriguing campaigns and I hope we shall continue the awesomeness. Also the new thing that we are doing for our various clients is now integrating the digital touch points with actual touch points of the customers. We did some meet-ups and events where the fans had the opportunity to actually meet the brand and that really adds to the brand loyalty. Also we managed some theme based events which were hybrid in nature and end customers of the brands really enjoy this type of activities.

BM: What sort of training sessions were conducted in order to keep the concerned team updated with the digital variations?
FM: Training is a fundamental characteristic and without having a trained workforce no company can serve its purpose, so believing in this we also have a functional HR department that caters to the training needs and then plans various training sessions on different aspects of social and digital media. In addition to the work related topics, we also plan for soft skills training for our team, so there individual growth is never compromised at any stage of there career.
We invite different marketing consultants for conducting training sessions. The consultants interact with the team and suggest solutions to their work related problems. Other than that, we also conduct seminars for the team members during which they are able to learn a lot regarding marketing, sales, changing trends and related topics with the help of professional marketers.

BM: Do you think that digital media has overshadowed electronic and print advertising?
FM: I will be biased, if I say yes, but the fact is that the growth % world wide as well as in Pakistan indicates that digital media is growing at an enormous pace, where as conventional media is kind of stalled. Although in Pakistan, the share of digital in the over all pie is still very small ranging form 2-7 % ( average), but I foresee that in very near future this will increase. Just to give you an example one of our brand experimented with us and at the time of opening a new outlet, they decided to just use social media as the only medium and see how the results come and to their pleasant surmised this worked. Also in past we worked with one of the Telco and for a specific period they decided to sell the Sims only through digital media based on the better ROI they were getting, so my point is that digital is the future, beyond nay doubt.

BM: What new ventures are there to be seen at Strategic Alliancez with regards to digital advertising?
FM: We are working on few ideas at the moment, that include providing trainings on digital media to the team of people working at clients as in-house team to giving more focus on the hybrid approach where we create a mix of digital and real life. The details about these initiatives will soon be coming on our social media pages.