Last Friday, NM ran a full day of intense marketing and communications training for social enterprises looking to gain insight on how to market themselves more effectively.
The first workshop was led by Dr. Ahmed Tolba — chair of Management Department at the AUC School of Business, and one of the founders of Nahdet El Mahrousa
After a brief history of marketing — and a slightly baffling quote from Henry Ford to break the ice -- (“You can have any colour you want for your car as long as it’s black”) — Dr. Tolba took us straight to marketing in the present day.
"Sales-orientation is an out-dated concept. It’s not about who sells the most.”
The key challenge today, as we soon found out, is ensuring that there is a market for your innovation, product or service.
That’s where marketing comes in.
“Marketing is not just advertising”, Tolba emphasised. “At the heart of the marketing department should be people who analyse”
In short, a marketing campaign has to have a meaning and objective, and it can only have that when built on the solid foundation of a strategy based on research — research which maps out the relevant stakeholders, and identifies your “low hanging fruit” and target audience. Only then can you begin considering image and brand.
“Branding is building trust, and it’s very important. But it’s also a double-edged sword. One poor quality product and you can quickly lose your client’s trust.”
Dr. Tolba also emphasised the importance of constantly reassessing your strategy.
“Marketing strategy should constantly be modified. If you only think about your problems in the short-term and never think ahead you’re out.”
Sounds a little like Lean thinking, doesn't it?
Dr. Tolba engaged us throughout with interesting Egyptian case-studies, including: Fayrouz, El Hanim, Crystal, Etisalat—Vodafone, the Egyptian tourism industry and even McDonald’s in Egypt — incidentally, Egypt was the first country where MacDonald’s experimented with fast, 24-hour delivery.
• “Don’t try target everyone - focus on a specific group of people”
• “When creating a business plan you cant just be copying a template — every
case will be unique.”
The second workshop of the day, “Content Marketing Innovations for Start-ups” was led by Fady Ramzy, CEO of InsideOut Today.
Much like Dr. Tolba, Fady Ramzy began by pointing out the frequent misconception that having a Facebook page with tons of likes defines success on social media. “Numbers don’t always signify real success. You have to calculate numbers and influence.”
He also stressed the importance of knowing your product service inside out before advertising it, so that you can highlight its key features effectively. He suggested the following sequence:
"Plan — Do — Check — Act"
Again, very much in the spirit of Lean!
He also stressed the importance of measuring impact— use Google analytics, Facebook insights, or whatever it takes. “If you can’t measure then you can’t manage your content.”
We then broke down the various types of content. The three basic categories are: text, image, audio. But these can be broken down into several more: videos, photos, infographics, comics, memes, animation, etc.
“When deciding which to use, consider: what is trending, what do people like to see?”
Images, as most of us already suspected, were confirmed as the most shareable form of content. But even within that, some types of images are more shareable than others. Which?
• photos — especially human faces, nature, babies, and animals.
When it comes to deciding which content to post, it’s vital to consider what your goal is. Is it website traffic? Newsletter subscribers? Brand awareness? Customer acquisition?
A few tips from Ramzy:
• Always add a call to action after content on your page.
• Associate your brand with trending topics
Awareness — Interest — Desire — Action — Retention
One brand that went straight from one end of the funnel to the other: Kleenex, which was so successful in tying its brand to its product that people refer to the product by the brand name.
Key points to consider:
• What is your presence on search engines? Quality and originality of content ranks website higher on search engines: the
more shareable the higher it ranks.
• On Youtube consider metatags and the description given. More metadata = more exposure
on search engines.
• Flikr is best for search engine optimisation, if the photos are well tagged.
• Instagram is quick, high turnover.
• Facebook is best used to unite various types of content: videos, photos, blogs.
• Consider the key words in your blogs for SEO (search engine optimisation).
• Consider the time spent by each user on your website, not just the number of clicks/visits.
• Personalise newsletters so that people feel they’re addressed to them and want to read
In conclusion: Make your audience your brand ambassadors. The result is user generated content.
All in all a very educational experience! We’re now armed to market ourselves effectively online.
About the trainers:
Ahmed Tolba is Chair of the Marketing Department at the AUC School of Business, and one of the founders of Nahdet El Mahrousa! To find out more check:
Fady Ramzy is CEO of InsideOut Today — an Italian/Egyptian company offering digital media solutions and services. Find out more about InsideOut and connect with Fady at: