Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

Don’t sell me features!

| September 2, 2010 – 12:16 pm | comment 1 Comment

I want to emphasize the importance of selling benefits, not features. Every business owner, marketing professional, or sales person needs to realize that their customers buy benefits, not features (although features can influence their purchasing decision and would act as the Reason To Believe or commonly known as RTB in the advertising lexicon).

To understand what I mean, go to an electronics store, to the computer section specifically, and observe the laundry list of specifications they put next to each laptop displayed. It’s strange that although the laptop is a device for the masses, store owners still show a whole list of features and technical specs that only an experienced person or a computer engineer can understand. It is only when you translate these list of features into benefits that you are able to understand what they mean and consequently more likely to purchase the products.

Think of your advertising campaigns. Are you selling features or the benefits?
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Positiveness of uncertainty

| September 1, 2010 – 12:04 pm | comment 2 Comments

It’s common to worry when we think of the future. It is like our brains, for self-protection purposes, are naturally preconditioned to consider all the negative things surrounding uncertainty. This does not only create doubt, stress and negative energy but it can also prohibit us from moving forward and taking actions.

However, it is possible to turn this around. How about starting to think of the positive things that could happen to you eventually, the infinite possible positive scenarios that the future will bring, how about associating uncertainty with positiveness. I am not recommending you jump foolishly in the unknown without doing a pros/cons analysis, all I recommend is to flip your mindset about uncertainty and anticipate pleasant and successful outcomes. It’s a thought process that you can control and influence.

This mindset shift about uncertainty has been personally very beneficial. It keeps me positively curious about what will happen next in my business, wondering what new thing will each day bring me. It is pretty much the same excitement of receiving a surprise gift. It keeps me moving forward.

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What do Bruce Lee, Microsoft and Procter & Gamble have in common?

| August 30, 2010 – 10:42 am | comment 1 Comment

The topic of today is about brand/product distribution, an often neglected but nevertheless crucial element for the success of your business.

Bruce Lee, the cultural icon, acted in 20 films by the time he was 18. However his acting career really took off 13 years later, in 1971, in his first real leading role in the Big Boss, which catapulted him to stardom. His iconic figure was essentially created in just 2 years, between 1971 and 1973 when he teamed up with Golden Harvest, a dominating production and distribution company based in Hong Kong.

Microsoft’s dominance in the software industry is essentially attributed to the deal with IBM in 1980 which awarded Microsoft a contract to provide the DOS operating system in the IBM PC computers. Due to that partnership, Microsoft benefited from a massively distributed product to market (and sell) its software.

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What I learned from a taxi driver

| August 29, 2010 – 11:44 am | comment 4 Comments

The original title of this post was “are you suffering from paralysis-by-analysis” because that’s the topic I am going to talk about.

Paralysis-by-analysis (also known as analysis paralysis) is when you can’t take any action because you’re over thinking the details, over analyzing or over planning.

Yesterday morning, I called up a taxi at 5 AM to go to the airport. I was greeted with a big smile by this young energetic Pakistani taxi driver. I asked him about the reason for his cheerful mood. Filled with enthusiasm, he started telling me about his life story and how he struggled to get where he is. He took pride telling me how he pulled himself out of total poverty by taking many small jobs. He emphasized that as a poor young man, he could not afford to have a lot of time to think or over analyze his next move. While he would try to do a benefits/risks analysis, he mostly followed his gut feel to proceed to the next best job. His secret, he said, was this:

“Something is better than nothing, because nothing is nothing. It’s important to do something.”

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Is social media marketing overrated?

| August 26, 2010 – 9:51 am | comment 3 Comments

There has been a lot of buzz lately about social media marketing (SMM), its impact on business, and the feeling of necessity for companies to have a social-media-marketing-strategy. So I wanted to share my opinion and raise some important questions. First, social media is not Facebook or Twitter. It’s way more than this. But considering we want to limit to most popular tools Twitter, Facebook and Blogging, I still fail to see the impact of SMM on real business measures. Here is my rationale. I will give the case for UAE, representing Arabia.

Twitter: How many Twitter users are there in UAE (the most connected country in Arabia with 76% internet penetration)? 40,000? How many of those are active? 20,000? (If you know specific figures, please let me know). UAE has 3,777,900 internet users. So, with a super successful Twitter campaign, the maximum number of users any business can attract is only 0.5% of internet users. Pretty small number, no?

Facebook: I will not refer to Facebook ads reach, because advertising is not marketing. How many fans did the biggest Facebook campaign attract in UAE? How many of those fans were active? The numbers I have seen were close to 30,000 of active fans (I cannot disclose the campaign for confidentiality purposes). Again, it’s a pretty small number, no?

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Abjad Hawaz 7o66i Kalamun, lost in the Markup

| August 5, 2010 – 1:00 pm | comment 2 Comments

أبجد هوز

An Arabic art gallery without some of the best crafted calligraphy holds no value. That’s a fact. Arabic calligraphy & poetry are forms of cultural pride and not just art. Going digital, we lose all that. From readability to interaction. It’s all gone. Bold? Italic? Underlined? Get yourself ten Arabic books. Open’em, read’em, do you find anything in Bold? Italic? or Underlined? No you don’t. But we do have all that on the Web. How come?

Some will debate this with Interaction & Readability unity across different languages–English that is but with all the author-ware software developers’ presence in the region there hasn’t been one solid negating report which gets us to a simple conclusion, not enough efforts, at least not as much as it deserves.

So with all the calls for Arabic content around and how much Arabic content is going to be important for the growth of Arabic users’ online experience and the Internet industry in general, the basics haven’t really been covered.

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Bayt.com’s Communities, Goin’ Social with 4.5m Job Seekers?

| August 1, 2010 – 10:00 am | comment 1 Comment

Time comes for Web companies to renew themselves n’ get on with new features n’ enhanced strategies to cope up with users’ needs, opportunities, and competition. Bayt.com has gone through a series of additions to what they offer on their Website.

First was their Buy & Sell section that is just classifieds which is irrelevant to what Bayt.com is known for as a recruitment portal. And recently, Bayt.com added a new section named Communities. The new section is not live yet as it offers an introduction to what is coming up and features the first Community for Marketing professionals offering them Industry News/Updates, Networking, and Professional Assessment. Is that a shot at LinkedIn?

Bayt is rich in user-base, with 4.5 Million job seekers on board, this could be a shot well worth venturing for. Engaging such a big number of users in networking looks great on paper but in reality, the type of users that we’re talkin’ about are job seekers. And this is exactly the opposite of LinkedIn where professionals signup to network first and might get exposed to vacant positions.

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Online Content Bottlenecks in Arabia are loosening up

| July 25, 2010 – 6:07 pm | comment No Comments

Online Content Bottlenecks are loosening up

Looks like all are meeting at the content crossroads. Telecoms/ISPs providing higher bandwidth & speed, Media/Entertainment companies bringing the content online, and we users getting ready to use all that. I skipped Advertisers, let’s give’em a break.

The amount of direct online content piracy on Arabic websites could really shock you out if you weren’t the type that listens to Arabic music. You can download, stream, and do whatever you want with full albums of the latest titles for free, not on some obfuscated or hidden websites, torrent, or file-hosting, no, on proud flashing home pages. With all that around for years(showing the amount of interest) the only conclusion often heard was “Arabs like to get Music for Free when it’s digital” such a passive thing to say.

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AnaZahra, 32-year-old Zahrat Al Khaleej gone online? Or is it a step in conversion?

| July 21, 2010 – 9:25 am | comment 2 Comments

Abu Dhabi Media Company(ADMC) is “the” pioneer in the digital publishing space in the Middle East, hands down. New digital platform? They implement n’ use it before anyone else. A media company that techno-geeks love to love. Apart from owning some of the best performing titles in print they’ve been busy going digital as fast as they could and in full steam.

AnaZahra.com - أنا زهرةAnaZahra is ADMC’s latest addition to their digital/online portfolio of titles. AnaZahra was introduced as Zahrat Al Khaleej’s branch online, or the Online version of the same magazine? It could get one confused as ADMC introduced a new business unit headed by celebrity Zoya Sakr. It was launched with Zahrat Al Khaleej’s brand used as an endorser and a sister brand, even AnaZahra’s branding borrows from Zahrat Al Khaleej, but then once you go online, print content and online are worlds of differences.

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All eyes on you, there’s never been a better time to start-up than now

| July 18, 2010 – 11:00 am | comment 4 Comments

Governments support, communities, talent, funds, role models & case studies, cutting edge software n’ tools, and soon, better broadband & higher Internet penetration, and a great deal of awareness/coverage by media. You’ve got it all.

Take it back to the days when Web meant that big Blue “e” icon. That’s exactly when we read all about the .com boom in the US and all we could think about was if that was real, spending millions of dollars on some Websites?

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