CHAL­LENG­ING OP­POR­TU­NI­TIES

Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of UM Qatar, lays out the key points for ad­dress­ing the re­quire­ments of Qatar’s com­mu­ni­ca­tion with spe­cial fo­cus on

ArabAd - - COVER STORY -

How much has ad­ver­tis­ing really changed over the years?

To­tally, to the point where it is now a rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent in­dus­try with a com­pletely dif­fer­ent ap­proach to that of say thirty years ago, when to­day’s se­nior prac­ti­tion­ers started work­ing in agen­cies. We have moved from an ana­logue, broad­cast medium ap­proach, where we used cam­paigns to tar­get large seg­ments of the pop­u­la­tion, to a dig­i­tal in­bound con­tent mar­ket­ing ap­proach, al­ways on, al­ways con­nected, where we can tar­get and re­tar­get in­di­vid­ual con­sumers based on their own very per­sonal pro­file. That’s why we shouldn’t really call the busi­ness “Ad­ver­tis­ing” any more. “Sto­ry­telling’ is a much bet­ter de­scrip­tion of what we do to­day.

How has the pro­file of your agency changed?

UM was launched in 1999 by Mccann World­group as its world­wide me­dia buy­ing arm, op­er­at­ing as a sep­a­rate yet in­ter­de­pen­dent unit. Nowa­days, we still buy me­dia for our clients but the in­no­va­tion, art and science in­volved is much more com­plex. We plan us­ing “Mo­ments”, which is about how we use all the in­cred­i­ble data we have, to dis­cover the time, the place and the emo­tion to make the right con­nec­tion with the con­sumer. It’s not just about the “Mo­ments” them­selves, but also making sure we have the right sto­ries at those mo­ments, us­ing the right con­tent mar­ket­ing strate­gies. We need a vastly dif­fer­ent breed of me­dia plan­ner in this con­text; be­cause we need to en­sure that our plan­ners understand data and tech­nol­ogy but also have the em­pa­thy to en­sure that we don’t lose sight of one key fact – even with all this data, it’s still peo­ple talk­ing to peo­ple about brands.

How has the lo­cal mar­ket been af­fected?

We are see­ing how the print medium is be­gin­ning to lose read­er­ship and rel­e­vance to con­sumers in Qatar, as mo­bile has be­come their prin­ci­pal de­vice for ac­cess­ing in­for­ma­tion, con­nect­ing and en­gag­ing. This is a very pos­i­tive trend be­cause no­body needs to use pa­per ne­ces­si­tat­ing that news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines here in Doha re-eval­u­ate their busi­ness model, just as pub­lish­ers all over the world have done. This re­quires agen­cies to be able to “al­ways” de­liver, 24/7 on, ready for om­nichan­nel con­nected con­tent so­lu­tions. This also means that smaller agen­cies with­out the ad­e­quate re­sources will find it in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult to com­pete.

What are some of the chal­lenges you're fac­ing on a daily ba­sis, which are spe­cific to the Qatari mar­ket ?

The tal­ent crunch is in­deed the largest chal­lenge, but not unique to Qatar as more mil­len­ni­als are at­tracted to work­ing at GAFAM than at me­dia agen­cies. Within that global tal­ent crunch for me­dia agen­cies, we face ad­di­tional prob­lems such as se­cur­ing visas for non-western Euro­pean tal­ent and making Doha an at­trac­tive des­ti­na­tion for those who are con­sid­er­ing the Mid­dle East. How­ever, our ca­pa­bil­i­ties as an agency in Qatar are on par with those in other coun­tries in the re­gion, with a ded­i­cated UM team of 20 peo­ple here in Qatar now and grow­ing next year, es­pe­cially in ar­eas such as so­cial me­dia and con­tent mar­ket­ing.

We plan us­ing “Mo­ments” to dis­cover the time, the place and the emo­tion to make the right con­nec­tion with the con­sumer.

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