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Exclusive Interview with Tehmina Siddiqi, Manhattan Communications

Tehmina Siddiqi, Digital Operations – Manhattan Communications speaks to team Brands Magazine and FHM Pakistan on the changing perspectives and dynamics of the rapidly growing digital media.

BM: Being a seasoned media professional, what major changes have you observed in digital advertising with the passing time?
TS: Initially it was effective for brands to sell their products and reach their target audience with the invention of radio and television. However, as more people turned to the Internet to get their news, stream videos, interact on social media, and search for products and services; the scope of Digital Advertising grew exponentially. With the upsurge of Digital advertising on social media, content marketing has become more powerful. Blogs and online native content marketing have allowed brands to create positive public opinion about themselves and make people talk about it.

Now, video is the future of content marketing. With online video quickly becoming a key means for people to satisfy their information and entertainment needs, businesses that fail to include it in their internet marketing strategies will do so at their peril. All in all, Digital Advertising started its journey with Facebook Brand Page. Now its horizon has been widespread and it has managed to become an important part of the Marketing Budget mix of clients.

BM: What challenges did you and your team face in the initial stages of digital media development?
TS: A few years ago, Digital Media was a completely new world to people who opted for careers in Digital Advertising as it was never part of our academics nor were we familiar with its dynamics. In fact, it was the time when we had to educate ourselves as well as the brand custodians about this emerging market in the local media landscape. It was an uphill task to make clients understand the efficacy of Digital Media and allocate budgets for Digital Advertising.

BM: What are your major achievements and contributions to the digital industry so far?
TS: Back in 2012, when we started our digital wing, every other agency was stuck in the rut of pitching Facebook as the sole digital medium of advertising. We took a step back and looked at things differently as we understood that digital is way beyond Facebook and the real efficacy of a medium can only be unleashed if we approach it objectively and strategically. We were the first ones to launch and execute data driven programmatic advertising in Pakistan’s market back in 2014, which was still considered a foreign concept.  The results were phenomenal both in terms of engagement and commercial aspect for the client. We were the first ones to introduce mobile in-app geo-targeted advertising reaching the right audiences at the right place, right context with the right message.

BM: With the diversity of digital media, what new changes do you want to introduce in the sector?
TS: Best thing about Digital Media is that it’s driven by data and consumer insights based on their internet consumption behavior. But, unfortunately in our country where Digital Media is growing every day, we still don’t have access to audience insights as there is no official body who is responsible to gather the data and allow people working in Digital Media to further improvise their strategies as per consumer insights to prove better results.

BM: Were there training sessions conducted in order to keep the concerned team updated with the digital variations?
TS: We believe that Digital Media is a culture which needs to be embraced by every advertising agency and not only the concerned team, but each and every individual of the organization as it is the future of advertising. If we fail to keep up with the changing trends as a team, then we will not be able to deliver the best possible services to our valuable clients. Our affiliation with Havas Media gives us access to global learnings and practices. We are also connected with world top ad networks and publishers who provide various training sessions regularly hence, keeping our team updated with latest trends in Digital Media.

BM: What new ventures do you have with regards to digital advertising?
TS: We anticipate that with the growth of Digital Media in our country and challenges faced with OOH Billboards, Digital OOH will prove to be an important medium for the brands to reach their target audience out of the screen of digital devices and advertise their products in an interactive manners.

We have partnered with a few global publishers and aggregators to launch our own Programmatic Buying platform for brands to place their ads where their target audience is present in a more receptive manner.

“WE WERE THE FIRST ONES TO INTRODUCE MOBILE IN APP GEO-TARGETED ADVERTISING REACHING THE RIGHT AUDIENCES AT THE RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT CONTEXT WITH THE RIGHT MESSAGE.” 

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