I am so proud to be connected, Are you ?


Are you connected, do you sense the difference we see today? It is so integrated and becoming so difficult to adapt to, which approach are you following!

Are we still living in a world of six degrees of separation? I am not sure about you, but for me this is a life changing creed and I have already embraced that. As the change that has happened to me and the organizations I worked with and for have noticed the difference already. There was a time when I was wondering, what could happen that is so different to be genuinely changing my life to something better! Something would put me to sense the change and begin a new life where dimensions are plenty and possibilities are infinite. Six years back, I had to think this many times and rethink it again and again. When I read this book in 2010, I noticed that many of the routes that I had taken before that were already on the right direction and this book had these things listed.

Six Pixels of Separation: Everyone is Connected. Connect Your business to Everyone
Is it important to be connected?

Why anyone should follow such ideas and fully endorse them? Because there are always options for someone to pick as alternatives in life, but who has the time to go and try the unknown, while there are already proven methods to use!

Probably many other books have discussed ideas on social media and others have talked about entrepreneurship, but Six Pixels of Separation: Everyone is Connected. Connect Your business to Everyone, has integrated them all along with personal branding. Entrepreneurship, digital marketing, social media, personal branding all are integrated and presented nicely in the main idea of this book. Mitch Joel has mastered this work to have consistent and smooth narration of ideas and tips that could directly be effective and make a difference in our lives.

Marketers are spammers by Law


In different workshops and casual settings here in Saudi,I have discussed this idea of ” Stop Spamming and do real communication in your varied marketing efforts, traditional and digital”. Now CITC (Communications and Information technology Commission ) has clearly announced that continuing this practice will make you a criminal by law! this is the official document

This is harsh huh! In a simple example for a marketing activity scenario we can see this conversation

” Marketing staff

A:  We have finished the TV Ad and ready to air based on the timelines planned.
B:Cool what about the other communication channels?
A: The agency will send email shots and SMS blasts to 3000000 people (youth, travel, music, football, etc ) for a good price.
B: Great then , good job.”

Have you noticed!  It’s a Blast and Shot! So expressive enough to tell its a SPAM and intrusive kind of communication. So these are so common among most of marketers unfortunately, but luckily not for long now this has to be corrected by the power of law not marketing science or ethics!

Why not do it right, and build your own customer database for email and SMS as well. Simple engaging ideas can earn the trust of current clients or new customers to give their permissions to share their contact details and opt-in for your newsletter and promotions. Just ask them, but before you go and ask them, make sure you have set up the strategy for CRM as part of your marketing and digital marketing operation. Well, it doesn’t need to be so complicated, it is always cool to start with simple execution for CRM (customer relation management) program, call it newsletter database or clients database if the acronym “CRM” makes it complicated or scary – for you – to do it right.

Here are some simple ideas that could be used. You can get the clients’ contact information by asking them to fill a small form/application at the point of sale if you have a shop or by a form in your website if you sell online too. Else you could do a small contest where you can collect customers’ entries and send them an invite to opt-in later on or send them a thank you letter for their purchase offline or online and invite them to sign-up for your newsletter. There are many ways to do it, I am just stating basic ones here, but of course you are creative enough to create more interesting ideas for this.

Make it clear that you will not sell or share their data with anyone else and it will be used only to share cool stuff or may be offers, but not useless spamming messages that are irrelevant. Make sure you ask them for their permission to opt-in, as if you don’t then they can NOW file a complaint that you are a spammer and then you become a marketing criminal, not professional, then the new regulation will catch you. Of course you don’t want this to happen. So it is important to have these written proofs that the customer has opted-in and has given you permission  to communicate with them.

Why it is important to be clear and transparent about customer data and contact details! Actually there must be a true privacy policy inside the organization that everyone has to understand well. Because privacy is a priceless asset and once you show any conduct against the rules of privacy and international common practice of saving customer data, then earning the customers’ trust back is close to impossible. When they switch to a competitor or just stop buying or doing business with you, then this is a result of being arrogant and ignorant, not because your product or service wasn’t good enough!

You need customer’s permission


My first time reading this book was in 2003 and after few years I had to buy it again, but as an audio book. At that time I used to work two different jobs at the same time and one of them was mainly selling online website services and this book helped us coin our ideas on how to use the clients’ database that we had built over the course of business. It was and still insightful and will be useful over and over again.
Permission marketing, turning strangers into friends and friends into customers by Seth Godin

“The Ultimate entrepreneur for the Information Age” explains “Permission Marketing” -the Business Week calls Seth Godin.

I need not to talk about Seth Godin, he is a phenomenon in the marketing knowledge wiki.
The Ultimate entrepreneur for the Information Age

I need not to talk about Seth Godin, he is a phenomenon in the marketing knowledge world. To address this book, I have to say that, it is a mandate today that marketers do marketing scientifically and look at the aspects of customer engagement. Why it should be highlighted as an important book to look at and read thoughtfully. Because it uncovers the secrets of personalization, segmentation, interest groups and the value of engaged customers. It is not a new book, but certainly works for yesterday, now and tomorrow. As it talks about the psychology and science of consumer engagement and what is right or wrong about marketing practices.
Have you taken customers permission before talking to them by annoying SMS or email? Are you a spammer or a communicator? Stop talking to the mass and focus on the interested ones. They will not just bring business, they will recommend you and even write good reviews about you. Isn’t this what all marketers and business people want ! A lovely customer that buys from us, shares our content and recommends us for her/his network!

This book is Definitely a gold mine for marketers of today and tomorrow.

Why Building Trust is Key for Success


In Fall 2010 it was immense for me to consume a lot of social media marketing advice, as I wanted to be clear on many thoughts I had,  around why do things need to be done this or that way in day to day operations in personal and business digital marketing use. What was changing and what had to be done to marketing plans. Why did we need to look at things differently! Some of my friends and colleagues at freelancers’ online meet up were worried that by end of 2010 , they would be out of contracts and had to do something about it. Them being web developers and designers, they had already noticed the shift in clients’ behavior and how it was getting difficult for them (as freelancers working in one group under one organization) to secure more business deals.

They had a website, CRM (customer Relationship management system/Database) and a forum, with some auto published social media “broadcasts”. It was merely my job as a friend to push it harder and help them score more leads and then of course business for the guys to deal with. As part of my search for more know-how on social media selling and how to create value out of content and the use of influencers, it was mandate for me to read more about it and find creditable advice to keep the guys busy coding and developing more websites and web solutions. Searching in amazon, I came across this book Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust by the famous author Chris Brogan and Julien Smith.

The authors made it clear from the beginning that it has to be you to ignite the action and start fixing things, rather than waiting for magic to happen. For me I was already in the mood for that and found this more exciting and encouraging too. In Saudi Arabia we have around 70% of the population are less than 28 years old, which means Millennial Generation are the dominating age segment. What this implies is that as service providers for individuals and small businesses, we had to understand more about this audience and use the influence we had to recruit more potential clients and engage more with current ones through unconventional approaches. This book describes how such segment is becoming so important to treat differently, as they sleep using the Internet and new social tools to interact and start conversations with each other. The book highlighted, why it is important to focus more on influencers and also gave examples of influencers’ marketing ideas, which could be used.

The authors highlighted ” if you want to succeed, don’t sit on the sidelines while new markets and channels grow. Instead, use the web to build trust with your consumers using Trust Agents”

They had a website and it had worked for couple of years back. While it covered all their previous work and clients, but still wasn’t driving the right number of projects. They worked with big forums and different organizations of different industries, but that was it, they didn’t search out for more from those people. “After reading this book we had to change our way of working to adapt and have stronger ties with influencers and work more on thinking differently to build more fruitful relations online. Though, this had been going before 2010 , but with this book, it became clearer that it had to be nailed faster”, Sami the group leader commented

Social influence of clients, social network tools, content planning, and new media consumption insights and patterns are highlighted in a way that had excited them to revamp the communication experience for their group and worked better than ever in a sustainable way.
This book being authored by two super social media and inline marketing experts, gave it more credibility to deliver more actionable steps and guides toward success in new media landscape.

Why building the trust is crucial for business? Consumers today are becoming less influenced by brand ads and lean in to hear from their networks, WOM and peer recommendations in play. Websites are important channels for driving many objectives, but what kind of trust do they offer for visitors/potential clients of your business?

Digital marketing workshop and training for students and professionals


I have had the chance to engage in delivering a couple of training courses and digital marketing workshops here in Saudi Arabia. I have delivered those for students and professionals from different industries. The most common questions I receive during which, are around the following topics: Continue reading “Digital marketing workshop and training for students and professionals”

The engaged Marketers’ book


A repeated scene…I feel good that I have just finished this book – it is  not just some engaging book , but the engaging book as I see it. If you are a true believer that the social communication and the new media forms are the biggest shift in the human communication history , then this is your time. I tried to pick this copy as text and started reading it like a month back, but I had discovered that the audio version was more crisp for me, maybe because I love to hear stories.

Mr.Solis has covered the Social Media ROI, the always troublesome topic for marketers! If this is not fancy enough for you , then it is also a guide for marketers and business owners passionate for excellence and converting in a sustainable pattern. It has different examples of practical strategies and tactics that have been adopted or ignited by some of the world’s leading companies like Intel and how have they harnessed the abundant benefits of Social and digital marketing dynamics.

Engage! The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web
revised and updated with a Foreword by Ashton Kutcher

Psychology, behavior and influence of the new consumer, these topics are covered in this book in an interesting way to enable marketers to understand more of the drivers of consumers , and why should they care about your brand anymore !

It is Engage!: The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web….. By Brian Solis

  • Has won the prestigious PRWeb 5 Star Award
  • Bestsellers : Top business books by Inc.
  • Winner of small business best books award.

Strategies, ways of working , insights and pieces of advice in Each chapter and topic discussed in the book, all can be found and utilized immediately.. I personally recommend this as Best read for people in marketing for profit and non-profit tracks.