Videos are being created in two days versus two months, visuals in two hours instead of two weeks, with briefs of two lines instead of two pages, resulting in customer interaction that is measurable in minutes versus weeks, with media budgets that reach people at a tenth of the cost. It feels like Moore’s law is beginning to apply to digital marketing. It is no wonder then, that traditionally-structured operations are finding it difficult to keep up – much like Nokia and Blackberry in the age of the iPhone.
A significant digital marketing spend is rising from the ashes of the war on the traditional marketing budget. This spend is giving life to an unprecedented model of communication, one that combines some of traditional agencies’ greatest elements while shedding their more limiting structural pillars.
Fadi Khater is the Founder and Managing Partner of Netizency, a social media and digital agency born in a Doha hotel room in 2011. Today, Netizency is an emerging leader in its field, having capitalized on the digital marketing trend early on. “We see digital marketing, and social media in specific, as a function that transcends advertising, media, and PR,” says Khater. “It’s a new function that spans all departments of an organization, from communications to product development, through to customer care, sales, HR, and legal – to name just a few. We incorporate each of those departments in the digital marketing strategies that we develop for our clients.”
Netizency is currently growing at an “astronomical rate”, and offers digital marketing services to agencies, management consultancies, and clients such as Dubai Properties, Google, ENOC, and Volkswagen in Dubai; Qatar National Bank and Kahramaa in Doha; and SAGIA, Huawei, and Virgin Megastores in Saudi Arabia. Now 17-people strong and with brand-new offices in Dubai at d3 and a Doha bureau, Netizency’s sole focus is to help companies better utilize the Internet to improve their business. “All types of agencies are scrambling for digital ownership,” explains Khater. “They are claiming their right to the throne by going back to the family tree and trying to find relevant ancestors that make them worthy of the digital budget.”
“Under the premise that “digital is all about the media spend” and in pursuit of said spend, media agencies are offering content development and community management services to show clients a full sense of digital readiness,” continues Khater. “Under the banner of “digital is just another form of advertising” – and to avoid losing their hefty traditional fees – ad agencies are also providing digital content and community management services. Under the umbrella of “digital is the voice of the company” and in the pursuit of bigger budgets, PR agencies are, yet again, offering community management and content creation services.”
Having started off by focusing mainly on social media strategy, Netizency quickly adapted to help bring those strategies to life by providing community management services. When the organic reach of social platforms began to dwindle, Netizency added a media buying offering to ensure that the content would reach the right audience. In order to expedite its time to market, the agency put together an in-house design team, achieving a faster turn-around time. As needs arose, Netizency later expanded its team to include digital art direction, video production, analytics, and social listening. Adaptability is – undoubtedly – Netizency’s strong suit, a quality that is not lost on its team. “With digital transformation being a key mandate for every CEO, it is the dawn of the most adaptive digital agencies with the fastest time to market,” says Managing Partner Michael Maksoudian. “We see this as the dawn of Netizency.”