[Disclaimer:  This article is not to be treated as a newspaper report or a summary of the entire event. It is written based on my own understanding and brain pickings from the summit. I have, in places, added more info which was not discussed in the summit. My purpose was to create a better picture of what is going on in the world of Digital Marketing in 2016. And even though it’s about Digital Marketing, this crosses over marketing ideas as well. Because at the end of the day, it’s about communicating the right message to the right customer and increasing value and sales. Hope you will enjoy this. Now let us begin.]


I joined Facebook in 2007. Back when in order to reply to a friend’s post on your wall you had to write back on his wall. Then see a ‘Wall-to-Wall’ conversation and make sense of a conversation. Back when Superwall and Who’s Your Top Friend? tabs were popular, you couldn’t like comments and stop playing Mob Wars or Texas Hold’em Poker.

Digital Marketing

The Good Ol’ Layout

Needless to say, both Facebook and we, its users, have come a long way since then. Today’s Facebook/internet experience is a lot faster, a lot less cluttered in terms of design and full of people and their opinions. So in this place where everyone was busy having fun and minding their own business, as always we marketers barged our noses in and ruined the experience. Now ‘ruin’ is a strong word, but not very inaccurate. At least Gary Vee thinks so. And I agree because a good lot of digital marketers today are going for push-based, oh-look-at-my-boring-run-of-the-mill-content-because-I-boosted-it-with-dollar tactic. Or, Bangladesh-cricket-team-just-won-so-give-me-a-content-for-my-brand-even-though-it-has-nothing-to-do-with-sports-tactic!

That’s exactly what I felt the Digital Marketing Summit 2016 was trying to get us to think about. How to not make boring, repetitive, copycat campaigns. How can we create creative, strategic and optimized content? And make it viral? The answers are elusive as always, and one day of panel discussions and case studies and breakout sessions are not enough to reveal them. However, certain insights must be shared for which this summit should be remembered for.

I have ordered the findings from the event so that the first 5 are for beginner level marketers. The next 5 are for those who have dug a little bit deeper than the CPC, CPM abbreviation explainers. Finally last 5 are my synthesized ideas from all the hustle-bustle of the DM world that I’m surfing through every day.

If you’re getting bored already, at least check out the videos below.

1. Say Hello to The Slash Generation

Ask yourself, who are you?

A marketer? A writer? An engineer? A software programmer?

But wait, are you also not a foodie? A travel junkie? A music lover? An adrenaline journey? A Potterhead?

The point is, the current online generation of Bangladeshis cannot be defined with just one word based on their occupation. You have a software programmer who’s a passionate cyclist, a school teacher who spends her vacations trekking the hills of Bandarban, a doctor who is a critic of classic movies… the list goes on and on.

Therefore, say goodbye to broad market segmentations. Choke the guy who says in a presentation, “We are targeting 19-24 age group”!

Okay, don’t choke him. Just give him a scornful eye and silently say what every girl wishes she could say to John Snow.


Think about detailing your TG. Go deep. Know them like you would know your best friend. ISYN.

2. Adding A.D.D to The Digital Marketing Equation

I won’t stress this too much because it’s being said for the last few years. Just to update, our attention span online is less than that of a Goldfish.

More than half of the readers are only going to scan this article. Just like you are, jumping from headline to headline. Stahp.

So giving them the same predictable type of content or video is not going to be able to keep their minds engaged for long. Now let’s take a look at this engaging video that tackles the ADD issue only so well:


This is the kind of content we Bangladeshi marketers need to think about making. Digital or not, this definitely grabs your eyeballs and pleases that ADD mind.

3. Videos Are Getting More Mindshare

Wanna know the number of views YouTube got from Bangladesh alone from January 2016 to September 2016? Please take a guess before you read the answer.

2 Billion!

Have a look at this infographic of 2015:

4. Tell Me Something Google Can’t

This one is for online storytellers.

Also, this heading explains exactly why I didn’t elaborate the last point after the infographic.

Today almost every online Bangladeshi user knows about Google. Or at least DSD.

They know that the information and knowledge they need is just a finger tap away. Or a few.

So the question that subconsciously rises in their mind every time someone wants to teach, preach or just reach them: “Why should I listen to you?” And if they sense that you’re just trying to tell them a generic story, their attention will lift off like the Falcon 1.

So, your stories need to be personalized, customized and original-sounding; not just presented in the new package of digital.

5. Facebook Citizens in Bangladesh Are a Lot More Sophisticated Today

Just notice it- nowadays even  smartphone-internet-using uncles and aunties are more aware of malware, virus, and click baits. After being abused by such problems, even they are learning about installing antivirus on their phones and tablets. And for the young, we can spot the bullshit even more quickly, more easily.


Having your brand’s content saying “Hey, I’m a Brand! I’m awesome and you need to like me because I’m ____(bla bla bla)” or “Hey, this hot girl uses our product! If you use it, you can be like her. Or better, have her in bed!” or “Six-packs are a man’s best friend. This Mandingo uses our brand. So use it and become a sex symbol!” – only shows that you are not understanding that your audience has evolved. This is so 2000s approach. Online Bangladeshis now watch international YouTubers’ videos, notwithstanding the latest Hollywood, Bollywood and Tamil movies. Their taste is no longer confined to BTV standard. Or Channel I standard for that matter. They may not be able to express it, but subconsciously they are thinking a lot more internationally today. So you can’t trick them into buying your product or position yourselves like you did in the good ol’ days. You have to be authentic.

You must understand that Bangladeshi customers have evolved. They can sense the BS in advertising.

If people don’t like what they’re seeing, they will scroll through your content without wasting a millisecond. Think about right this moment. Are you not scanning to see if this post has value to you? Are you not judging whether reading this is worth your time? Everyone online is doing it subconsciously. Every single user.

Bonus: Facebook Isn’t The Only Avenue for DM

Somehow, many people are getting the idea that pushing content at users on Facebook is the best way to advertise. I’m no one to give a verdict, but there are definitely arguments to be made.

I’ll just make one. Here is the top 5 websites that people are visiting from Bangladesh, ranked by www.alexa.com.

Digital Marketing

So if people are spending a lot more time watching videos or searching on the internet, why aren’t we also focusing on search engine marketing (SEM)?

From a study done by Shop.org and Forrester Research, 85% of retailers surveyed said search marketing (including paid and SEO) was the most effective customer acquisition tactic.

Source: http://scl.io/MjMgruVw#gs.T4P2lu8

6. Optimizing Ads on Facebook

Now this advertisement was shown by Fergus O’Hare, the final speaker of the event who had the crowd captivated with his brilliant presentation. WAIT! Before you play it, MUTE your audio. Now play.

Why am I saying this? Because about 50% of boosted videos are played on peoples’ profiles that have ‘Autoplay Video’ feature. Which plays without sound. So have a go at it like half of your target audience would.

Pretty boring, right? Now try it with music.

Isn’t it wonderful? The reason it won’t work well on Facebook is because it hasn’t been optimized. In the summit, Fergus showed an optimized video which I couldn’t find online. The optimized video contained the same thing, but every few seconds beautiful typography and musical sounds were appearing which contained part of the lyrics of the song.

So, it’s good to have an eye-catching opening for optimizing (particularly on Facebook) as well as ear-pleasing. Take a look at your work without the sound. You can have animation/graphics/special effects/text whatever that goes with the video.

Digital is not just repackaging what you’re throwing out there in Print, TV, Radio, etc. Content must be optimized.

7. Don’t Just Make Content, Tell A Story

I can’t describe it too well to you. Just see this video. It’s about trying to raise a social concern.

Instead of going for the usual pattern, this social message took advantage of the familiarity of the audience with their mobile devices.

You can even use your consumers to create stories for your brand.

Check out this page for some good examples of how brands used Facebook to tell stories.

3 Things to remember:

  1. Don’t make your product the focus of the story
  2. Tell the story in digestible chunks – do a series of content instead of one comprehensive content
  3. Keep the human side of the story alive

8. Strategy is A Pre-requisite for Creativity

This is an insight that all Advertising Agencies will agree with, but have a hard time to establish due to the agency-client interest and opinion conflicts.

Especially in Bangladesh, some clients don’t feel comfortable sharing their strategies and insight and end up sending a half page brief which gives rise to half-witted cont. Naturally.

Creativity isn’t just aesthetics, clever copy or gimmicks. Creativity is there to bring originality, engagement, and enthusiasm to the execution and implementation of strategies.

Just look at this example:

This ad shows exactly how important it was to identify the trend of buying gifts for Christmas and planning the time of release, preparing a genuinely heart-warming content and then distributing that across all channels possible. That is how effective success comes in digital .

9. Micro-Ads

If you work at an agency, you will hate this. So did I.

Because it’s effective, it’s short and simple, and it’ll cost a lot less. Which means less pay.

But that’s exactly these ads will have their own spot. I can’t predict if they will be a hit in Bangladesh, but there’s just this kind of simple elegance in such ads that can’t be forgotten easily.

This same KitKat ad is also available for a 10 second

What’s your opinion about this kind of ads? Write in the comment!


10. Turn Your Weakness Into Strength

We all know about this problem in Bangladesh where most people don’t have access to fast internet or money to buy a big data pack. Similar problem is faced by India.

Instead of nagging about that and why you can’t do 2k videos adverts for Bangladeshi markets, take a look at what Adidas came up with (the video’s only on FB, couldn’t embed here):


So before pointing figures at problems of infrastructure, let’s learn to leverage them.

11. Digital Is Changing the Publishing Scene- Forever

There is a strong sentence being said in the international publishing scene- “Print is dead.”

Whether it’s right or wrong to say, one fact is clear- publishing industry has been disrupted. Simply because of one fact- newspapers are delivered every 24 hours.

It was written, edited and approved at least 6 hours before it reaches the hand of the subscriber.

But on your phone, you can see what happened on the other side of the globe just 1 second ago. THAT’S A LIE. You can watch it live.

No one wants to deal with old news. We want to be updated. Consistently. And digital provides that solution.

Digital can even track your reading pattern and behavior and show you specific content that you will like more. You can save it for later and take it with you wherever you go. You can send the article to a friend or family. Even to your enemies, just to piss them off.

So now it’s a race between the publishers – who can grab hold of the digital scene? Print will not die soon, for sure. But advertising budget is shifting towards digital media. How can one run a newspaper company if no one is advertising there?

12. Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast

Simply put: what works for one country won’t work for the other. Because every nation has its own pulse, its own jokes, own stories of struggle, battle; of love and war.

As digital marketers, it is foolish to focus on the tech side of the world- AR, VR, 360 Videos, FB Live, yada yada yada. You should attune yourself to the market you’re dealing with first.

Grow your antennae for sensing the shift social behavior, ethnic and cultural stories that instantly strike a chord with the society. The entire idea of business is based on supply and demand. So you must understand both sides well.

At the same time, due to the connected digital platform, a campaign in one country can hurt the brand image in another country!

Take this story for example:

FIAT released an ad in Italy in which actor Richard Gere drives a Lancia Delta from Hollywood to Tibet. What happened next no one could predict. Richard Gere is hated in China for being an outspoken supporter of the Dalai Lama – there was a huge on-line uproar on Chinese message boards commenting that they would never buy a FIAT car. FIAT later apologized to Chinese people.

Source: http://www.campaignasia.com/article/cultural-blunders-brands-gone-wrong/426043

And look at this campaign, which was successful because it tuned in with the cultural sentiment of Bangladeshis.

13. What is Creativity?

I’m not an expert on this and neither do I want to define creativity. But it’s a question every digital marketer should be concerned with.

Until you can come up with content like this.


14. Consumers Don’t Give A SH*T About You

These are some recent findings:

Digital Marketing


Digital Marketing

So, they only care about what you are doing for them.

You can find more statistics behind this claim, but it does make sense, doesn’t it? No matter how much we want to sell a brand- that ‘promise’; if not fulfilled or fails to meet prior expectation, will cost the company. Already we have discussed how customers are rushing on the digital media and how difficult it is to grab their attention. So, always double check whether you are being consumer centric or just banging your own drums in the digital space.

15. In The Digital World Authenticity is More Important Than Accuracy

This heading requires an entire blog post for itself. TBH it’s more important for content creators. Why I say this is because while many YouTubers and brands have tried to establish themselves as an accurate, I-only-put-out-well-researched-content personas. However, other content creators are winning to get more mindshare because they are ‘perceived to be more authentic’ with their personas.

To remove your confusion, let’s see this following video.

So you get it, right? BBQ4America isn’t a cause, but it creates an authentic image of Wendy’s passion for cooking quality BBQs.

Just look at this graph published yesterday by Forbes.com.


Hero Alam Ali G Ster




Haha. Now you can understand why Ali Gster and Hero Alam have reached the spotlight with so little content.

Meanwhile, many actors and rappers who can do the actual job better, are struggling.

I am in no way saying that it’s not necessary to research about your content or to take preparation or rehearse before you shoot. But I want to emphasize that these people have created an authentic feeling that we are used to seeing from the actual professionals in the hip hop or acting business. They were not accurate, but the idiotic moves that they were trying to pull off somehow connected with us. Somehow we perceived them as authentic entertainers. How else can we explain them becoming famous?


Bonus: What Is Otaku?

I think this is the word that the futurist digital marketers should build their thought process around. Do you want to know why? Well, I’m not gonna tell you something that Google can.

Just watch this brilliant Ted Talk. It will start exactly from where this awesome guy starts talking about Otaku.

This would be an example of Otaku:



To Wrap It Up

Finally, I once again want to remind you that these are my understandings. I’ve been a student of marketing for 9 years and am somewhat of a techie but as a digital marketing professional I’m only a month old- if I were a human baby I would only be good at crying, whining and salivating. So don’t take these as a biblical text. I did try to sound convincing but I don’t want to be dogmatic.

The thing is, no one has figured out digital on its entirety. And no one can because it’s a humongous task to understand the entire human online population and predict their behavior and create communication materials/content accordingly. But we can, however, determine the probabilities. Study, plan, execute and measure. Then repeat.

Thanks for reading this till the end. Hope I managed to fire up some new neurons in your brain.

I would like to thank the organizers of DMS 2016, Bangladesh Brand Forum and everyone who put in their efforts to make the event successful.

Due to simultaneous presentations(plus I was also assigned some duties), I could not attend all the speeches. This blog took inspiration from the speeches of Mr. Suresh Ramaswami, Digital lead of Grey Group Asia Pacific, Mr. Mehedi Reza, Product operations manager, Alibaba Group, Mr. Ovick Alam, CEO of WebAble Digital, Mr. Riyad S. A. Husain, CEO, Magnito Digital
Iftekhar Rajib Rupai, sr. Strategic planner, Magnito Digital and Mazharul elahi, Senior Executive digital communications, GP digital entertainment, Fergus O’hare, Director of Facebook Creative Shop for Asia Pacific.

I highly recommend you see Fergus’ talk if you have the time. Here’s the link to his live video.

Also a personal conversation with Mr. Monsurul Aziz, Head of Enterprise Design at Toru – The Idea Tree.