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Interview with Fahd Khater, Skyhigh Advertising Managing Director

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fahd-khaterUAE-based Fahd Khater has been working in the field of marketing for the last 18 years, that paved the way to master so many aspects of marketing management, and skills from strategy & planning, to sales, to digital marketing, and this brings in the fastest moving and growing science. 

Importance of Digital Marketing

Leading a team of marketers and creatives makes one aim for the best and explore different challenges to conquer, especially in this age of digital media. Fahd believes that digital marketing is becoming the center of any successful campaign. Following the motto, “if you are not moving forward, then you are moving backward”, he strongly believes in continuous self-improvement and constant reinventing of marketing strategies to stay ahead of trends. Fahd Khater also propagetes that with a ‘can-do’ attitude, nothing can stop you, from reaching your goals and non-stop learning. 

How did you get into Digital Marketing? What interested you in learning Digital Marketing?

Fahd Khater: The world of marketing is evolving as we speak, and it is not a matter of interest to learn, but more of a knowledge requirement in this technological world. You can’t say that you are here to serve your clients and help them move to the second level without being equipped with the latest Digital Marketing tools and methods. The market dictates it, and us Marketers will only comply with what the customers need and want to reach, satisfy them, and earn their loyalty.

According to you, what are the advantages of conventional marketing over Digital Marketing? Do you think that Digital Marketing is a threat to the future of conventional marketing?

Fahd Khater: Conventional Marketing has already been proven valid and reliable with time-tested efficacy for various brands until now. Digital media is an innovation that improves the way that we market our products and brands, with better opportunities and more possibilities. Having said that, I won’t say it’s a real threat because, traditional media will definitely stay for now, and eventually evolve for digital media integration. As I always say, Digital marketing is taking conventional marketing and representing it with new tools and platform… digital platforms.

Share about your 3 favorite Digital Marketing case studies. What did you like most about them?

Fahd Khater:

1. TECHBEL3ARABI: 

TechBel3arabi is a first of a kind website that talks to the audience who are interested in technology and that… it is in Arabic. This is the only website that brings authentic articles and reviews about different technologies to its audience.

What’s interesting in it, were the possibilities and the hunger of an Arabic audience for such a website. We took the whole platform and we evolved it to its next level to reach this market… Better website experience, different level of Arabic content and articles, consistency in standards of content and at the same time developing a loyal audience, with increasing unique visitors in 4 months by 250% and daily visitors by 400%.

2. QUERLO:

Querlo is the new platform for communicating with your audience and creating a bond that can lead to loyal audiences. This is the new way to connect with your direct and indirect public through personal tailored conversations, that will help generate more of the real first party data, that provides data which leads into the best experience for your brand. This is not your normal survey chat with your customers, it’s a rewarding conversation for a piece of your target audiences’ minds. We believe that great market data delivers great media and great media delivers great data.

3. SEO Live Assessment: 

The gap in the market for people that talk the talk, and walk the talk. I run an agency that believes in ‘more heads are better than 1’. So imagine when you bring different departments together to deliver the best marketing experience… we use the digital platforms as tools for better experience and this was the reason for us to launch SkyHigh Digital, the SEO live assessment website to help the audience check where they stand, when it comes to their SEO and Social Media channels. We use our expertise to deliver the best assessment for them, and utilize each of all our departments – Creative, technology, digital, content creation and planning and strategy- to help them fix and reach their goals.

According to you, what are the top 3 mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging Digital Marketing?

Fahd Khater:

  • Not Hiring Help

It may be all over the internet and looks easy to implement, but believe us, it’s not as easy as it seems. The expertise of Digital Marketers powers any business to achieve its digital goals. They are trained and more knowledgeable on the basic technical aspects of each digital media. We may be excellent on our own, but there are experts to make digital marketing more effective and more efficient. Doing things without the help of digital experts will mean more challenges and misuse of needless efforts.

  • Content Quantity Instead of Quality 

Producing a lot of content, even if it’s good, and constant flooding of information don’t really work, especially if those contents do not interest your target audience. Digital Marketing is a part of community management and being social… people are always misguided with what’s best to start with… selling or talking.

  • Executing with Unrealistic Expectations & Poor Planning 

Without setting the proper and compulsory digital planning and strategy, all efforts will lead only to wasted time, and business loss. Like any other marketing efforts, all efforts and objectives should be seamlessly laid out and planned first, before implementing any digital marketing initiative. Not because it looks easy to do, you will easily jump into doing it. Digital marketing is one complex process that needs thorough planning, keen monitoring, and detailed analysis to successfully get the most of your marketing spend.

  • Digital Marketing is Cheap

It is a myth that we keep hearing in every meeting. Digital Marketing is cheap and cost nothing. The mistake is the confusion of the customers with the fact that Digital Marketing costs less than TV and Outdoor and traditional media but it costs money and for all the great campaigns that went viral and went so big, a good amount of money was invested in the process and the research to get your results.

Between Agency and In-house, which approach would you recommend for maximum value of Digital Marketing? Why?

Fahd Khater: A mix of both is a safer approach in the general market. However, considering the region’s trend in digital media usage, the UAE market spends twice as much time consuming digital media compared with the traditional. And this must be taken into consideration as well, together with the target audience of any brand. A direct client will never be able to hire a full team of creative people of designers / motion graphics artists / photographers / content writers in different languages/ social media experts / SEO certified experts/ Digital Marketing certified experts, under one roof to deliver the mix that is needed these days. It is known that I will push for an agency approach, but I will confirm that a mix of both is always better.

How do you ensure increasing Digital Marketing’s relevance and influence in the organization?

Fahd Khater: Leading a Tech department in Sky High places the Digital marketing as one of the important and fastest growing department in our agency. This alone makes us interested and vigilant to read, study, and learn more; experiment with our clients to see how we can push things progressively toward a better and more fruitful result. Every month, we make sure that different member of the team is participating in the company Social Media platforms. Attending different conferences and speaking in different events to share latest trends on technology and innovations in the digital market.

Which are your 3 favorite Digital Marketing Tools?

Fahd Khater:

  • Social Media
  • Content Marketing /SEO
  • Querlo (our own System)

Why do you think it’s important for entrepreneurs, marketing professionals and students to learn Digital Marketing today?

 Fahd Khater:

  • For Entrepreneurs:

Customer first experiences a brand on the internet or in digital media, before they even get a chance to finally consume any product. For any, if not all business, digital marketing is probably your most powerful tool to reach your audience and get found by them. The digital channel is a must-have to support the existence and market reach of any brand.

  • For Professionals:

Digital marketing is a world of opportunity for Marketing professionals and the digital industry is growing at an enormous 40% rate. The demand for digital marketing is already higher than market supply. It is indeed a qualification that any professional must have as a background, and a knowledge one should possess.

  • For Students:

Today, digital marketing opens a wide variety of career opportunities for students. By learning Digital Marketing, any student can be an entrepreneur, an online seller, a teacher, an advocate etc. while studying in school at the same time. The world is the market, and the possibilities to reach an audience through digital is boundless.

What are the top 3-5 skills you look for when hiring a candidate for Digital Marketing profile?

Fahd Khater: 

I believe that the digital marketer should be a professional Millennial.

Being called Digital Natives, did not come from nowhere, and they are unquestionably the most qualified person on the job, over and above the educational background and digital marketing experience that any person has acquired.

What is your advice for newbies, who are looking at building a career in Digital Marketing industry?

Fahd Khater: Read and learn and don’t stop experimenting in the Digital Marketing World. We work in Digital Marketing for more than 5 years now and we are still learning and studying to date, because day by day, technology advances and digital media constantly evolves. Creativity never stops and the mix that can you come up with between platforms and tools is massive.

How do you stay updated on the latest trends in Digital Marketing? Which are the Digital Marketing resources (i.e. blogs/websites/apps) you visit regularly?

Fahd Khater: Yes. We are always studying and enlisted in so many sites and blogs such as Social Media Examiner / Techrepublic / Ion Interactive / uberflip / MarketingProfs… and many others. We constantly collaborate with other digital experts that could enhance our proficiencies in digital marketing.

Share the names of 3 people you respect when it comes to Digital Marketing.

Fahd Khater: Reading and learning from different people and sites but there are always people that leaves a mark on you and influence your next moves and to name some of them:

  • Ann Handley
  • Neil Patel
  • Heidi Cohen

How do you see Digital Media evolving in future? What are the top 3 trends do you foresee for 2016?

Fahd Khater: Digital media will continuously evolve and constantly innovate itself with the onset of new technology that happens every day. The top trends of digital media future is MOBILE, MESSENGER APPS, and VR.

Would you like to share few words about the work we are doing at Digital Vidya?

Fahd Khater: Digital marketing training is now an inevitable knowledge to acquire, because it is already our new way of life.

What Digital Vidya has been doing is an available solution to those who are ready to learn about this digital market and a vital informational support to people and brands in the way we do things nowadays. Being the pillar of knowledge and learning experiences make you worthwhile in the world today. Kudos!

Are you inspired by the opportunity of Digital Marketing? Start your journey by attending our upcoming orientation session on Digital Marketing for Career & Business Growth. It’s online and Free :).

[Sr. Associate - Content Marketing] A content passionate, Jasleen handles the content writing and marketing activities. Additionally, she leads Digital Marketing Internship Programme. Her deep passion and enthusiasm for writing guided her towards being the Associate Editor in English for her college magazine. Only deep passion and zeal can guide a person towards a professional writing career. Apparently, Jasleen is one of those persons. She is in the content writing and marketing fraternity for 5 years now. A top-notch individual, she is proficient in writing content for multiple requirements including blogs, articles, books, brochures and social media. She embraces practical knowledge of WordPress CMS. Besides this, she is also highly engaging in Social Media Marketing activities.
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