An Overview of Vibe Martech Fest 2021

The Key Sessions You Should Not Miss at VMF 2021

Vibe MarTech Fest – Middle East’s biggest CX, Marketing and Advertising technology summit is back.

The summit is a testament to our dedicated efforts to recognise innovators, disruptors and technologies that are forever pushing the boundaries of marketing technology. Backed with a sound team, Vibe Martech Fest started with a keynote address by Sonia Lekhal, Chief Marketing Officer at Talabat.

In her address, Sonia spoke about the importance of having diversity when building a team. “Marketing field is quite creative, data-driven and analytical,” says Lekhal who believes that there are four strengths of marketing teams – operational, analytical, empirical, and strategic.The market is full with different kinds of talent.

Also Read: VMF 2021: Marketing Leaders Who Are Sharing Their Insights

How do you find the right talents for data-driven skills? “There are challenges of finding the right talent in the region. It is difficult to recruit talent in data-driven skills. Expats come from different talents and they come with known universities, reference companies, and personal network.” Lekhal refers to her practical experience, where she leverages a very basic technique. Use of case studies as a tool that will help the market to succeed and solve business problems and make strategic questions.

In today’s digitised world, data is the cornerstone of media and communications. Discussing the age of Data-driven Media & Communication at the Vibe Martech Fest was Taghrid Fawzi Alsaeed, Head of Media Intelligence & Innovation Group Comm, Mubadala.

Taghrid explained that the key to transformation was rooted in effective communications. When communications can be transformed using cutting-edge technology, an effort is made to provide more data-driven insights along with relevant and effective monitoring and reporting. Taghrid explained that enterprises need to have a goal to grow and support communication teams with the latest technology, data sources and programming them into creating user-friendly tools that provide rapid, real-time monitoring and analysis coupled with effective decision making.

The third session of the annual Vibe Martech Fest focussed on a panel discussion between Marwa Kaabour, Head of Marketing and Corporate Communication, Al Masaood, Abu Dhabi, Guil Rodrigues, AVP Customer Experience and Design Lead at Payit by FAB, Daniel Gomez, Chief Digital Officer at Al Malki Group, Haitham Elkhatib, Divisional Vice President at Sprinklr. The panel was moderated by Shyam Sunder, Brand marketing and Communications consultant at Independent Consultant at VMF 2021. The panelists focussed on ways to make Omni-channel transformation one of the game-changing moves for retailers. The discussion focussed on challenges faced by thought leaders and how problems were overcome.

The panelists agreed to one common challenge faced by everyone. Adopting Omni-channel strategies was behind schedule for most enterprises. Elaborating further, Daniel Gomez said, “Omni-channel is a bit late for everyone, the companies need it. However, setting up the systems and making them work superfast is a challenge. One has to get rid of the legacy and adapt to the change.” Guil Rodrigues, went on to add, “Finance and banking industries are totally going digital. Financing in general is going online. Some of our customers want pure digital emotional connections.

It is very interesting to adapt to the changes.” When asked about the challenges in breaking silos and adapting omni-channel transformation, Haitham Elkhatib said, Covid-19 disrupted everything and companies are not able to adapt to the changes. Addressing CX and leveraging appropriate data is the first challenge. Using AI to map and relive the experience is the second challenge. When asked what has been the biggest learning experience during the pandemic, the panellists agreed to the fact that it was not about the product anymore, as much as it was about premium CX.

The next session focussed on the importance of a Customer Data Platform and how enterprises could maximise their ROI by assessing their CDP-readiness. Louise Blake, VP of Data at Seera Group discussed at length on adopting CDP to make the enterprise more efficient and revenue-driven. “If customer experience matters to you for your business, then it’s suggestible to add a customer data platform (CDP) in order to become more efficient and improve revenue,” said Blake. 

She spoke about how in larger enterprises, a lot of data capabilities have been developed on the go. They start from a time when there was no formal concept of a CDP in the first place. Everyone has to collect, analyse and apply solutions organically. She elaborated, “Companies should pursue a multifaceted assessment process with various teams including marketing, product, digital delivery, IT security and data. An in-depth evaluation of the tech stack and integration capabilities is also done. Focus should be on security and governance.”

Speaking at VMF 2021,  Kashif Siddiqui, CX Solutions Consultant, SAP spoke about user experience and Customer life-cycle journey mapping.“Every customer is different and each one wants different things. Personalisation is incremental. Knowing that your customers are engaging with your brand and value indicates personalisation.” Elaborating further, Siddiqui said  CDP and AI have a hand with personalisation. Sometimes, the problem might lie with the company software itself. “If there is a lot of overlapping between softwares, there are also a lot of solutions in the market. It allows them to connect with the customers.”

Perihan Abouzeid, Head of Marketing, Viu Middle East spoke about the ability of businesses to fast-track growth by leveraging digital tools to overcome challenges posed by the pandemic. Perihan said, “Content, media, and the website is viewed differently by different people. The UAE, GCC and other arabic countries tend to see content based in their languages and that’s exactly why personalisation is important.” Elaborating on the metrics to measure customer-success in e-commerce, Perihan added, “We must map the user journey. Analyse the steps that users take, map user onboarding process, along with their likes and dislikes. Think about how easy it would be for them to browse products and buy them.”

Speaking on the roadmap, business leadership needs to match pace with their business strategies, Perihan said, ‘Your executive leadership needs to be on board with digital transformation. Brands must have a solid road map. If leadership is not on the board, it will be an issue and it will face roadblocks on the way. Throughout my career, I have worked on hacks and experimentations on several occasions. Testing digitisation and then taking it to a bigger scale. That should be the ideal approach.”

Jesper Broberg, Vice President of Business Development for Sitecore in the Middle East & Africa shed light on how experiences marketing helps drive revenue through customer loyalty, with personalised experiences, and creates customers for life. Speaking on the issue, Broberg said, “75 per cent of executives believe that content is the strategic key to growing customer lifetime value. It could be words, pictures, videos, similar to what we use to  market to the customer. Also, 97 per cent executives say that producing and publishing personalised digital content more quickly has become a top priority.” Giving a word of advice to marketing executives, Broberg said, ‘Own the entire content management and delivery lifecycle from plan to publish across all their channels. You should manage content and provide all stakeholders with a single version of the truth. Also, leverage content across channels and elevate the experience you provide to your customer.’

Renowned media commentator and leadership guru, Simon Lancaster gave pearls of wisdom for C-suite executives. Simon said, ‘There are six techniques to speak like a leader. Use Breathless sentences, repetitive sentences, contrast sentences, metaphor sentences, exaggerative sentences, and rhyming sentences. If it rhymes, it chimes. It becomes easier to swallow and remember such sentences.’

Today’s marketing leaders have much to gain from Simon’s secrets.

The eventful day came to a close with the announcement of the much anticipated Vibe Martech Awards (VMA). The annual awards recognise innovators, disruptors and technologies that are forever pushing the boundaries of marketing technology. And to honour people and organisations advancing the Martech agenda. The award categories ensure even participation and cover the Martech landscape with a greater focus on client-side practitioners. The winners across various categories are as follows.

Best Enterprise Martech Platform – Tealium

Emerging Vendor in the Middle East – Tealium

Best Use of Data and Analytics – Seera Group

Best use of Martech in Media – Khaleej Times

CX Transformation of the Year – Galadari Brothers

Best use of Martech by an Enterprise – RAKBANK

Martech Team of the Year – RAKBANK

Most Innovative Martech Solution – Sitecore

Martech Agency of the Year – Merkle

Martech Visionary of the Year – Banali Malhotra

Future Martech Leader – Nadin Dogan, Manager – Data & Performance, DIFC