Aurora Magazine

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Dig-It 2017 – Exploring the potential of Big Data

Updated Apr 18, 2017 04:16pm
The conference attracted local and international marketing professionals and featured informative keynote sessions.

On April 14, Pakistan Advertisers Society held the ‘Dig-it 2017’ a digital marketing and advertising conference at Movenpick Hotel, Karachi. This conference’s objectives were to highlight the potential of Big Data and technology-assisted creativity to help marketers execute successful omni-channel campaigns.

The conference was divided into three sessions, the first of which focused on the opportunities and possibilities of Big Data; speakers included Asad-ur-Rehman, Global Media Director, MEA, Unilever; Shahbaz Zobairi, Creative Director, MullenLowe, Dubai; Adnan Shahid, Chief Commercial Officer, PTCL; and Raza Matin, Marketing and Business Consultant, Google Pakistan.

Rehman, in an extremely interactive session shed light on how data mining can drastically affect business decisions and outcomes, and quoted a study called ‘The Data that turned the World Upside Down’ which highlighted how running data mining algorithms helped attain votes for Donald Trump.

Asad-ur-Rehman, Global Media Director, MEA, Unilever
Asad-ur-Rehman, Global Media Director, MEA, Unilever

Zobairi spoke about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how it forms the basis of any Big Data initiative. He focused on how AI is the future of consumer experiences, but was of the opinion that no matter how advanced AI becomes, “the need for human intuition will always remain at the core of any development.”

Adnan Shahid of PTCL, amid a lot of friendly banter about PTCL’s services, spoke about how the company has grown thanks to data collection and understanding consumer needs in a better way.

After the first session concluded, the audience was broken into three separate groups; each group attended one of the following lectures: ‘What does digital tells us about Consumer Behaviour and Intent?’ by Rob Thurner, Lead Trainer, Google Digital Academy; ‘Five effective techniques to boost success with data-driven marketing campaigns’ by Michael Leander, CEO, GIDMA; and ‘Growth hacking for advertising effectiveness’ by Babar Bhatti, Head of Digital Intelligence, Shapiro+Raj, USA.


“Companies have to take digital seriously – because it is 2017. It is not an option anymore.”


Following the lectures, the audience again gathered in the main hall to attend the remaining sessions.

The second session focused on data-driven marketing; speakers included Babar Bhatti, who discussed how well-designed digital and data management strategies can transform businesses; and Imtiaz Noor, an independent digital marketing consultant, who talked about data-driven decision making for businesses, pitfalls to avoid when analysing and relying on data, and why digital must be treated “as a mindset and not just a platform.”

Rob Thurner, Lead Trainer, Google Digital Academy
Rob Thurner, Lead Trainer, Google Digital Academy

The last leg of the conference concentrated on data-driven business models; speakers included Rob Thurner who talked about targeting and retargeting content throughout the content consumption cycle and Omar Abedin, CEO, Starcom who stressed the importance of data analytics. Abedin’s take-home message was clear: “Companies have to take digital seriously – because it is 2017. It is not an option anymore.”

The panel discussion included Nadine Malik, MD, Jovago Asia; Imran Moinuddin, Founder & CEO, NexDegree; and Osama Qassim, CEO, QnE.

Overall, the conference was well-managed and well-attended, with professionals from the media, various digital agencies, FMCGs, ad agencies and software houses participating actively.

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