December 20, 2018

Digital marketing has become an indispensable part of this modern era. It is a vital part of marketing strategies all around the globe. As a nation, Bangladesh is not far behind compared to the world but there is still a lot of room for improvement. Such improvement can be achieved by fostering knowledge and learning from each other through profound discussions on intricate topics in the field of digital marketing.

Addressing such intricate topics was the 5th Digital Marketing Summit, an initiative of Bangladesh Brand Forum. The event, presented by Meghna Group of Industries and powered by Content Matters, in Association with The Daily Star, was held on 24th November, 2018 at Le Méridien Dhaka.

The theme of this year’s summit was ‘Delving Deep into Digital.’ The summit was followed by the second edition of Digital Marketing Award, where 78 digital works were awarded across 16 categories.

Digital Marketing Summit 2018 brought together leading and global industry professionals, decision-makers and leaders under one roof to discuss engaging topics on digital marketing. These topics were covered through 5 keynote sessions, 3 panel discussions, 2 breakout sessions, 2 insight sessions and a case study. Five keynote speakers from different parts of the world and a total of 22 local experts were brought in to explore various topics throughout the day-long event.


Mr. Kazi Mohiuddin, General Manager, Brands, Meghna Group of Industries expressed the importance of moving forward by inspiring our homegrown Bangladeshi talents to break their boundaries and move ahead.

As for delving into digital, he explained that it is vital to see how the digital world is transforming. To stay on track everything has to be embraced. To strive in this age, companies should continuously try to take technology in the forefront of whatever they do.

Shariful Islam, Founder and Managing Director, Bangladesh Brand Forum welcomed everyone to the ceremony. He stated that this was a special moment as Bangladesh Brand Forum tries to push the whole digital agenda through the fifth Digital Marketing Summit.

He pointed out that beyond the discussions, one of the things that should also be delved into is whether companies are communicating responsibly considering the effects of their engagement on mental health of their users.

He advised that all communicators and brand developers should think about how interactions and engagement in the digital space have an influence on the thoughts and expectations of their uses, and communicate responsibly.

Apart from this, Mr. Sharif clarified that the purpose of such events is to collectively change Bangladesh through the sessions by providing everyone with teachings that he/she can take home and apply in his/her own individual spaces.



Keeping the digital age in mind, Dr. Donald Patrick Lim, Country CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network, Philippines, explained that our business environment today is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. There is a massive shift across the mindsets of the world. He pointed out that companies cannot apply their old thinking to the new world.

He claimed that digital is not the internet alone but this is an age. In his experience, he learnt that everyone is not digital yet, but everyone wants to be. He brought light to the fact that digital is still not accepted because of the ‘great divide’ between digital immigrants and digital natives. Today, a lot of natives are going into the workforce trying to recommend digital initiatives; however, the immigrants, who hold the budget, are reluctant to spend on them. Because of this, both parties clash and nothing happens.

Dr. Lim then proceeded to talk about each phase of digital economy that has already passed. He explained that when one talks about digital, it is not about putting one’s business online but it is about the entire experience. “Again, it is necessary, as a company, to build on the testimonials of people who have worked with you, who have worked for you and who have used your product because consumers rely on others’ experiences and reviews to make decisions,” he said.


Dolly Jha, Executive Director, Nielsen India talked about key trends in media consumption, digital upswing in India and metrics that matter in digital measurement.

Addressing the changes in the digital age, she revealed that with multiple devices arriving at the consumers’ hands and variety of content, large numbers of consumers are sitting behind devices of various formats. She also revealed the changes in viewing options of consumers, the increased number of hours of consumption per day and then talked about the effect of such changes in traditional media.

Dolly brought to light the importance of measurement mechanism that captures all the different formats where viewing is happening. Measurement of reach and frequency are just the starting points. New comparable metrics along with clear benchmarks are available to be used all throughout any digital campaign. On top of this, she cited the benefits of the dynamic measuring system on measuring performance of campaigns.

At the end of her speech, Dolly gave pointers on what to do in this digital age. She explained that, firstly it is the task of agencies and advertisers to be bold and to push themselves to leverage the power of digital in an even more potent manner. Secondly, she emphasized that de-duplication should be kept in mind and mechanisms should be there to de-duplicate audiences on devices across various platforms. Thirdly, comparability should not be undermined. Fourthly, there should be focus on speed and granularity. The measurement system needs to be a dynamic one. Lastly, she pointed out that the good, bad and ugly should all be calculated in the context of benchmarks. Companies must work and make decisions around these benchmarks.


Yogesh Shroff started his keynote speech by revealing that the greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand an exponential function. He said that the power of exponential thinking can bring great success and the lack of it can cause the death of a company.

He acknowledged that E-commerce has great potential in Bangladesh but the main challenge here is that people are not used to it yet.

For brands who want to join the E-commerce, he suggested that they at first need to get their basics right before they get into advanced levels. Again, to succeed in E-commerce, Yogesh pinpointed that brands need to focus on three pillars: their team, their customer, and their consumer/shopper.

He brought light to the fact that there are times when E-commerce is not necessarily about making an online sale, it can also result in offline sales. Because of the ROPO (Research Online and Purchase Offline) method, offline sales are generated. He explained that a lot of people check for sustainability and source of the product and look at reviews and ratings before purchasing. If information is put on the internet properly then more sales can be generated.

Coming to the end of his speech Yogesh said that the sooner we drop the ‘E’ in E-commerce the better. E-commerce is not the role of one individual in the sales or marketing team, it is a cross-functional role, where HR, supply, finance and marketing play a joint role. He concluded by stating that we cannot become what we want, by remaining who we are. If we believe in E-commerce, we should change and the change has to begin now.


To address the growing needs of the world, content marketing has taken center stage in the advertising sector. On this topic, Rajan Srinivasan, Founder & CEO, Spiral Content Solutions (Scatter) provided great insights. Starting with his brief introduction, Rajan explained why he formed ‘Scatter’. Rajan went on to explain that throughout his speech he would elaborate the four big trends he had learnt in his four years in content marketing with Scatter.

With a bit of crystal ball gazing in his own words, he started off with the first trend. He explained that at the heart of content marketing there is storytelling, technology and strategy. For storytelling, he reminded that brands should not look at people as consumers rather they should be perceived as audiences. On the topic of technology, he mentioned that technology that goes beyond the usual things should be used. For strategy, he said that it was extremely important to craft strategies in a way that are properly documented, powerful and robust.

Rajan mentioned that the second trend is that content is inherently repetitive. Brands need to understand this repetitive nature and dive into the content. He emphasized that even if the content is the same, it is the uniform that brands wear which makes the entire change. Moving on to the third trend, he talked about the fast formation of content marketing teams and how they worked. He advised that to form a good content marketing team, a mix of the right tools and right education is required. The last trend he wanted to talk about was that content, like the universe, is expanding. He pointed out what one could do with content four years ago and what one can do with content now is very different. So it is important to stay updated with the world.

Rajan summarized by mentioning the several things content can potentially do apart from advertising. He also emphasized that, if brands wanted to cope with the growing trends of the world, they should keep in mind how crucial content marketing is.


To excel in marketing anything, one has to have a firm understanding of human psychology and how to control perceptions. Such an individual who has excelled in this is Oobah Butler, Director & Founder of The Number 1 Agency, UK. His actions are somewhere in between social experiments and pranks, but in the end these very actions show how feeble the human mind is.

Oobah narrated how he managed to fake his way to the top of Tripadvisor with his fictional restaurant ‘The Shed’ and even went to the extent of inviting actual people to his backyard to give them an experience of the restaurant. Despite everything, people still claimed that they were pleased with the outcome. After the experiment ended, Oobah learned that people trust more what they read in their minds than what they put in their mouths.

After the restaurant story, Oobah unfolded another one where he managed to take a knock-off brand ‘Georgio Peviani’, became the character of the brand name and successfully infiltrated Paris Fashion Week. After two to three days of talking about the brand, he had buyers and influencers from all over the world wanting his product. At the end of the story, Oobah mentioned that he found the real Georgio Peviani. He was a man named Adam Asmal. Oobah explained that Adam’s products were always good enough. It just needed to be framed in a different way to garner attention.

Lastly, Oobah talked about his third experiment. After two of his experiments went viral, he was called for interviews all across the world. He soon got tired of giving interviews and that is when he started another social experiment where he sent his look-a-likes to attend interviews as different versions of himself. He reasoned that on the internet, people have different versions of themselves on different websites. He wanted to bring that into the real world.

The point Oobah wanted to make here is that he looked at himself not as a person but as a brand. He optimized himself as people in business would do with a brand. All of this, worked as an inspiration for Oobah to make his own website called This site enabled regular people to order their look-a-likes to go do something on their behalf, just like Oobah did in his story. 

Lastly, he conveyed through his words that achievement through abstraction is possible. This could help brands a great deal if they wanted to succeed.



Data is now the demand of the digital age. It has become vital for companies to start using data to execute their strategies better. The companies which will not be able to adapt to this trend might not survive in the coming years. To talk about the role of data was the summit’s first panel discussion.

The discussants were Sanjid Hossain, General Manager, Digital Advertising, Digital Services, Robi Axiata Ltd.; Riyad Shahir Ahmed Husain, CEO and Managing Director, Magnito Digital; Lutfi Chowdhury, Regional Manager, South Asia, Eskimi; and Vishal Kamath, Director and Head-Digital Reach, South Asia, Nielsen. The moderator of the session was Ridwan Hafiz, People’s Champ, Analyzen.

Ridwan Hafiz began the discussion by talking about the changing age. He said that digital has been growing rapidly. Considering the data used five years ago and the data being used now it can be said that our country has come a long way. He then initiated a question and asked the panel to speculate whether as companies they are using data properly to craft effective digital strategies.

Sanjid Hossain observed that companies are learning day by day. The problem he wanted to point out is that companies did not use data points or consumer touch points while designing products or crafting strategies. He advised that when designing a product, companies should first and foremost address every touch point of consumers and craft consumer behavior in such a way that all of their needs get addressed.

Riyad Shahir addressed the existing problems in the process of crafting digital strategies. He explained that one of the major challenges is to change backdated mindsets in management teams in agencies that prevent the use of data properly to gather insights. Moreover, there are the problems of finding the right people and choosing the right tools for crafting strategic plans.

Talking from his experience in neighboring markets, Vishal Kamath informed the panel that clients are not using the right measurements. He further added that, clients are seen to largely rely on the data that they get from publishers. The accuracy of such data may not be very high. Clients should focus on evaluating whether the information provided is relevant for them before using it.

On the other hand, Lutfi Chowdhury explained that there is an increasing need of programmatic platforms. Companies should know that programmatic platforms could be used to reach the right people at the right time very efficiently. It is an essential element for the future.

The panel then debated about the usage of own platform versus the usage of third party platforms by using real life examples and further discussed on the future of digital strategy crafting for Bangladesh. At the end, Ridwan Hafiz summarized the panel’s concerns. He stated that data is a growing need and the country has to adapt to newer methods to strive in the race in the digital era. The role of data is critical and as a country we should utilize it as much as possible for a better and brighter future.


To discuss the differences and the effect of digital ad budget on revenue stream was the second panel discussion of the session. The panel was moderated by A. S. M. Rafiq Ullah, CEO, Content Matters Limited and Chairman, Standing Committee on Mobile VAS and Apps, BASIS. The panelists for this session were Aman Ashraf Faiz, Managing Director, GTV; Azim Hossain, Head of Digital Media, Pran-RFL Group; Risalat Siddique, Man of Steel, Analyzen and Mukit Ahmed, Head of Digital Marketing, Banglalink Digital Communications Limited.

Aman Ashraf Faiz stated that he wanted everyone in the industry to follow a new type of thinking. He observed how Disney generated revenue by treating their films not as products, but as promotion materials. The company then monetized their ideas in the form of merchandise, outfits and experiences that they earned revenue from. If more people thought of content this way, then more ideas could be monetized and extra revenue could be earned.

Mukit Ahmed disclosed that it is vital to focus on building relationships rather than just looking at advertisement as a selling proposition. Hard sales happen through focusing on building engagement, trust and relationships.

A. S. M. Rafiq Ullah, then took the discussion into the future of digital advertisement. In this context, Aman emphasized that there is a good chance for the future to be radical. He discussed that it could be so radical that client retainer fee would replace agent retainer fee. On the other hand, Azim explained that for the future of content to be great it needs to be crafted properly, keeping the audiences’ taste and preference in mind. Risalat agreed with Azim and added that a situation should be created where viewers would watch content with interest instead of annoyance.

Later on, the panel discussed about the importance of choosing the right platform, managing the ecosystem with the help of 3C’s (catch, connect and close), measuring worth of charges of digital platforms and the role of psychographic interaction with consumers in all sectors of marketing.


Consumer behavior has gone through massive transformation in an incredibly short period of time. Entering the age of digital, the digital space has brought us the digital consumer. On the other hand, dramatic changes of this age has led to the emergence of new responsibilities for organizations across different platforms. The third panel discussion of the summit engaged in these two intriguing topics.

The panel was moderated by Shahriar Amin, Former Head of Marketing, Phillip Moris Bangladesh. Discussants for this session were Mohammad Muntasir Hossain, Head of Digital Product Innovation (Deputy Director), Grameenphone Limited; Drabir Alam, Director, X and Ashraf Bin Taj, President, Marketing Society of Bangladesh.

Shahriar Amin began by familiarizing the panelists with the two given topics. To him digital is ever-evolving. It is changing at a great pace that is very difficult to cope up with. Today’s best standards become yesterday’s obsolete qualities. So there should be proper plans to adapt and survive.

Talking from his experience, Drabir Alam pointed out that, to survive throughout the changing times, one can never get comfortable or complacent. One has to figure out new answers to the same problem because the solution one has today will most likely become obsolete tomorrow. The world is uncertain and it is better to stay in confusion rather than comfort.

Muntasir Hossain articulated that for proper user immersion, firstly a company should actively reach out to the customers, observe their daily lifestyles and then come up with pain points or opportunity areas where they can add value from a digital point of view. Another area brands should actively keep an eye on is the big trends in the global and neighboring markets.

Ashraf Bin Taj enlightened the conversation by bringing up the great divide between digital immigrants and digital natives. He explained that in organizations, if the digital natives are not given leadership positions or a fair chance in the decision-making processes, then progress will not come.

The whole panel then discussed on vital topics like customer centricity in decision-making, brand responsibility addressing mental health of consumers, morality and ethics of brands and the future of jobs in the presence of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.

In the end, the panel concluded that with great power comes great responsibility. Everyone agreed that every organization should act responsibly, in their own way to ensure benefits for both the employees and the shareholders.



Shihab Ahmed, Chief Digital Services Officer, Robi Axiata Limited Ahmed began by stating that data is all around in different platforms but the biggest challenge brands are facing now is categorizing consumer data. He disclosed that there are three things companies should generally look at. These are: identifying the right people, identifying right data and using this data properly.

To explain how consumer data can be utilized, Shihab cited that firstly brands should have the ability to know about the customer. For this, they need research. After collection of data, brands need to use statistical tools and data science for proper analysis. Based on results, they should try their best to improve effectiveness.

The fundamental of consumer data is that it has to be used as much as possible. For a brand to understand their consumer, they have to analyze and use such data on a continuous basis. The more they do it, the more efficient they become.

At the end, Shihab concluded his speech by saying that to make campaigns more effective, brands will need the right people, right data and right time. He ensured that every dollar that is spent for digital marketing would be worth it if consumer data is used properly.


Ayman Sadiq, Founder and CEO, 10 Minute School explained that for social media marketing, to garner organic reach, brands should focus on gathering user generated content and multiplication of their own content.

On the topic of user generated content, he emphasized that engagement is key. To engage successfully, brands need to collaborate and co-create with their users.

Then tackling the topic of content multiplication, Ayman articulated how he would use his entire speech to explain the content multiplier formula. He started off by stating his speech would be recorded as a video. After recording was over, the visual from the video would be scrapped to produce an audio for podcasting purposes. Again, the same video would be transcribed to be turned into a status and with further editing, a blog. Gathering thirty to sixty such blogs, the collection can be turned into a book. Again after publication of the book, any sentence can be taken out of it and be posted as quotes. Through this process, Ayman showed how one content could be multiplied to several more.

Delving a little deeper into the topic, Ayman instructed on how to make all of this effective by sharing hacks. He informed that brands need to focus on three things: content, uploading and distribution. Talking about content, he admitted that there are different modalities. The video created should be uploaded in different formats in different social media platforms to utilize its full potential. On the topic of uploading, Ayman emphasized the advantages of usage of emoji and hashtags when uploading to make any content seem that it is trending. Lastly, addressing distribution, he said content should be distributed properly catering to the different needs of each social media platform at the right time to get the highest reach.

At the end of the day, Ayman explained that it is important to find the advantages on each platform and optimize them. If brands engage and take the multiplier steps into consideration, they can sustain a better reach on each social media platform.



Most markets across the world are unaware of the existence of programmatic tools. This is because of the lack of knowledge regarding such tools. Lack of knowledge fosters myths. To address such myths in the form of a case study was Agne Svetnickaite, Business Development Manager, Asia, Eskmi. Agne started her case presentation by stating that she would be talking about the five most common misconceptions regarding programmatic tools.

She stated that the first of the errors was the perception that all media-buying tools are programmatic. Like media-buying tools, programmatic tools are also free from human interactions. That is why, all media-buying tools are thought to be programmatic but in reality, programmatic tools are largely different.

The second myth she talked about was that data and media come together. The reality is that in the programmatic media-buying, there are two players: one being demand-side platform (DSP) and the other being data management platform (DMP). These two work separately rather than being integrated.

Another big misconception Agne addressed was that programmatic tools are for performance campaigns only. She explained that people in such markets, where the misconception exists, do not have enough knowledge about using performance tracking tools in the first place. To solve this, there should be mass education to raise awareness.

She described one more big myth that exists in quite a few markets. This myth is that programmatic tools are niche. People there believe that programmatic tools have to be used only then when other tools are not working well. In reality, programmatic tools can be used for much more.

The last misconception she wanted to address is that the usage of programmatic tools is expensive. This originates when programmatic tools are compared with usual mass marketing tools that are different. To get rid of this, people should be made cautious that both are different in their own way and cannot be compared.

To summarize, Agne said that no one can ever understand the concept of programmatic without trying it. She emphasized that to move to a future where programmatic is more used and well understood, the only way is to start trying programmatic more.



Conducted by Shadab Mahbub, CEO of ChatLeads, the session titled ‘Chatbots for the Customer-Centric Brand’ shed lights on how people want instant gratification and feel more comfortable interacting live. Shadab explained that by 2020, a customer will manage 85% of the relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human.

The session discussed that people respond more to personalized communication which creates more meaningful customer experience. Marketing team usually faces the problems of investing human resource, risking dissatisfying customer with delayed responses and missing out on conversion of bad customer experience. The benefits of using a Chatbot includes optimization of digital channel from conversion to conversion, time efficiency and more free resources. The primary quality of a Chatbot is ‘Natural Language Understanding’. In local context the challenge lies in understanding ‘Hybrid Language’. For example –  Using Bangla and English in the same sentence. Another crucial barrier of Chatbots is unstructured data which leads to them not performing up to their potential and slow learning. In order to create an effective Chatbot, the must haves are – Identifying FAQs, Design Customer Experience and Beta testing with deep learning. The session showed a real time example of how ChatLeads manages and keeps tab on data for their clients.


The second breakout session on “CONTENTS” OF the Marketing FOR the Marketing BY the Marketing was presented by Content Matters and was conducted by Tanveer Faruq, PhD in Digital Marketing, & Adjunct Faculty of Independent University, Bangladesh, and Aman Ashraf Faiz, Managing Director of GTV, Director of Content Matters Limited & Chief Consultant of Starcom Bangladesh.

The session gave the instances showing how every individual is a medium of content. The session discussed about the six stages of promoting content – Planning, Designing, Integrating, Promoting, Engaging and Measuring. Also, a Digital Engagement Framework was displayed which centered around Engagement and Reach. According to the Framework, reach includes reaching out to new audience and engagement works with existing audience using channels and delving into the market. While doing all these, the organization’s objectives and vision should always be kept in mind.


Digital Marketing Award is the only accolade for digital works in Bangladesh. An initiative of Bangladesh Brand Forum, the award started its journey in 2017. The second edition of Digital Marketing Award honored 78 digital campaigns through a grand award gala, following the summit.

Around 500 digital marketing enthusiasts attended the award gala. The awards were given across 16 categories, in three ranks – Grand Prix, Gold and Silver.

This year, a total of 456 nominations were submitted for the award. Four jury panels shortlisted 202 works and another four jury panels selected the ultimate 78 winners. There were 16 Grand Prix awards, 39 Gold awards, and 23 Silver awards.

Grand Prix for the Best Integrated Digital Campaign was won by Analyzen & Mindshare for their campaign Lux Super Star 2018. This campaign also won two more golds in separate categories.

The highest number of awards, 4 gold, for a single campaign were won by X, for their campaign Robi Bijoy Itihash. Furthermore, Coca-Cola Nikhoj Shobder Khoje by Grey Advertising Bangladesh won three gold awards, second highest for a single campaign, along with Lux Super Star 2018.

The highest number of awards by a single agency were won by Analyzen. They won 15 award individually and 3 more awards jointly with Mindshare.


Digital Marketing Summit & Award 2018 was presented by Meghna Group of Industries and powered by Content Matters; in association with – The Daily Star; supported by – Eskimi; Strategic Partner – Bangladesh Creative Forum and Association for Information System, North South University; Knowledge Partner – MSB; Event Partner – Le Méridien, Dhaka; TV Partner – GTV; PR Partner – Backpage PR; Radio Partner- Radio Today.

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