November 7, 2017

In a conversation with Dan Clarke, CEO and Founder of disruptient

Dan Clarke is a well-known thought leader in the digital marketing space. His experiences range from SEO, SEM, social media, and online marketing web development to client side work. He has numerous international experiences of working with world’s largest brands including Groupon, HSBC, Nissan, Adidas and Zalora. He has worked in different geographical locations, including Europe, Middle East, and South-East Asia. Being a Google Adwords Certified Professional, Dan Clarke is now running his personal consultancy firm placed in Singapore where he gets clients from APAC and MENA. Dan was one of the keynote speakers in the 4th Digital Marketing Summit.

In an interview with Bangladesh Brand Forum (BBF), Dan shared his views and experiences on how identifying the right digital platform can help to dominate choices that customers make.

BBF: How does it feel visiting Bangladesh?

Dan Clarke: After attending a conference as a speaker in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday night, since I was asked by the Malaysian Government, I left Malaysia at 3 AM on Friday morning and I got back to Singapore at 7 AM. Then I left and went back to the airport at 7 PM, flew to Kuala Lumpur as my connecting flight to Bangladesh. I arrived Bangladesh at about 1 AM and then, it took me about 90 minutes from immigration, so yeah, I have been very tired which is entirely my fault. So, I haven’t been able to see Bangladesh, yet. But I had enough sleep and caffeine before my talk, so I am pretty thrilled about today. Looking forward to the award show, it is an extremely interesting concept. Can’t wait to see the people on board and the stuff they do, so very excited.

BBF: We have become very dependent on everything digital. Being a specialist, how dependent do you think we are on digital space for authentic and valid researches or statistics?

Dan Clarke: I can’t really think back to a time when we didn’t have the internet to immediately find out about our queries. Let’s say, we are in an argument with a friend or want to look up for something, we immediately utilize the digital space. Whereas previously, we had to wait for hours till we got home or sometimes days to find out about our curiosities.

I read in a study a few days back, being separated from a phone feels like a mother being away from her child. It also changes the way humans think, we don’t bother remembering statistics or any information. So, I think it’s a problem if we highly rely on that. When I used to live in Dubai before and there the government used to do everything on the mobile phone. You really need to have a smart phone to live in Dubai. Even in Singapore the government is trying new things on the digital space. So, yes, I think it is dependent more on the connection of internet how would we get past our days.

BBF: We get everything we want on social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on; do you think that people would still feel the necessity of having an up-to-date active website?

Dan Clarke: Yes, I think it is important to reach out to more people through social media, but having your own website is fundamental and permanent. You use social channels now because that’s where people are, but having a website is important because that is where people go to find you openings, addresses or check your records. I think it is important. Secondly, as we are living in a tech bubble, we tend to think everyone has Facebook but that’s not the case. There are many people who are not on Facebook, so you need to have a website for them. But finally if you don’t have one, someone will take your dotcom. It’s not very expensive these days, so you can get your website for cheap prices.

Well, it is important to use social media as well. I have known banks who just do not want to have social channels, but then you become less accessible. Secondly, there are things like customer feedback. People expect you to constantly communicate with their customers. So, social media facilitates that and should be there.

BBF: We have contents on social media and on websites, do you feel that there should be a difference in the content that are portrayed on both the platforms?

Dan Clarke: Content on the website should be the evergreen stuff, what we do, how we developed, our past projects, map to our office and so on. Social media can be more topical, reacting or engaging an extra level. I think the content is separate since the audiences are separate and what you are looking for in each site is different.


BBF: Based on their geographical location of different consumers, should the tone of the content vary?

Dan Clarke: Definitely. Each society has their own views, beliefs, priorities and varying level of acceptance. Australia is currently going on a rogue for same sex marriage. So, that content wouldn’t work in Saudi Arabia or Iran. On the other hand, Ramadan offers wouldn’t work or attract individuals in USA. So, I think varying content is important to allow people to connect and make them feel important.

BBF: People are in a constant fear that some businesses will shut down because of e- commerce, being a specialist could you tell us about possibilities of anything like that happening?

Dan Clarke: No, not at least in my lifetime. Look at Amazon, it is one of the biggest e-commerce platforms. Amazon now is trying to open physical stores. So, if you look at Singapore, Amazon has been trying to enter the market, but the people aren’t ready for it. The Arab side has huge malls. They still don’t find e-commerce unreliable like writing a blank cheque.

I don’t think they can kill the malls and shops. A hybrid sounds more likely. But people willingly opt in for shops in both high end and simple purchases. You don’t want to put up with the trouble of all your credit card details being mentioned so you just go to a shop and get what you need. Similarly, for high end purchases, you need to inspect first hand, that’s how we grew up and you cannot give up on that.

BBF: You mentioned that content is king, we as South Asians do not have the most developed content industry what would your advice be for us?

Dan Clarke: Take something from a different platform and make it local, make it accessible to the domestic individuals first, built your websites in Bangla and provide them with all the digital services. Almost everyone feels relevant and starts engaging. Stop thinking about English first, make things Bangla first and the internet space will be massive in a few years.


Interviewed by Afraim Karim

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