The Digital Expert : Phenomenon

Not a day goes by that I don’t come across a Sr. Manager – Digital, Director of UI/UX & Digital, Lead Digital Strategist or some form of Digital Marketing Guru in Pakistan. Not a day goes by that I am surprised by the caliber of people who hire these self-professed gurus.

An industry as nascent as Digital Marketing globally, let alone Pakistan I am more confused than amused on a daily basis. The motivation for this blog post came from a posting I saw via Twitter: (Pasted verbatim, I cant make up this stuff even if I tried )

Required: Digital Marketing Wizard Guru & Expert

 Leading local group needs to hire an expert at making

  • Viral Videos
  • Increasing SEO/SEM
  • Reducing marketing fees paid to agencies on “google buying, facebook buying” other skype and local sites also good.
  • Experience from Agency is good
  • Max 3-5 Yrs experience

 Note: Initially you will be given a short term contract that can be extended into permanent position subject to your performance.


Where do I start. You want to hire a Guru and Expert but you want to do a short term contract:).  I mean do you go to any other expert in any other field and say hey I want an expert anesthesiologist but I want to incrementally build up the relationship by trying out the services. I want to faint , but just a little bit at a time, not all the way. Clearly you are hallucinating if you expect that.

What needs to happen is following the same instinct we follow for selecting a medical professional i.e references, the hospital of affiliation, where the person graduated from, what their track record is, do they pass an interview/screening process. So to all the hiring managers, please do our nation a service and stop screwing up on your hiring strategies, we know you don’t have an ounce of tactical and subject matter expertise in the pure play recruitment space. Just because you suck at recruitment and copy JDs from all over the internet and compress them, doesn’t mean that the potential candidates should suffer because of your compressed world view.

Now to the meatier parts of this JD, I want to hand a Darwin award to the genius who came up with wanting to hire an Expert but wants them to have no more than 3-5 yrs of proficiency at the task. This is so bad that I don’t even have an analogy to equate this to. It’s a crisis of intelligence both for companies who recruit like this and the hallucinating candidates who think that a 3-5 yr stint qualifies them for being an expert.

Who am I to judge? Ive only built one of the the largest Pay for Performance, Digital Media and Customer Acquisition teams in this part of the world. This piece is not about justifying my rant or my professional lineage, but I had to give some perspective, on why; I can qualify these JDs as a Joke at best and why every morning I scour the web for these nuggets.

My favorite piece is still to come, “Googe/Facebook Buying” wow, I said, it. Its like a crack addict admitting to the world they need some more of the good stuff. The reason why we are stuck in the “Mad Men” era of media and haven graduated to the digital school of thought in Pakistan is due to the fact that most of us don’t know any better. A 90 second synopsis is as follows, most of the traditional advertising agencies, came of age and decided, hey we need to do digital, they added some nice .Coms and .Nets and did some Facebook campaigns bought a few LinkedIn spots and placed an Ad or two via a banner exchange. Also had a cousin who had a friend who had a credit card and they bought a few Google Adwords, Wow just like that they become (pick one or many) “largest, biggest, media house, company, digital buying house “ in Pakistan. By their own admission, they probably are. They are the “biggest”, I just don’t know what yet. This led them to having their clients believe that they have some special “arrangement” with Facebook or Google to procure cheaper inventory of ads. Just like they did in traditional media, where bulk discounts were more applicable. Poor clients, fall for this every day of the week. I really do mean poor as no amount of money spent here has the ability to drive meaningful returns ever, so the client will be all the poorer for it in the vast majority of instances.

Not a day goes by that I have to resist the temptation in correcting either the candidates I happen to interview or otherwise prominent CEOs of local companies who cant stop talking about how they know how to get a deal on FB/Google Buying.

Next we come to viral videos, I literally have nothing to say there. People who either think they are viral video producers or experts in that space are most certainly not looking for placement ads online. Neither are they reading this blog, they are gifted and a rare breed who do not need to be applying for jobs or have the time to read opinion pieces. They drive those opinions by the work they do.

A quick look at the clients or agencies hiring these digital experts or one/2 person agencies, they only know Facebook, they only know likes. But they haven’t a clue on ROI , Consumer Engagement or Brand building. A cursory analysis tells me that of the vast majority of FB likes driven by such outfits & individuals in PK are store bought, meaning charging’s ones credit card online and buying likes for between 15-1500$ depending on the size, geography and type of fake likes you want to buy.

Its no surprise that the vast majority of enterprising folks I meet these days are in the category of self professed digital gurus, because the market is ripe for the taking. The end customer has no to little idea on what to expect and they are being swindled for the most part. Money spent with these agencies or with such freelancers or others is better burnt, because the ashes have a larger likelihood of being able to turn to compost and nurturing the growth of some thing from the ground. Sadly the same cant be said about their strategies.

The question to ask your self is, when you go to NYC, what does the T-Shirt say? The T-shit that every one ends up buying. Let me refresh your memory, It says “I ♥ NYC” it doesn’t Say “I Like NYC” so don’t go with the guy who guarantees you the likes on Facebook, because there is a huge difference between people Loving a brand and Liking it.

2 thoughts on “The Digital Expert : Phenomenon”

  1. Yet another eye opening read for the so called tech gurus.

    I recently had the opportunity of sitting down with one and discussing the ‘ in topic ‘ of Technology marketing, their information and ability was limited to “Facebook Marketing” . Although the person used big words like brand engagement and brand identity but every time the conversation simmered down to “likes”… People usually get inspired by facebook likes just like collecting bottle caps and really dont know what to do with them. Leaving out the core of keeping the customers engaged. Just as you said I heart NYC not I like NYC.

    Cheers and keep writing

  2. Great blog Faizan.
    Agree 100% that the JD is a joke.
    Given that I am not in Pakistan at the moment I wonder how mature the retail space is to truly have customer engagement thru digital marketing. Having Facebook ads or posts is not truly engagement.
    With the adoption of 3G wireless spectrum there will probably be an uptick in digital marketing for the mobile platform and there I believe lies a true opportunity to bring in customer engagement.

    Do share such JD’s with me, given the years of experience I am sure I can be considered an expert in a few fields 🙂

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