By Aya Kabarra
Aya comes to Snipp with more than 10 years of experience in advertising, social media and communications. In May 2012, Aya joined Snipp as Managing Director for the Middle East after Snipp's strategic partnership with Digitus Marketing, a marketing agency that Aya co-founded.
Lessons for Entrepreneurs
I’d like to share some of the most important lessons I’ve learned along my career as an entrepreneur and a digital marketing specialist.
Building a start-up teaches you a lot. From patience, to making real decisions, taking risks, and focusing on building products that people love and use.
In the past few years, there are a few lessons I’ve learned
- Solve a Real Problem
The most important thing for a tech startup is to truly solve a real problem. Very early on, with the explosion of mobile marketing it was clear that Brands were having a hard time connecting their offline advertising to mobile. This problem was the springboard for Snipp MENA to build Snipp Khayal, an Augmented Reality App. Embarking on such an innovative solution put us on the map. We were among the first in the region to introduce such a concept and brands immediately saw value in such interactive advertising. Our bold innovation led us to being picked up by Forbes that year and were featured in one of their stories.
- Take the risk and Start
Thinking back, I don’t think I would be where I am, if I hadn’t taken the first step over 10 years ago. I was in a comfortable position in an Advertising Agency but always felt something was missing. I knew I had more to give and took the decision to quit my job, and co-found Digitus Marketing. At first, I didn’t know much but strived to learn and keep pushing. I always knew that the road will become clearer as we moved forward; sure enough, it did!
- Networking Never Stops
Keep broadening your network and constantly keep up with new technologies, you don’t know where opportunities present themselves. Networking helps you build the right team who believe in one vision. When a client’s need arose to develop a program that we did not do in-house, outsourcing was the solution. I expanded my network and researched companies who had the perfect solution to the new client’s brief. This opportunity was the start of many discussions with Snipp who made the decision to partner with Digitus to spread head client relations and continues to support with solutions specific to the MENA region.
- Have a Vision
You can never learn enough, especially in the tech world. The market is fast and moving rapidly so you need to be a visionary and master the technology available. We wanted to solve a big problem that we care about. We decided to keep that vision in mind, keep the drive to make it happen and never stop finding ways to make it happen. Snipp then acquired Hip Digital and seamlessly plugged in their rewards platform to Snipp’s existing one. With this acquisition we inched away to our true purpose of solving the advertising problem and giving brands the power to customize promotions tied to purchase and retain customers. We were just 6 people when I started with Snipp and now over a 100 employees. Brands now care about our vision as much as we do.
- Keep up the drive
Keep investors interested, keep the press talking about you, keep customers engaged with you. Investors stayed interested in us when they discovered the true potential of our offering. The global advertising market today is hovering around $800 Billion for the past few years and is destined for organic growth. So far, we’ve managed to capture advertisers with a total spend of $80 Billion and we are thriving on penetrating the burgeoning promo-marketing segment. We have managed to deploy a platform that is increasingly becoming relevant and will certainly capture a majority of the remaining market. With each campaign, we issue press released to keep the press interested and customers engaged.
Manage your time wisely
We all have 24 hours a day, it’s not a matter of time, it’s a matter of lack of direction. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Learn to delegate and effectively communicate to others what needs to be done. If you don’t do it in-house, outsources it. In our early days, investing in local talent freelancers was necessary. That saved time and kept the focus on the bigger picture.