The Future Of GEEKY Social

The Future Of GEEKY Social

Q & A With Muhammad Saimum Hossain, Co-founder, GEEKY Social

Digital is the way to go. Globally, digital platforms and technologies have taken over our lives. We spend a significant portion of our days on digital platforms such as Facebook and Google.

In Bangladesh, an ever-increasing number of people are joining the grid, 68 million people now have access to the internet and a staggering 117 million people use mobile phones. In the coming years, the number is only going to go up.

We have slowly started to realize this massive shift in the use of technology in how and where brands and companies spend their advertising budget. A growing number of companies are now allocating budget to digital marketing. According to some sources, the market size for digital marketing is close to TK 1 billion in Bangladesh, a significant amount of this money goes to Google and Facebook.

This new trend has given way to a new generation of marketing and advertising companies: digital marketing agencies. Over the last couple of years, the industry, digital marketing, has seen a no less than phenomenal growth.

The budget for digital marketing has grown manifold and at the same time, the number of digital marketing companies has also grown in numbers and scales making it one of the most competitive nascent industries. Moreover, an increasing number of incumbents advertising agencies is also getting into the industry.

GEEKY Social is one of the leading digital marketing agencies in Bangladesh that has been growing consistently over the past years. The Dhaka-based agency has big ambition going forward.

We recently spoke to Muhammad Saimum Hossain, Co-founder of the company, about the current state of GEEKY Social, how much it has evolved over the past years, what are the challenges now, digital marketing industry in Bangladesh and GEEKY’s plan for the future. Saimum is an interesting person: an entrepreneur, a teacher at the country’s most prestigious university, the University of Dhaka, and a relentless and passionate maker. We believe you will enjoy the read.

Future Startup

How much has GEEKY Social evolved over the past years?

Muhammad Saimum Hossain

Over the past years, we have changed significantly. In 2016 alone, we grew 3 times in terms of revenue. Our client size grew significantly and team doubled. We are now a team of 12 full-time people.

We have always been process-oriented but now we have taken it to a different level. This has been the biggest challenge for us for a long time but we have developed systems and processes that, we believe, will give us an edge in the coming years.

Our brand awareness in the market has also grown manifold and we have been able to create pull demand for our work in the market which was not the case even in early 2016.

Our brand positioning has also evolved materially. While we started with serving small businesses but from 2015 we started to pay attention to big brands as well and now we work with a couple of big companies across industries like food & beverage, appliances, software/IT etc

In 2017, our target is to build our capability in this area in such a manner that we can serve more big brands. We are already well-equipped to serving big brands but we know we have to grow further in order to better serve our clients.

As far as the smaller e/f-commerce brands and SMEs are concerned, we have also launched our separate brand, “Montro”, in order to serve small business more efficiently. While the mother brand GEEKY Social would exclusively work with big brands, Montro aims to empower small brands and SMEs. We are also doing small scale content marketing for our clients.

Our monthly revenue has also grown significantly and now at close to a million BDT.

Future Startup

What are the services you offering now?

Muhammad Saimum Hossain

To be exact, we are offering five services at this moment:

  • Design support
  • Social media management
  • Display ad though google and local ad networks
  • Content marketing
  • Digital products i.e. websites, apps, games

Future Startup

The challenges you faced were different in nature during the early days, but now that you are growing the challenges must be different.

Muhammad Saimum Hossain

One of the challenges is, of course, related to management which is establishing new processes, structures, and systems. You can’t have a process just by saying that we are going to follow this process from today. It takes time and effort.

You have to introduce it, follow-up on it, and make adjustments based on practical applications. These are big undertakings. That’s one of the challenges but we are happy that we took it.

Managing growth is always a challenge which is directly linked to processes and systems in your company. If you have strong processes in place, managing growth should not be a problem at all. That said, as I mentioned earlier, building process and systems in a company is a huge undertaking. We have been able to build some systems at GEEKY but we have a long way to go.

Future Startup

How do your sales funnel work starting from prospecting to closing?

Muhammad Saimum Hossain

It takes at least two to three meetings to onboard a client. We receive a lot of queries nowadays which was not the case in the initial days. On top of that, we do a lot of prospecting ourselves.

It always starts with a handshake meeting with the potential client, then we talk to our Strategy and Design team and design a pitch and have a pitch meeting with the prospect.

Usually, we close the deal after the pitch meeting. But there are brands who usually don’t want to take any service. It does not matter how many meetings you take; they would not come on board and instead would take your ideas and implement those in-house.

Future Startup

You help other brands to reach out to their customers but how does your marketing work? How do you reach out to your customers?

Muhammad Saimum Hossain

In the initial phase of the business, we were so focused on getting the processes and systems in place that we didn’t get much opportunity to invest resources into this space. However, since we’re past that stage now, we have solid plans in 2017.

B2B marketing is a tricky job. We have been studying the process ourselves for awhile and now have a much clearer idea about what we want to do. I don’t want to disclose the plan yet but you will see a lot of activities from us as part of GEEKY brand building effort.

We simply lack an innovation culture as a nation. We don’t value R&D, most companies don’t allocate much in R&D because it is risky and many deem it as unnecessary.You have to remember Innovation is a long-term game, it takes time and you have to go through trial and errors in order to innovate which is often a costly and risky business that we don’t appreciate or not interested in.

Future Startup

Digital marketing, particularly Facebook-driven ones, has become quite a competitive industry in Bangladesh in the recent years. What do you think about competition?

Muhammad Saimum Hossain

I think a lot of consolidation will happen in the industry. To my knowledge, many companies are already shutting their businesses and many others are consolidating. This is, to some extent, a sign of market getting matured.

That said, we don’t think much about competition at GEEKY and I think you don’t need to either as long as you are doing your best work.

It does not mean that we are not serious or understand the implication of competition in the market. Competition does always affect your business, no matter who you are. Our strategy is and will always be to stay ahead of the market, continuously innovate and ensure the best possible services for our clients.

In every business, there are some hygiene factors that you must have in order to have the qualification to compete in the market. Then there are factors that push you ahead of everyone, once it was “video production capabilities” but now video is just another hygiene factor. As I just said, our aim is to always stay ahead of the market and offer the best services possible.

Future Startup

There is an overall lack of innovation in the digital marketing space. Digital marketing has become synonymous to Facebook boosting and all and people have already started to complain. What is your take on this?

Muhammad Saimum Hossain

I completely agree with you, but I think the problem is much deeper. Agencies do have to take responsibility here but clients and end users have also contributed to this development.

That said, I also want to add that digital media is a comparatively young industry, we are scratching the surface yet, but there are industries that are quite old and mature but I don’t see a lot of innovation in those industries either, why is that?

Yes, digital marketing space is not doing anything that is different or innovative but I think that is normal given the culture we have.

We simply lack an innovation culture as a nation. We don’t value R&D, most companies don’t allocate much in R&D because it is risky and many deem it as unnecessary.

You have to remember Innovation is a long-term game, it takes time and you have to go through trial and errors in order to innovate which is often a costly and risky business that we don’t appreciate or not interested in.

Our goal is to get into the South Asian market in the future but we are not sure about by when we would be able to get there. There is a huge difference between how digital marketing is done in Bangladesh and other countries. We are continuously learning. Bottom line is, we are ambitious and our plan is simple: innovate, work harder and out-execute your competition.

Future Startup

What are your plans for GEEKY Social going forward?

Muhammad Saimum Hossain

We want to continue providing the best possible services to our customers and at the same time, also invest in growing our mindshare in the market.

Bangladesh is an interesting place, it is incredibly hard to come by many people doing great work, so when you do average work, it gets a lot of credit.

Our goal is to get into the South Asian market in the future but we are not sure about by when we would be able to get there.

There is a huge difference between how digital marketing is done in Bangladesh and other countries. We are continuously learning. Bottom line is, we are ambitious and our plan is simple: innovate, work harder and out-execute your competition

Interview by Ruhul Kader, Nezam Uddin contributed to this interview

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