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Demystifying Digital: An Interview With Shahriar Amin, Marketing Trainer, and Management Consultant

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Mar 30, 2018
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We are living in a time of great transformation. Digital technologies have changed the fabric of our lives at its core. From our personal life to how we communicate to how we consume entertainment, our lifestyle has been going through a relentless pace of changes. Time has particularly become fast paced. Things don’t take much longer to become obsolete. Today’s hot trends go out of fashion in a week. Digitization has been bringing profound changes to our businesses – how we deliver service, reach out to our customers and everything in between. (1)

The Bangladesh market is no different. Over the past several years, from almost oblivion, digital has gained significant prominence and become a mainstream phenomenon. An increasing number of brands are now investing in digital platforms ranging from Facebook, local ad networks to YouTube to other platforms. New digital businesses are taking over many industries. We already have come to realize that digital business can upend old way of doing things.

The central difference between digital and conventional media is in the mindset. The internet represents an abundance mentality and freedom whereas traditional media is about scarcity. This is the central reality of this new world that changes many rules. The way people consume entertainment and news to services has fundamentally changed. (2)

This calls for a deeper understanding of the medium not only to do well in digital but also to succeed in the conventional medium. Because the consumption habit of digital does influence the expectation from and consumption habit of traditional mediums.

In this intellectually satisfying interview, Future Startup’s Ruhul Kader sits down with Shahriar Amin, prominent Marketing Trainer and Management Consultant, to pick his brain about the digital transformation, fundamentals of digital, digital marketing and why digital is not only about marketing and much more than that, future of marketing and business in an increasingly digital world and his take on major digital trends in the context of Bangladesh and how brands can take advantage of this new world and his tips for marketers and business on how to embrace digital and thrive in this new world.

Mr. Amin is a brand marketing veteran and is considered as one of the leading marketing trainer and management consultants in Bangladesh. He started his brand marketing career at Grameenphone 14 years ago, where he served as Head of Brand among other roles before joining Bangladesh office of one of the largest Fortune 500 consumer goods companies in the world. He has worked internationally as a brand marketer for 3 years.

Mr. Amin takes a deep interest in psychology, human-computer interaction, philosophy, and digital and is currently working on his first book titled “Human and Consumer Insight” which he plans to publish this year. Outside of work, he has been providing corporate training for more than 11 years and blogging on marketing in his personal site since 2008. You may check his upcoming training programs with Bdjobs Training here. 

Future Startup

First off, please tell us about yourself.

Shahriar Amin

I've been working in the field of brand marketing for 14 and a half years; out of which 3 years I worked internationally in Hong Kong from 2013 to 2016. I started my career in Grameenphone and was one of the very first employees in their brand department. I graduated with a BBA and MBA, majoring in Marketing, from IBA. And before that, I was schooled at St. Joseph's and went to college at Notre Dame.

My interest started in brand marketing before being shifted to the interaction between marketing and other areas like psychology, human-computer interaction, philosophy, digital etc. I am currently writing a book on one area of marketing which I think is probably the most misunderstood among different principles of marketing: “Human and Consumer Insight”. The book should come out this year.

Outside of work, I have been providing corporate training for more than 11 years and blogging on marketing in my personal site since 2008.

When we start talking about digital marketing, we have already skipped a step instead of starting from the core. It’s a bit like saying “I want to create a TVC for my business” as a starting point, instead of saying 'I want to promote my business' which is the right starting point and doing a TVC or something else will come later as a natural consequence, if at all. 'Digital' is your starting point and is the key concept here - digital marketing falls under its vast umbrella and is just one part of it.

Future Startup

Since our topic for today is digital marketing on which you have a training program with Bdjobs Training, let us begin with the basic understanding of digital marketing, what is digital marketing?

Shahriar Amin

When we start talking about digital marketing, we have already skipped a step instead of starting from the core. It’s a bit like saying “I want to create a TVC for my business” as a starting point, instead of saying 'I want to promote my business' which is the right starting point and doing a TVC or something else will come later as a natural consequence, if at all.

'Digital' is your starting point and is the key concept here - digital marketing falls under its vast umbrella and is just one part of it.

So let's step back a little. What do we mean by 'digital'? First and foremost, I'll tell you about the common misconception that we have about 'digital', which is at the core of why digital is not taking off in Bangladesh. Firstly, we think digital is just a way of marketing; secondly, we think it's a media platform like TV; and thirdly, we think it's predominantly social media. With these three misconceptions, we have strayed far away from the true concept of digital.

These are some of the problems which have come to light and it is pulling Bangladesh away from its true capability of harnessing the power of 'digital'.

Digital first and foremost is a new way of creating value and doing business. Put it simply, digital’s biggest potential is it can give birth to a completely new business model. Obviously, it can apply more directly to technology sector where a completely new kind of business is being born every day. But it can also impact other categories such as entertainment. These days streaming directly to our home is the new way of consuming content rather than going to the cinema with a popcorn and a girlfriend.

Digital also blurs the line between what kind of business you are in and what kind of business you can potentially expand to. That's why in this digital era, a DVD seller can reinvent itself as a digital streaming service provider, a cloud-based digital storage company as well as a logistics company.

So the upside is, businesses have many more avenues to grow. The downside is, when new business models come into play it pushes old models out of business. So you have to ride the digital wave before that wave consumes you. You then become a victim of digital disruption like many other industries like the newspaper, cab, financial institutions etc.

Secondly digital is about engaging consumers in a different way. It takes the one-way intrusiveness of traditional media like TV, newspaper and static presence of Web 1.0 tools like banner ads and blogs to a whole new level where the true essence of engagement can be finally delivered to the consumers. Social media will finally allow brands to form true communities. Data analytics will allow businesses to understand "why" people do certain things, rather than only 'what" they do. And Virtual Reality will give a completely new meaning to immersive engagement. In the digital era, brands will have limitless creative opportunities to create interesting, memorable experiences which were never possible before.

Finally, Digital is also about a mindset and a culture. It’s not about doing more funky things rather about doing same things in a different way. It’s about building capabilities that you didn't think you required before. It’s about rearranging the building blocks of your business in a way that gives you new competencies and sustainable advantage. And we have been hearing for a while that machines are taking over. While that may or may not be true. But what is definitely true is a lot of the jobs that we take for granted now will be wiped out, thanks to the vast improvement of Artificial Intelligence.

In a near future lateral thinking will be more important than linear thinking and Liberal Arts majors will take the majority of the senior leadership positions, instead of the science and technology majors and business grads. All these require a significant change in leadership and culture within organizations, which sadly, is not taking place like it should be. In fact, this is usually the part of digital that everyone misses out – the culture and people part.

We get straight into execution mode before making that mindset shift and cultural shift that is needed to make digital our new reality. As a result of people generally, don’t have the awareness of what is expected of them or the buy-in needed to change the way they do business or the skill set necessary to make the most out of digital.

Digital first and foremost is a new way of creating value and doing business. Put it simply, digital’s biggest potential is it can give birth to a completely new business model. Obviously, it can apply more directly to technology sector where a completely new kind of business is being born every day. But it can also impact other categories such as entertainment. These days streaming directly to our home is the new way of consuming content rather than going to the cinema with a popcorn and a girlfriend. Digital also blurs the line between what kind of business you are in and what kind of business you can potentially expand to. That's why in this digital era, a DVD retailer can reinvent itself as a digital streaming service provider, a cloud-based digital storage company as well as a logistics company.

Shahriar Amin
Shahriar Amin

Future Startup

That’s a brilliant as well as a more holistic way of looking at digital. Now, what is Digital Marketing? What do you mean by digital marketing as you mentioned, it is of course part of the overall digital paradigm but can and often operate independently?

Shahriar Amin

Digital marketing is a way of engaging consumers through the use of digital tools and techniques. The goal is to provide them with an engaging experience. Experience is critical here because through a TVC or billboard you can’t offer an experience.

The common perception of digital marketing is that it is another “additional” way of marketing. The keyword here is not 'additional' - it's 'different'.

We still did engagement before with customers through ways like direct marketing, sponsorship or invitation to events. But with digital, it has increased the opportunity and depth of creating experiences exponentially. But instead of fully capitalizing it, people think digital marketing means investing in social media, by splitting the budget from traditional engagement media. Hence, digital is seen as one more “additional” media channel.

Firstly, I think digital marketing is a different way of conducting marketing. It's doing the same thing but in a different way. And secondly, its true capability lies in engaging and creating experiences for the consumers. It can be through virtual reality or a simple video, while still being dynamic and interactive.

Digital is also about a mindset and a culture. It’s not about doing more funky things rather about doing same things in a different way. It’s about building capabilities that you didn't think you required before. It’s about rearranging the building blocks of your business in a way that gives you new competencies and sustainable advantage.

Future Startup

Why do you think it's important for brands and companies to get into digital? You can still reach out to consumers through TV, Radio and paper ads, so why digital?

Shahriar Amin

There can be two perspectives on this: challenge and opportunity. Adopting digital presents both a challenge and opportunity for brands.

First off, why it's a challenge. We might think digital marketing doesn't have a role to play in a traditional business like someone making biscuits. This is a wrong mindset. No matter what category your business is, it is not safe from digital disruption. The scale of disruption and the timing of disruption is different, but there will be some level of disruption. Because we wrongly assume that each category lives in isolation from each other, but in absolute truth, businesses operate in giant ecosystems where everything is linked. Let me give a crude example.

5 years ago, there was no such thing as a Wi-Fi bill; now we pay for Wifi every month. I'm taking out 1000 taka every month from my budget which was before probably spent on food, or mobile bills or buying t-shirt or for other purposes. Because of this Wi-Fi category, now either a telecom company or a food business or a t-shirt manufacturer is getting disrupted. And they are clueless why their business is going down the drain.

Even if you're not in any digital category, your business is still getting disrupted by digital. It will become a challenge for a company or an individual to resist digital disruption. The wave of this disruption will find a way to affect you.

Digital is also an opportunity since it's a business model. There are many opportunities which we probably have not even begun to think about. For example, digitizing your supply chain may reduce the number of processes from 3 to 2.

Due to the full level of automation, your headcount probably will reduce from 20 to 10. Due to digitization, in future, you may not have to maintain an office since one can do it remotely. These and many more are opportunities that digital presents.

If I'm a brand who is not embracing the digital wave, I am leaving myself vulnerable to be disrupted digitally. And on the other hand, if a brand embraces it, it can ride the wave to the next level.

No one should turn a blind eye to the digital wave; thinking that it's not for them. It might not be 100% applicable to your business yet, but it still might present some opportunities. It might grow from being 10% applicable to 100%. Who knows! This awareness among businesses is missing in Bangladesh.

Digital marketing is a way of engaging consumers through the use of digital tools and techniques. The goal is to provide them with an engaging experience. Experience is critical here because through a TVC or billboard you can’t offer an experience. The common perception of digital marketing is that it is another “additional” way of marketing. The keyword here is not 'additional' - it's 'different'.

Future Startup

When a brand or a company decides to get into digital, how should they approach it?

Shahriar Amin

Firstly, they should start by fully understanding implications of digitization for their business. Analyze the environment they operate internally and externally and find what challenges and opportunities they might offer because of the category of business they are doing. In this process, internal culture change and external product/service change should happen simultaneously as one is dependent on the other.

As I mentioned earlier, Digital is a mindset, and it has to be built into the DNA of your company in order to be fully digital conversant.

For example, I'm a bank and I have created a digital department and their job is to make their own digital product and promote it. Will that be enough for the bank? No, because that’s operating in a silo, without fully embracing digital. So if I want my company to embrace digital, just having a social media manager is not good enough. My entire company is not there yet in terms of their mindset embracing digital and they don’t have the capability. And quite often a company struggles because of the digital capability they have to build.

For their entire life, they have been working as a non-digital company and now suddenly they have to change their entire mindset.

The leadership of the company must decide to make this shift. The training that is required beforehand has to take place which is missing often and hence they struggle.

If you don't change your internal organizational culture and mindset, releasing a new digital product or launching a Facebook page alone won't make the company a digital one. For example, if today we hear that Prothom Alo is becoming a digital company, with the same people and the same process of work, it won't be successful.

Future Startup

As you mentioned earlier, we can use the digital media as a way to engage and communicate with the customers. How does that work?

Shahriar Amin

The challenge that I see from a Bangladeshi context is that we are very good at launching things and poor in maintaining it. We run out of steam and ideas after 3 or 4 months. The bottleneck here is the content. Failure to sustain the content development is one of the reasons for not being able to take it to the next level.

In the old days, we couldn't measure the effectiveness of our marketing effort. We couldn't tell if a paper ad we put in had contributed to the 10% increase in sales. There wasn't any data back then. Now, there's too much data. From no data to too much data is a challenge as well.

Since there is an abundance of data, making sense of it has become a challenge because we don't have qualified data analysts - it's scarce globally as well. The analytical thought process of asking questions and finding insightful answers on things like what kind of marketing efforts should I do, what return on investment should I bring, how should I measure it, how successful it is what I am doing etc are missing.

The goal of marketing is still getting the most likes and shares. If I assume, that a like on Facebook is equivalent to a conversion - I would be wrong. Its just basic awareness which is the starting point of your brand journey. The companies are struggling to turn their 50k likes into the actual money generating customers. Overcoming this is the next level.

Future Startup

Why is this happening? What's the challenge?

Shahriar Amin

The challenge is we assume creating brand awareness means the job is done when there are so many additional steps that are needed before you start generating revenue.

Creating a Facebook group and getting 500000 likes is just a starting point because you are just creating awareness; that’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. This is just a step one of a long brand-consumer journey that still needs to evolve to turn them into loyal consumers.

Firstly, they should start by fully understanding implications of digitization for their business. Analyze the environment they operate internally and externally and find what challenges and opportunities they might offer because of the category of business they are doing. In this process, internal culture change and external product/service change should happen simultaneously as one is dependent on the other. As I mentioned earlier, Digital is a mindset, and it has to be built into the DNA of your company in order to be fully digital conversant.

Future Startup

When someone decides to get into digital marketing or has already begun using the platforms - how should they approach the medium and what are the opportunities there?

Shahriar Amin

First off, social media is a media decision – and before we take a media decision which is ultimately a tactical decision that comes much later in a proper marketing plan; we have to determine our objective. This is something people often overlook. We often do things because everyone else is doing it and we feel pressurized to follow through. This should not be the case.

First of all, you have to understand your reasons for getting into digital. Why am I coming to digital, what am I trying to achieve, and what my story is - we should know the answers to these questions and then take the media decision.

As I have said before, this is where the mistake is made - we don't decide our objective and straightaway jump to the media decision.

Long ago, a company's CEO would decide to do a TVC - without defining the objective first. Doing a TVC is not enough; we have to decide what we set out to accomplish through a TVC.

We're all jumping on the Facebook bandwagon. We forget to decide whether we're merely jumping on the bandwagon or do we actually need it.

As I said earlier, there are opportunities in digital that can meaningfully change your business, but it has to be done for the right reasons.

Future Startup

Given that there are many different channels existing today, how do you decide which one is best for your business? What are, in your opinion, the most effective channels in digital?

Shahriar Amin

There is no specific answer to this; it depends on the category of business, what stage they are in and most importantly, what they are trying to achieve. This determines content, media and everything that you want to do.

If my category is such that my objective is to demonstrate my product in a way that would be easy to understand and if your product is already very good and has a reputation in the market, you don't have to over-sell it. This also influences your media decision.

Everything comes down to that one critical question: what is it that I want to achieve? This cannot be achieved by blindly copying another brand's activities, without taking your product, your target audience into account.

That being said, the opportunities are abundant now, compared to before. Now media has flourished tremendously. On the flip side, it has also made it challenging.

Even for TVCs, there are too many TV channels now and we cannot watch all 20 of them. This forces us to be smarter when it comes to decision making. It is an opportunity because you have options now. At the same time, it makes the decision complex.

To me, the answer to this is data. It all comes down to data; not gut feeling or your passion. You have to collect, analyze and make sense of the data.

It can be consumer data - what are my consumers saying about my product. It can be sales data - what is the pattern and ROI. It can be competition data - how my competitors are reacting. And finally my media data - what my choice of media is giving back to me. All of these data come together to make something meaningful and a smart analytics would tell me what I should do.

There are a lot more data factors built into that data algorithm other than reach and sales. And when your decisions are data-driven, it is foolproof. Now decisions taken are ad-hoc, by gut-feel and are whimsical. These decisions should be based on data.

First off, social media is a media decision – and before we take a media decision which is ultimately a tactical decision that comes much later in a proper marketing plan; we have to determine our objective. This is something people often overlook. We often do things because everyone else is doing it and we feel pressurized to follow through. This should not be the case. First of all, you have to understand your reasons for getting into digital. Why am I coming to digital, what am I trying to achieve, and what my story is - we should know the answers to these questions and then take the media decision.

Future Startup

You have mentioned some very important points. Digital has become a way of life now. It is not a marketing channel anymore, it is a different way of doing things. At the same time, the fundamental difference between digital and traditional medium is in the mindset. Digital is about abundance and freedom which gives the consumer a lot of power and traditional is about scarcity and control which allows brands to control the conversation. In digital, content is unlimited, compared to traditional media and we can choose what to watch, in fact, we decide what to attend to what not to, we can block ads when we feel like which was not possible in TV. We had to sit through an ad if we wanted to finish watching a serial. This is one aspect. At the same time, the market has become way more cluttered and there is so much noise out that makes it difficult to make your brand stand out. What are the challenges for marketers and what do you make out of it?

Shahriar Amin

First, we have to understand what advertisement truly stands for. The advertisement is essentially an intrusive mechanism. I'm watching a cinema and suddenly it's turned off and I'm forced to watch an ad. It was acceptable, probably a decade back; but not now.

The challenge that this presents is that now we have to engage the customers, rather than communicate to them. The height of engagement can be understood like this: you're watching a football game on TV or at a stadium where 10000 fans are truly immersed in the spectacle. That's the height of engagement.

The journey from being an intrusive media to a permission-based engagement media is a big shift. This brings us back to the shift in mindset. First of all, you have to understand the mindset and get it right, then the strategy comes and then you go and create content. This is the sequence. The cultural orientation towards digitizing has to be built, which is a leadership decision as I mentioned earlier.

In my 12 years of observing and training, I have come to see certain transitions. These days, I see young people come in and attend my training, they're very excited to know all these opportunities. But after they go back to their organization after learning from me, they complain that people in their organization don't understand.

I put emphasis on cultural shifts and mindset because they are the building blocks of our way towards a digital environment. Without that, digital is just another trend which is a gross understatement of the power of digital.

Future Startup

You have mentioned in the description of your training program that your program helps people learn what other things apart from “Facebook Marketing” that Digital can do. In our context, particularly when it comes to digital marketing, it is all about Facebook. What are these others things that you mentioned, apart from Facebook, that you can do when it comes to digital?

Shahriar Amin

There is something known as the 'sweet spot'. What the consumer wants, what competition cannot give and what I can give - this is the combination and you do something at the intersection of this to get your sweet spot. This works for digital as well as traditional media.

We as consumers spend a lot of time on Facebook, which is the main reason for the Facebook bandwagon. We overestimate the importance of Facebook and we underestimate the other opportunities laid before us. Globally, Dhaka probably contains the highest number of Facebook users.

However, a shift is coming. It has already started among the new generation who are losing interest in Facebook. And other social media are gaining that lost popularity. Even in this small group, there are changes. That's why we should not jump on the bandwagon so quickly and focus only on that.

Instead, we should take the long-term view of things and do accordingly. And that is understanding your 'why' and then identifying what other steps do I need to take to stay ahead of the game.

The journey from being an intrusive media to a permission-based engagement media is a big shift. This brings us back to the shift in mindset. First of all, you have to understand the mindset and get it right, then the strategy comes and then you go and create content. This is the sequence. The cultural orientation towards digitizing has to be built, which is a leadership decision as I mentioned earlier.

Future Startup

One of the things that you teach in your training is why and when digital fails? Why do you think that happens?

Shahriar Amin

Digital fails because before starting the journey, we don't develop a clear idea of what we're trying to achieve. When you don’t know where you want to reach, you end up in the wrong destination.

Secondly, it fails because digital is very good at creating short-term bursts of excitement. That is the capability it possesses. Digital has yet to fully embrace a way where I can hold that excitement for longer periods of time, from a non-launch point of view.

Digital has not been able to fully mature into a sustainable medium or more appropriately we could not find a way yet to make it work without doing new things on a constant basis.

We need to start with a clear understanding of the medium as well as our objective while starting our journey in digital and then we have to figure out how we are going to engage our audience in a meaningful way that is sustainable and does not require doing new things every day.

Future Startup

What are a few major trends that might gain momentum, in the context of Bangladesh, in the next few years?

Shahriar Amin

Data analytics and content marketing are two things going forward that will gain significant momentum compared to other things in the digital world. We've found that out by tracking data and analysis. If you put it in a different way, these are basically the front-end, which is the content, and the analytics, which is backend, telling me where to engage. The company has to master these two things before they can digitally establish themselves.

We are undergoing major changes in media spending. Again we're making the mistake of thinking digital is one more media to split our budget with. Due to this, we're probably not fully committed to any media we chose. As a result, we're not successful in either media.

Future Startup

Any tips you would like to give to brand marketers, brand managers to succeed in digital?

Shahriar Amin

Firstly, if you're not digitally savvy and don't have a proper understanding of digital, as a marketer will become obsolete. If you're a marketer it's absolutely mandatory to upgrade yourself according to what’s happening in the market.

It's a very difficult thing to do now since there doesn't exist any sort of structured process to learn. Digital is a vast area and it is continuously evolving. You have to pick a place to jump in and start learning.

Go to the internet, watch videos, and enroll in a training and whatever you can do to learn. It is absolutely mandatory to upgrade your skills in the digital space.

We think that we work locally hence we do not need to learn the digital skills. But if for some reason you're going abroad, you won't be able to land any jobs because of your lack of skills digitally.

Don't throw away your existing skill set. Being digital doesn't mean rendering the other skills obsolete. It's a combination you need for traditional marketing and upgraded learning. A smart marketer is someone who combines old-school marketing know-how with the new techniques to create a hybrid.

Finally, whatever you do, the fundamental question is always ask your purpose, what are you trying to achieve. When you understand that everything else becomes easier.

Data analytics and content marketing are two things going forward that will gain significant momentum compared to other things in the digital world. We've found that out by tracking data and analysis. If you put it in a different way, these are basically the front-end, which is the content, and the analytics, which is backend, telling me where to engage. The company has to master these two things before they can digitally establish themselves.

Future Startup

As you mentioned, digital skills are increasingly becoming critical for success, what are some of the most important digital skills?

Shahriar Amin

Breaking down data, making sense of data, whether you are comfortable with using the tool - social media, mobile marketing etc – these are important to start.

Simply the basics of it - a minimum knowledge is always required. You don’t essentially need to be a master of everything, but you must have an understanding of things so that you can propel forward when required.

Future Startup

What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned from your 14-years’ of experience in Brand Marketing?

Shahriar Amin

Marketing is part art and part science. A good marketer has to be very instinct driven and at the same time, he has to combine it with data. He has to be very rational and logical. And at the same time be very conceptual and creative. Marketing is not for everyone.

That is what I learned from my experience.

In Bangladesh, I have seen waves of trends come and go. Once, 'brand' was a big buzzword. Everyone knew it was important, but nobody understood what it is. Now “Digital” is a new buzzword. But just like “brand”, digital is not a fad. It’s here to stay and eat your lunch.

The best way to protect your lunch is to continue to keep on asking questions and learning as much as possible.

A weakness that marketers in general possess is poor measuring capabilities. They can come up with innovative ideas but always they lack the discipline of measuring. Measuring is not always glamorous and there isn't always a success story to follow it.

Future Startup

How do you make brand and marketing related decisions and what are the components you consider?

Shahriar Amin

I first set my objective, what I'm trying to achieve. Then I set my path/process using which I want to go towards that objective. The question is always which one is the right fit for my objective.

A weakness that marketers in general possess is poor measuring capabilities. They can come up with innovative ideas but always they lack the discipline of measuring.

Measuring is not always glamorous and there isn't always a success story to follow it. There's a fear associated with it and it doesn't always make money. People mistakenly assume that if I have 10 taka why would I spend 8 taka in doing and 2 taka in measuring? I should be spending the entire 10 taka in doing. Here is the mistake people don't realize: by putting that extra 2 taka in we are saving a lot more 10 taka notes for the future. That 2 taka is the insurance.

Another thing I learned from observing in Bangladesh is the short-term thinking. We always try to squeeze in and do things quicker to cut the process short. We are always into cutting corners and so on. The mindset is something like this "How to do 10 things in 2 hours". We straight away jump towards the solution instead of analyzing what the problem is. That’s a recipe for suicide. You can’t get meaningful things done that way.

Future Startup

As you have mentioned, relentless learning is the competitive advantage of our time, what is your process of learning? Do you have a framework that you follow?

Shahriar Amin

To me, learning comes formally and informally. Formal learning for me is reading books or part of what I do in my job. This gives me 50% of the perspective.

Informal learning is always keeping an eye open and always asking questions. You expose yourself to different questions and situations, and always possess an inquisitive mindset and try to understand the why and how.

When people think of learning their mind travels to the forms of institutions of formalized learning. Then they get intimidated by it and think that they don't have time. It is needed; without formal learning the whole learning is incomplete. But that thinking has a limitation as well. People miss out on the other ways to learn. Having that inquisitive mindset opens you up to a lot of learning that doesn't take much time. That’s important to realize as well.

There are means and there are ends. Sometimes when people want to learn they only focus on the end. "If I learn will I get a promotion?" Probably not, so what's the point of learning? Why would I do this if I don't get any reward for this? This is the mindset that resides in them. What people do not understand that learning benefits do not come right after the learning, the benefits will come in the future in ways that you would not expect.

At a certain later stage in their career, people stop learning. They prioritize their time doing rather than learning. People constantly do and do. Because by doing things people feel that they're achieving something. That's a very short-term thinking which will lead you to stop growing and be static. Whereas the other person who is having a more balanced approach towards doing and analyzing and thinking and evolving; will eventually reap the benefits soon enough.

Future Startup

What are a few important digital concepts that people should know?

Shahriar Amin

MVP is one. MVP means Minimum Viable Product. That you don’t eye for a perfect product while starting, you start with an MVP and continuously iterate based on customer feedback.

Secondly, the agile values are important things to learn. Then there are concepts like creating a Buyer Persona or Single Customer View.

There are different business frameworks available. There is Lean startup model, Business Model Canvas - these are tools to crystalize your thoughts. Understanding the customer journey is important too.

People used to think before that they would have products at their store and that would be their only marketing point. It has been found that by engaging customers in different ways with your product and having that holistic view of the consumer's journey is important. You can tap into the time that they spend.

Jobs-to-be-done is another important theory. It basically says to not focus on the product; focus on the solution it is giving. I think these are a few interesting concepts that can help you develop a better understanding of things.

At a certain later stage in their career, people stop learning. They prioritize their time doing rather than learning. People constantly do and do. Because by doing things people feel that they're achieving something. That's a very short-term thinking which will lead you to stop growing and be static. Whereas the other person who is having a more balanced approach towards doing and analyzing and thinking and evolving; will eventually reap the benefits soon enough.

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Note: Mr. Amin has been working in brand marketing for over 14 years now and is considered as one of the leading marketing trainer and management consultants in Bangladesh, if you are considering leveling up your digital marketing skills, you may consider taking his Advanced digital marketing courses at Bdjobs Training.

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1) Interview by Ruhul Kader, Transcription by Shabiba Benta Habib

2) 1 This interview With Khandekar Anwar Ehtesham Of Dhaka Bank

3) Further reading on digital and future of communication here.

(This is content has been developed by Storylab, Future Startup’s in-house branded content studio, in collaboration with Bdjobs Training. Thank you Bdjobs Training for supporting our work which enables us to allow our readers read premium contents for free.)


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