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Full name

Muhammad Talha Imtiaz

Title

Head of Digital Media

Location

United Arab Emirates

Blurb

Certified Digital Marketing Strategist (Master Certified Web Analyst (OMCP), Certified SEO Practitioner, Google Adwords Partner, Google Analytics Partner)

Biography

About 10 years ago I used to write articles to make some extra money. I soon took up a job as a content writer and there, for the first time, I learned that the keywords I had always been given to write around were for the sake of SEO.

So I asked, "What is SEO?" but no one in my office could give me a satisfactory answer. I turned to Google and Youtube and found a Whiteboard Friday video by Rand Fishkin.

And... I was hooked!!! Rand is the reason why I am in digital marketing.

Within 3 months I became the SEO manager at the company I worked for then. Let me clarify here, it wasn't because I was a super human being... it was simply because I had better English language skills than my counterparts. And maybe I was a bit more ambitious than them. However, after a few months of following Rand Fishkin, Eric Ward & Avinash Kaushik I realized we were simply spamming the search engines into giving us ranks and it would soon be axed by Google. I reached out to the company owners but they refused to change tactic... I had to make a choice between JOB SECURITY & DOING THE RIGHT KIND OF SEO. I chose the later and went freelance. For the next 6 years I freelanced and worked at the right kind of SEO (content based, UX centric, outreach & quality links heavy) and got into other aspects of marketing too... PPC, Email, Affiliate, Facebook ADs and most importantly Analytics.

Then in 2012, Dubai knocked on my door with an opportunity. I took it up and met a marvelous leader, Debbie Baertschi, in the foreign land. The budgets I managed escalated from $2000 a month to $135,000/month within 6 months. I became the Head of Ecommerce & Digital Marketing... leading a team of 7 very, very smart marketers to achieve +300% ROI for our investment. It was a seriously exhilarating roller-coaster ride.

Driving e-commerce results was a huge challenge and I found that a data driven approach would be necessary. I had always used data to back my actions to some degree but always had doubts about the quality of my work. It was like a dim voice in my head... the kind of feeling you get when you're venturing out into a new sin for the first time. But like a perfectly timed square drive I stumbled onto Market Motive... a company co-founded by Avinash Kaushik & John Marshall along with Michael Stebbins. And Avinash & John were teaching the analytics course... I couldn't believe my eyes. I put together the money and took the course. It changed my life!

While all this was going on, my e-commerce company MOXiT was hit by tragedy. On July 26th, my second child, handsome Usman was born, I went over to Karachi to be with my family and on my return after four days... found the parent company had gone bankrupt and MOXiT was shutting down.

The next few months were tough. With family in Dubai you can't really do much without a steady flow of income. Savings dwindled quickly and I was at my last 50 Dirhams when I got the new job... this time it was even bigger... i landed as the Head of Digital at one of the biggest conglomerates in the MENA region... DAL GROUP LTD. It was an 9000+ strong company with strong footholds in 11 diverse verticals... everything from Agriculture, Food & Beverage Processing & Packaging (everything from flour, milk, beverages like Coca-cola/Sprite/Fanta, dealerships for Mercedes, Resellership for Caterpillar heavy machinery and even a high end Cafe & even.... a IB School.

My task to establish the entire Digital Footprint of the Group & all its sister companies. I was placed into the internal marketing agency for the company called MSU (Marketing Services Unit).

At Dal Group I launched new websites, mobile sites, social media campaigns and more. But my most important work was strategic in nature. There were two major projects.
1> ONLINE-OFFLINE IMPACT MEASUREMENT
The problem Dal Group was facing was that there was no measurement on how online campaigns affected offline store sales. I devised a plan by identifying a small but important area for our Coca Cola sales. I met the sales and distribution managers and together, we devised an Attribution Model to give a close-to-realistic weight to impact on sales from different channels (in the light of historic data ofcourse). Then we launched a controlled experiment where an offline event send people to online channels (Website, social media pages, mobile app) to interact with the brand in fun ways and get a discount voucher which they would use offline at shops in that area. It was a huge hit!
2> 3 YEAR STRATEGY for MSU
Let me first mention Mr. Sam Bodley Scott here. He is the Head of Strategy at the Dal Food Division and one of the best leaders I have ever met. The entire marketing department was under his command. He is a strategist of the highest order. And he lead a 3 month strategy deliberation process with all the managers in MSU. I differentiated myself here by listening very keenly and thinking very deeply. In the end... it was my suggestion which was taken up as the Marketing Unit's strategic direction for the next 3 years... the direction was coined (by my own suggestion). This is as far as I can go because of privacy breach concerns.

But Alas... everything, good & bad, comes only to pass. And so did my stint at Dal Group. It was an amazing opportunity. But the company was forced into a restructuring move (because of the bad political situation in Sudan) and since Digital is still not a very powerful medium, I was the first one to go. I was an expensive resource and it made sense. I understood and moved on.

My trips to Sudan (during the job with Dal Group) got me some name. And a great event management company called Lutfi SDC was seeking out experts as keynote speakers for their upcoming, First Digital Marketing Summit of Sudan. They got in touch with me. It was a major chance to get into the Public Speaking arena and I agreed ofcourse. I spent several months perfecting my keynote, "Exciting Customers Through Social Media Analytics". Three days before my flight, I got the bad news that they had delayed the visa application process and unfortunately my visa could not be processed. I took it as a challenge, got a high quality video camera from a friend, bough a high quality noice cancellation iRIG Mic from a Virgin Megastore in Dubai and I shot my video. I learned video editing and making powerpoint videos from Youtube... and shot, edited and made a video. I sent this over to them... they played it at my slot and it was a SUPER HIT. My following and respect as a seasoned digital marketer grew from there.

And here I am today.

Preparing for interviews and consulting e-commerce businesses in Dubai.

And may I say... my best is yet to come.

Experience

Head of Digital Marketing

MOX Deals FZ LLC

Dubai · March 2013 – August 2014

I was responsible for the entire digital marketing effort for www.moxit.com. This includes SEO, SEM/PPC, Social Media, Email Marketing, Affiliate Partnering & Digital Analytics. I handled a monthly budget of over AED. 500,000/month and managed a team of 7 skilled marketers including 2 copy writers, 1 junior digital, 1 email marketing expert & 3 designers.

Freelance SEO & Analytics Consultant

Addicted to SEO

Dubai · Jan 2010 – Present

SEO Team Lead, Business Development & Project Management

2 Steps Solutions

Karachi, Pakistan · January 2008 – December 2009

As Team Lead I managed a number of client accounts for their SEO and Content Writing requirements. At the same time, I was responsible for securing new clients through Elance and managing the ongoing development of services on a powerful new web portal in the US.

Head of Digital Media

Dal Group Ltd

Dubai · 21/12/2014 – Present

Dal Group is one of the largest and most diversified conglomerates in the region. I was placed as Head of Digital Media in its internal marketing agency, called MSU, which services all marketing needs of the Group and its sister companies.
• Digital Strategy Formulation: Under the guidance of the Head of Strategy, I have devised the three year Digital strategy for the Group companies and MSU.
• Online-Offline Impact Measurement: Worked to setup systems to measure the offline impact of online campaigns and vice versa.
• Economic Value attribution: Initiated and lead the drive to attribute economic value to online actions such as brochure downloads, email subscriptions, lead form submission etc.
• Web Design & Development Services: I have lead the design & development of a highly successful website for Dal Group based on thorough business objective analysis and customer centric design practices.

Education

BS Computer Science (Drop Out)

NU FAST

Karachi, Pakistan · 2002 – 2006

A-Level

FPS A-Level

Karachi, Pakistan · 2000 – 2002

O-Level

St. Pauls High School

Karachi · 1989 – 2000

Awards
2015 Web Analytics Master Certification , Market Motive
Taught by the greats: Avinash Kaushik & John Marshall
Clients

Anxiety Social Net UK Theatre Tickets AU Technologies Meezan Advertising Han Hai Language Qordoba MoxiT

Specialties

SEO, Digital Analytics, Leadership, Communication, Writing, Teamwork

Skills

SEO, SEM, PPC, Digital Analytics, Conversion Optimization

Elsewhere