An effective marketing exercise
When Badar Khushnood, Pakistan Consultant for Google, and I discussed the possibility of holding a workshop on “Marketing your Software or Technology online”, we thought we would have at most 40 people register for each of the events in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad so you can imagine how surprised we were when within minutes of blogging and tweeting about the event, the registrations started piling in. Within hours we had about 50 people registered. This is when I started to get nervous.
We had decided to hold the event at T2F because it offers a much friendly atmosphere than a cold hotel room. The space at T2F can accommodate upto 100 people for a seminar/workshop style event (and 250 people butt-to-butt for OpenMic sessions :)).
In two days the registrations had crossed 100. We decided to cap them at 110 expecting dropouts of about 20% – which usually happens when people register online for an event.
But we were wrong. 108 people registered and over 100 showed up. Must be Badar Khushnood’s charisma that drew them to T2F or perhaps it was the sandwiches and cupcakes! Even people like Rahim Lalani of TRG Tech and Munir Usman of Pi Labs showed up before 10.30 a.m. 🙂
Badar is a fountain of knowledge regarding Google Business Tools and various Google Apps. In 3 hours he took us through a journey which started with some statistics regarding the internet landscape. He said that out of the 1.4 Billion users of the internet, 18 million were Pakistanis. That is only 11% of our population. Our mobile growth is amongst the top 3 or 4 in the world, he said. According to Badar, 77% of the internet users search daily while 38% users search 4 or more times a day.
Participants were given a taste of Google Insights, Google Trends, Google Adwords, Google News and various other Google Business Solutions. Badar showed how easy it was to use these tools to market products and services online.
He also showed some of the common mistakes that were being made by webmasters. While checking out the P@SHA website some problems were spotted that may affect its effectiveness as a marketing tool for the Pakistan IT industry. Naturally the issues will be taken care of. 🙂
The audience at the workshop was amazing. They were thoroughly engaged from the get-go, asking questions, challenging some of information, digging deep into the usage of some of the tools. Some of them were extremely knowledgeable but a snap survey that I carried out on the spot, indicates that whoever attended the workshop went away feeling that they had learnt something new, something they would be able to apply to their businesses. Many of the participants also asked when we would be running the next advanced workshop – or actually the demand was for a series of workshops which would cover in detail each of the tools. A calendar is being worked on and these will be announced but first we have to be run this particular workshop in Lahore and Islamabad. Maybe we should run a workshop for government employees, the MNAs, MPAs and the ministers Badar. 🙂
Some of the questions at the workshop focused on Search Engine Optimization and effective ways to brand a product or service. Badar pointed out that fresh and relevant content is very important for a web presence or any kind of online strategy. Using the correct terminology, making sure that one did not misrepresent oneself or one’s company, was essential.
Dr. Irfan Ahmed, Director of Sales for the Middle East, Africa and Pakistan, was also present at the workshop and added value by sharing some of his experiences with customers in Pakistan.
The lunch session was as much of an opportunity for participants to interact with Badar, as it was for them to network amongst themselves. The conversation seemed centered around online marketing though.
I suspect some deals were also in the offing but I couldn’t really discuss the details (even if they had been shared with me). And a lawyer was also spotted in the audience. Wonder what he was doing there ;).
Our thanks to Badar for a very interesting workshop and to CIO Pakistan for covering the event. And to the team at T2F especially Mariam Bilgrami, thanks for the wonderful arrangements and the delicious sandwiches and cupcakes.
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