Pakistan’s digital revolution began when brands like OLX started marketing a digital product in an FMCG style game plan back in 2012 resulting in double digits growth YoY. This increased the over all category of digitally consumed products which helped other multinational players in recognizing Pakistan as a land of next big growth opportunity.
On the fore front of this revolution of digital brand management is Pakistan’s very own tech veteran, Ammar Hassan, who was the founding employee of OLX, helping them set up the brand in Pakistan.
Working from home, under the title of “Consultant”, the early days were challenging keeping in mind the digital landscape in Pakistan.
We had a chance to speak to him about his journey so far.
You have come from a traditional background, how was digital brand management different?
Ammar Hassan: It has its similarities in functions like creatives and media planning, but it is a different ball game. Data is available in a live manner.
You know your campaign is a flop in the first week of media. Performance marketing has direct ROIs in your sales. Returning users are equally important than new users’ acquisition.
Competition is not just the brand offering the same service but every other app the user is spending time on. Customer complaints, trust and safety, internet and socio-economic variables – all impact in a different way while marketing a tech brand.
You talked about Data, how important it to be Data Savvy for Marketers?
Ammar Hassan: Not only marketers, I think everyone in the organization should be data savvy. I do data workshops in MNCs & universities to reiterate the importance of creating a data culture. I have been lucky enough in my 5-year span with OLX to be exposed with a lot of data in different departments.
I have been heading customer operations, marketing and advertising sales which has given me immense opportunities to look at business operations through the lens of data and drive decisions without being biased.
We have done top notch data modeling in marketing and business ops which have gained international recognition within 40 countries where OLX operated in last 5 years.
From OLX to Daraz – What was the reason behind the move?
Ammar Hassan: I am lucky to be associated with two of the top tech brands in Pakistan with over a million active users daily.
OLX was a great company and gave me an entrepreneurial learning where we scaled from few people to now close to 100 talented resources.
I personally think that the brand who aspires to build operational eco system offline to support online audience can win this market. I was impressed with Daraz looking at how they have invested in the infrastructure at a very fast pace. Speed in technology is critical, you need to be brave and ready to try growth hacks along with building a dependable brand which Pakistani’s can trust.
How big is Daraz in Pakistan?
Ammar Hassan: Daraz is the leading online marketplace in South Asia, empowering tens of thousands of sellers to connect with millions of customers. Daraz provides immediate and easy access to 10 million products in more than 100+ categories and delivers more than 2 million packages every month to all corners of its countries.
To overcome the logistics challenge in its markets, Daraz has built its own logistics company specifically designed for e-commerce operations – Daraz Express (known as DEX) – to raise the standards for the industry. Daraz is also helping existing and new logistics providers digitize.
In 2018, Daraz was acquired by Alibaba Group, and is proud to carry its part of the mission to ‘make it easy to do business anywhere in the era of the digital economy’.
As part of the Alibaba ecosystem, Daraz is leveraging Alibaba’s global leadership and experience in technology, online commerce, mobile payments and logistics to drive growth in its markets.