Thursday, 8 March 2012

ArabNet Community set for five days geekiness

As the word of digital technology gets more complicated, and even the geekiest of geeks start to get lost in all of's at times like these that start-ups, innovators, global and regional ICT professionals need to get together as a community and share thoughts, visions, best practices and trends in the field of online business.

That's exactly what the ArabNet Digital Summit 2012 will be all about. I've got my ticket to Beirut and I can't wait. I'll be attending the two Forum Days (March 29th - 30th), but I wish I could stay the entire five days of the summit.

Over the five days, a dynamic line up of speakers will focus on fields such as commerce, that have witnessed major shifts to online and adopted new business models in order to keep up with the increasingly digital world.

Personally, I'm looking forward to learning a great deal from these speakers, to get their insight into topics such as entrepreneurship, investment, the future of media & advertising, interaction through social media platforms and more. The latter of course, is of most interest, as this is the business I'm in. How is digital technology changing marketing? A question as PR professionals have been asking for a number of years. And today we're still asking. Of course, some of us are still asking because we resisted the changed and called it a fad. Now we're trying to catch up. Another group is asking because even though we kept up with the change, it's moving a lot faster than we ever imagined. And merely keeping up is no longer good enough.

We've got be selective now. We can't just get on board every digital platform or application bandwagon that comes along the way. Marketers need to be smart about what works for them and what doesn't. And be very realistic about their resourcing. If you've not got a dedicated team, and if you're entire organisation isn't buying into the cultural change, then don't waste your time. You need to achieve that before you can even try to implement a powerful digital strategy.

Clearly, some of the top level executives speaking at ArabNet such as Hatem Dowidar, CEO of Vodafone Egypt are execs that have bought into digital and shifted their entire organisation's behaviour in that direction.

More CEOs need to be doing that  - and as Brian Solis once said - #AdaptorDie.

Trouble is, the CEOs coming to ArabNet already know that. Now the ArabNet community needs to collaborate not only to help its own members develop and grow, but also recruit new members and influence the region's adoption of digital technologies. 

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