Ali Naqvi talks to Arslan Ashraf Co-Founder, Expert Marketing & Strategy at Data BI about the changing world of marketing from the standpoint of digitization.
Ali Naqvi: Tell us something about Data BI, how it came about, and what role is it playing in marketing strategy and communication?
Arslan Ashraf: Data BI is an insight gathering company. We have a powerhouse working in business intelligence & data science, data analytics, and visualization in Pakistan. We take up projects on all kinds of industries and have a good profile. Other than this, we are working on our core product for the Retail Industry with a vision to take business intelligence to every retailer whether big or small. We saw a huge gap and the lack of innovation and research when we looked into our retail industry which is the 3rd largest contributor to Pakistan’s GDP and following the conventional approach we are trying our best to change towards the data-driven approach and that’s how Data BI developed to make a difference in the business industry of our country.
AN. Entrepreneurship is the lifeblood of both business and economy, why our youth are not ambitious enough to become entrepreneurs?
AA: There are several reasons why youth is not ambitious enough to become entrepreneurs.
Here are some:
- Most people don’t know what they want to do in life until they are much older. Many even pick a reasonable career and learn to like it. Not everyone knows what their passions are.
- Most people don’t like taking risks. A stable job to meet basic needs is good enough.
- Not all careers can be entrepreneurial in nature – actors, doctors, sportsmen, etc. all have great careers but they aren’t entrepreneurial.
- Many people don’t have all the skills necessary to be an entrepreneur – people skills, craft, presentation, negotiation, etc. Not all these things are taught at school.
Steve Jobs once said, “the ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who will.” That says it all. People who want to be entrepreneurs know that for themselves and those who don’t, well, they don’t.
AN: In Pakistan, apart from MNCs and large business organizations, people don’t care about data, analytics, and insights. How do you think your company will thrive in such a culture?
AA: I believe leveraging data is going to be a game-changer. Big Data is making our lives easier with personalized data. This data is much more than bits and numbers. The data is helping us measure human habits and behaviors. For businesses, enterprise-level data is more accessible than ever. Powerful analytical tools like Microsoft Power BI and Tableau are available to all the businesses from small to large and to individuals as well. Data helps make both personal and business decisions. It gives us the tools to alter the behaviors to bring about the changes required. This is challenging to shift people towards a data-driven approach in Pakistani culture but we are trying our best to raise awareness about how data can be useful for every individual and business owner to make informed decisions.
AN: A lot is happening in the digital world; how do you see Pakistan in terms of marketing potential?
AA: In Pakistan with the rising influence of internet networking, digital marketing is sure to witness an upward tendency. Traditional marketing techniques have become old, and digital marketing has taken the forefront of each area. It is simple, easy, and less expensive than digital, and also more useful. It is a golden opportunity for a company to create awareness about the products in these media. The brand image can be quickly established and at the same time it is more convenient to interact with customers and form relationships. If social media is utilized properly, a company can instantly gain success.
AN: COVID-19 was the worst thing that could happen to any business, how challenging would it be for businesses, brands, and marketers to come out of it?
AA: In my opinion, all industries have seen a drastic increase in the adoption of technology. Businesses who can adapt quickly and utilize digital transformation to their advantage have seen unprecedented growth. For instance, transitioning to e-commerce, tapping into the remote workforce, etc. While it may not apply to all types of business, I would like to at least close off with the positive side of things.
AN: There is a lot of noise about conventional marketing shifting to digital platforms, how do you see the Shift in the context of our market?
AA: The digital age has changed everything about the way companies marketed themselves. It has revolutionized the reach of small businesses, while demanding more from already established businesses. Digital marketing has created more opportunities than problems. Social media has completely transformed traditional marketing. By harnessing the power of digitization, organizations can increase their opportunities with consumers and transform their products in real-time.
AN: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
AA: In the next 5 years, I see myself as one of the successful entrepreneurs or marketers. I strongly believe the only way to get to a future is by embracing the present moment with everything that it includes. We get to the future by being right here, right now, fully present with the task at hand, the problem we are trying to solve, or the person in front of us. Be happy. This is the most important of all. I want to look back on my life without regret.
AN: Thank you so much Arslan Ashraf, Co-Founder Data BI, for your time.