Inbound Marketing Strategy

I Trolled The Biggest Marketing/Advertising Industry Event In The MENA Region. Here's What Happened:

by Nabeel Azeez

You know what's thrilling about being Head of Growth at an inbound marketing agency?

I get to HAVE FUN with it and test whatever crazy idea comes to mind.

So when our Head of Social Media, Ahmed El-Sadek, suggested Newsjacking the Dubai Lynx 2018 awards ceremony and dinner, I was all ears.

In this post, I'm going to tell you about:

  • The creative concept
  • The funnel we designed
  • The targeting we used for the ads
  • The results of the campaign
  • Our thoughts on marketing stunts


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The Creative Concept

Our marketing strategy for 2018 involves building more awareness for Ubrik Media's brand. Hard to do from scratch. So we decided to Newsjack.

As it so happened, Dubai Lynx 2018 was right around the corner. We decided to add ourselves to the conversation. To be a part of the event without actually being there.

"If you want to change the world, you have to speak its language."

Says El-Sadek.

"I've attended the Dubai Lynx awards in the past. Campaigns I've worked on have won. I'm aware of the atmosphere and the attendees, what attracts them, what gets their attention and so on.
"So, I figured, why not target the attendees. Create a campaign with a look and feel that matches the frame of mind they are in. To convey the idea that maybe there's a better way to handle their marketing."


He's referring to Inbound Marketing, of course. It's much cheaper and more importantly, buyer-centric as opposed to product-centric. Dirham-for-dirham, it's much more effective that the kinds of campaigns traditional agencies and marketers are used to running.

Here's what Monash Unny, Ubrik's founder, had to say:

"I believe these kinds of marketing stunts are a waste of time and money. Marketing agencies should focus on bringing their clients traffic, leads and customers. Marketing stunts go against our DNA as performance marketers but we figured let's give it a try. If nothing else, it's a learning experience and a good case study. Don't try this at home, folks. ;)"

We went with a video format because they're getting the most traction at the moment. The look and feel for the video ad was inspired by an ad for Carlsberg beer.



My content marketing philosophy is "quick and dirty" but for this campaign we felt attendees would respond better to a more crafted look and feel.

We also wanted to add a bit of gravitas to it, because, after all, it's the biggest industry event in the region.




The Funnel

You can get pretty fancy here.

But because this was our first attempt at a stunt like this, we decided to go with the simplest possible funnel.

The image above describes it pictorally:

  • They see a Facebook or Twitter ad,
  • Click on the CTA that sends them to a video landing page,
  • And sign up for a free email mini-course
  • If they don't sign up, they see retargeting ads for a different lead magnet


The pillar content was the ad we created for the Dubai Lynx awards night on 14th March 2018. But this event is only 4-5 hours long. So, for maximum mileage, we had to show ads before this to warm up the audience.

The pre-event ads ran from 11th - 13th March 2018. This was when the Dubai Lynx speeches and workshops were happening on both the main stage and breakout areas.

And no campaign is complete without follow-up, so we are also running ads to the same audience until the end of the month. This blog post will be a part of that.


Here's what the ads looked like:





Awards night:



We should have condensed this ad to 2 minutes and 20 seconds to show it on Twitter as well, but we didn't.


Here's what the landing pages looked like:



Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 1.22.09 PM



Awards night:


Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 1.23.00 PM



Thank you page:


Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 1.29.34 PM



And this is the re-targeting content offer:


The Ad Targeting

Facebook allows you to target a specific location within a 1-mile radius. So, we dropped the pin on Madinat Jumeirah, where the event was taking place.


Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 1.32.38 PM


The drawback to this targeting is pretty obvious. Our ads will be shown to everyone in Madinat Jumeirah, not just those attending Dubai Lynx.

We mitigated this to an extent by setting the campaign to charge us for clicks to our landing page. And also by targeting the #dubailynx hashtag and @dubailynx Twitter account.


Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 1.38.23 PM


Finally, we retargeted people who saw our landing page but didn't see our thank you page (i.e. they didn't sign up.)


Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 1.41.48 PM


And for good measure, everyone who's visited our website in the last 90 days.


Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 1.44.42 PM


The Results

Here's how the pre-event and awards night video ads did on Facebook:


Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 1.51.07 PM


Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 1.51.23 PM


Here's how the pre-event ad did on Twitter:

Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 2.00.03 PM


Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 2.02.58 PM


It's clear why we got better click-through rates on Twitter for cheaper. The targeting was more precise. Targeting the event keyword and Twitter handle beats geo-targeting a mall.

Here's how the re-targeting ad did:


Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 1.54.02 PM


Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 1.54.19 PM



On Marketing/Advertising Industry Awards

"I'm not against the Dubai Lynx or the industry awards in general,"

Says El-Sadek.

"They are essential to push innovation in the industry, expose us to new ideas, and take us outside our comfort zone."
"What I have a problem with, and there are many in the industry who share this view, is the way marketers and agencies approach the industry awards. There is a culture of creating campaigns that are not grounded in reality or effective at any other time of the year. Rather, these campaigns are only created for a cool case study to submit to the awards for consideration. This is a problem and neither in our clients' best interests nor our clients' customers."


On Marketing Stunts

This was a straight-up marketing stunt and, by-definition, hit-or-miss. You need the planets to align and Mercury to be in retrograde before s*** like this will work.

Or you need to keep trying campaign after campaign before the Law of Averages kicks in and one of your attempts sticks.

In the meantime, though, you've spent tens of thousands of dollars and God knows how many man-hours planning and launching campaigns that you, for all intents and purposes, have no flipping clue will do well or bring in a single new customer.

It's a much better use of your time and money to focus on marketing that generates direct sales and has a clear impact on your bottom-line.


Thinking about marketing in terms of ROI is not new. 

"If it doesn't SELL, it isn't creative." - David Ogilvy

"Advertising says to people, 'Here's what we've got. Here's what it will do for you. Here's how to get it.'" - Leo Burnett

(^^ The agencies these two men founded have offices in Dubai.)

Somewhere down the line, the marketing/advertising community forgot this.

We're just trying to bring it back.

I'm sure at least a few dozen of our target audience got the message.

One fancy-pants ad executive was triggered enough to engage with our ad.


In any case, this was a fun experiment. Maybe I'll try again next year. ;)


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Written by Nabeel Azeez

Head of Growth at Ubrik Media.

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