I’m very excited in this 2nd part of this episode on Interview Fridays. I have great respects for this next individual.
He’s the chief of one of the leading digital agencies in the Middle East. He has been a strong figure in the online industry in the region. It was a privilege to have interviewed Mr. Yousef Tuqan of FlipMedia.
It’s an honor to have one of the most important names in region’s online media industry. Please tell us about your success story and your journey with Flip Media?
Thanks for the compliment. Flip’s had a trajectory of success over the past six years – particularly early on – enabling us to become the most successful digital agency in the Middle East. From a team of two, it’s now very well established, with an enviable portfolio of clients and a team comprising over 150 people in 8 countries, throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
I’m pleased to have been a part of this process, having joined Flip as an Account Director back in September 2005, progressing to CEO in July last year. Perhaps what I’ve enjoyed the most is guiding the overall business strategy, in terms of the work we do, the clients we take on and our resulting market position.
I credit the success I’ve enjoyed to a couple of factors: I’m naturally passionate about digital (OK, OK I’m a natural born geek; there, I’ve said it), with communications and marketing as founding skills. My dad worked for IBM, so maybe it’s genetic but I’ll never forget the time when he said he could show me how to build a website in 20 minutes, back in 1996. So we opened up Netscape Composer and the rest is history, really.
How does it feel to be the Chief of the region’s leading interactive agency? What are the challenges?
It’s a tremendous honor for me. Even before I joined Flip, I had always admired what the agency stood for, and the energy Flip brought to the industry. To be entrusted with its continued growth and success is an enormous responsibility, and one that I don’t take lightly.
Luckily for me, Flip has attracted the best people in the industry, and my job is a lot easier when surrounded by people who are truly dedicated to digital marketing, and to Flip’s vision.
Before I came into this metropolitan bedazzling city of Dubai, I wanted to have an outlook of the online media in the Middle East particularly of search industry. Yes, there were notable companies and individuals who have demonstrated great skills & knowledge in SEO and SEM. I knew for a fact that the Middle East had a talent pool of experts, the technology with all its resources, and a growing market.
But I somehow felt there was not much awareness of SEO, SEM, or even Social Media in the region, or was I expecting too much? But Husam Jandal seems to have sustained my observation. Husam is an internet business consultant with WSI Internet Consulting.
In an article in TheNational.Ae – Searching for an online solution, Husam Jandal said:
“In general they [Middle East] are very ignorant about the fact that their potential clients and existing clients are using the internet, while they are not [doing so themselves].
I think we’re still behind when it comes to the business community recognising the importance of being in front of their potential clients.
With more than 90 per cent of all traffic generated on the internet coming from search engines, it is important for the local business community to identify various ways of utilising these internet tools to achieve the desired visibility for their businesses”
I couldn’t agree with him more. Well there are a lot of reasons to consider though in the Middle East market. I won’t dwell on them for now. But let me help in pointing you to the right direction as to why online media, particularly SEO, SEM and even Social Media will be a vital tool for Middle East businesses:
About 3 months ago, while planning for topics in the launch of Click-Dubai.Com, I conducted a survey to get to know the top search engines used within the UAE and Middle East regions.
In today’s settings it would have been wise to have channeled that poll through Twitter but back then I tried my LinkedIn network through their useful Answers section. Fortunately, my connections were generous enough to share their insights.
Oh before we go to the results, one thing I forgot is to set the parameters of the poll like naming only the top 3. But instead I laid down a generic question that prompted the participants to provide as many search engine names they think are popular within the region (I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but it did arrive to a certain conclusion nevertheless). read more