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Marketing Reality: Digital is not the future. It is now!


Digital Marketing & Communications Strategist, Rakan Brahedni
addresses Middlesex MBA Class of 2013

Middlesex University’s top-ranking* MBA programme hosted Mr Rakan Brahedni for an evening of thought-pr;;ovoking discussions on how significantly ‘Digital Marketing’ has impacted the lives of consumers and well as marketers. This session was part of a series of Guest Lectures delivered by Distinguished Industry Experts, who share specialist their knowledge and real-world case-studies. Rakan, who is currently the General Manager – Technology & Business Development for Global Media Insight (GMI), brought over 10 years in professional experience as a digital marketing professional into the MBA classroom. GMI is one of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s largest independent digital marketing agencies that services clients including: Nestle, Sadia, Phillips, Samsung and Autodesk among others.


‘If you want to begin to understand how digital marketing has changed the way we do business, simply ask yourselves how the Internet has changed the way you live first’ suggested Rakan to a capacity-packed lecture theatre. Today’s consumers are ‘more wired, more accessible, more dependent, more exposed, more demanding and more impatient’, Rakan said, noting that the MENA region’s 85+ million internet users, over 20+ million of whom are on Facebook present a tremendous potential and an equivalent challenge for its marketers. He encouraged the class of future business leaders to think about the ‘tsunami wave’ of technological innovation that is sweeping across the business landscape changing, destroying and re-shaping everything in its path. ‘A marketer today lives in a world of absolute, undeniable and uncontrollable chaos, running, struggling to just keep up’, said Rakan summarising the challenges the marketing function faces in modern times.


Offering an engaging and insightful description of his own ‘10 rules to creating, executing and managing a successful digital marketing strategy’, Rakan suggested that aspiring marketers should:

1. Understand the business.

2. Understand the organisation’s vision.

3. Understand the target market.

4. Understand the current landscape.

5. Set S.M.A.R.T. objectives.

6. Set clear KPIs.

7. Create a scalable, sustainable course of action.

8. Be willing to learn through loss.

9. Lose.

10. Monitor, measure, control, manage and adapt.


Students were given the opportunity to immerse themselves in creativity and strategic thinking during the second half of the lecture where, in teams, they were asked to create a digital media marketing plan for a range of unique businesses.  The competition for the winning presentation was intense as the team that developed the best concept was to win a valuable package offering the professional services of GMI to individual students or the organisations they worked for.


‘This session has been very special – students have had the opportunity to learn from a “real-world” expert about one of the most exciting fields in the marketing discipline’, said Mr Mohammad Meraj, Adjunct Lecturer at Middlesex University’s Business School who hosted the lecture for his students. ‘Students were able to contextualize the frameworks and concepts learnt in class and gain firsthand understanding of the rapidly evolving digital environment which is the latest frontier for marketers.’


Dr Cedwyn Fernandes, Programme Leader for the Middlesex MBA commented that the event had reinforced the programme’s overarching philosophy of ‘transforming management perspectives’. ‘This collaboration between industry and academia is crucial in developing progressive, informed and responsible business leaders of tomorrow who will graduate from the Middlesex MBA programme’, he noted.


The Middlesex MBA is in its 8th year of operation in Dubai and offers 5 specialisations in addition to a general option. It’s nearly 200 on-site students makes it one of the largest programme of its kind. With an impressive faculty of academics with industry experience and a remarkable list of successful entrepreneurs and business leaders among its alumni, the Middlesex MBA is regularly ranked as one of the best executive business programmes in Dubai. Students undertake a significant practice-based project and gain international experience through extensive field trips to centres of industry excellence in cities like Milan, Paris, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Madrid.


– Mohammad Meraj


*      Forbes Middle East ranked the Middlesex MBA as the #1 MBA in Dubai (March 2012 magazine issue)

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