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Get To Know Mohamad Sulkhi, Director Of Mobistudios Pte Ltd

Mohamad Sulkhi shares us his story on how he went from oil & gas to digital outdoor advertising

Here’s how technology is revolutionising outdoor advertising

The next time you are out and about, take notice of the billboard digital platforms you can spot around your city. Whether they are on the commercial or retail buildings or on your taxi tops, digital out-of-home advertising (DOOH) is a marketing platform set to see continuous growth as we enter 2021 and beyond.

In countries such as the United States, Europe and even in the Asia Pacific, DOOH advertising is popular particularly in areas where there is high human traffic and at areas where high captive audience dwells. Unless something is blocking the screens, advertisements on these platforms can be seen 100% by customers. Added with colourful and graphic features such as moving visuals, music and adding programming capabilities to the whole digital mix, DOOH advertising offers an awesome opportunity for brands who want to reach out to the masses and gaining higher returns on investments

Taking a step further beyond static digital boards, a company in Singapore has revolutionalised an innovative and cost-effective solution for DOOH advertisers to exploit the potential of reaching a wider target audience. The best part, advertisers not only can reach out to customers locally but in any part of the world – with just a click of a button. In addition, this solution will not only save costs for the advertisers but reap a quick return on investments.

To find out how advertisers can cash in on this solution, Marketing in Asia speaks to Mr Mohamad Sulkhi, Director – Business Development and Marketing, of Mobistudios Singapore.

Sulkhi, welcome to Marketing in Asia. Before you share with us about this exciting new DOOH advertising solution, tell our readers who Mohamad Sulkhi is. I understand that you have been a mariner working on very large crude oil carriers for many years. What made you decide to switch to this new career?

I have been in the marine industry for more than 35 years, working in the oil and gas transportation sector. My job has taken me around the world working on board oil tankers, managing a fleet of oil tankers and acting as an oil tanker broker. In the last few years of my career in the O&G industry, I was managing a fleet of offshore support vessels supporting the oil and gas exploration industry in the ASEAN region.

When the oil and gas exploration and production industry was hit by low energy prices, there was less opportunity to grow in my career and for me to seek new challenges. While exploring my options, an opportunity to join Mobistudios Singapore was presented to me. The company was first founded by my younger brother Mohamad Sulhanuddin back in 2009 in Melbourne. He was looking to expand his business in Singapore and beyond and thus I decided to take up the new challenge and came in as a full-time partner to help grow the company further.

Walk us through Mobistudios solutions and its unique selling proposition for business owners and advertisers?

Mobistudios Singapore focuses on providing a cloud-based Content Management System (CMS) software as a service for digital signage application. The cloud-based CMS SaaS is the engine that will drive a well-managed digital out-of-home (DOOH) screen or a network of screens. It is one of those cloud-based CMS that has the capability to adopt the Ad Tag technology that can be used for programmatic advertisement especially with DOOH screens.

With the cloud-based CMS, we are embarking on building up our own DOOH Ads Network where businesses, particularly SMEs and advertisers can use for their marketing and advertisements.

We also have a unique product called the iWalker which is an unmissable mobile media that can be carried around at the desired location for brands to carry out what some would call ‘Guerilla Marketing’. Guerrilla marketing is an advertisement strategy in which a company uses surprise and/or unconventional interactions in order to promote a product or service. It is a type of publicity. The term was popularized by Jay Conrad Levinson’s 1984 book Guerrilla Marketing

The iWalker has a built-in audience measurement capabilities by Quividi. The audience measurement capabilities allow for measurement on the move. Understanding your audience is easy with iWalker thanks to the integrated facial feature detection software. It can measure four distinct age groups including gender and provide detailed viewership analytics at your fingertips.

Why do you think there is a huge potential in DOOH even in the era of internet and social media advertising?

The era of internet and social media advertising has gone through rapid growth in the last ten years given the advancement of ad technology. This has been further boosted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

While social media growth has brought about many benefits, it has also caused overcrowding of marketing and advertising. The social media platforms in some ways have generated too much ‘noise’, leading to uncertainties and the ever-increasing cost of advertising on these platforms. The constant changes of algorithms by these social media platforms including the use of SEO to grow reach and lead organically are making it more challenging for marketers to reach their marketing goals.

Putting further uncertainties into the social media advertising environment is the demise of the usage of third-party cookies by early 2022. Google Chrome has announced that they will stop supporting third-party cookies on their browsers like other web browser players such as Safari and Mozilla.

With the above challenges, many major advertisers and brands are now slowly moving back towards using OOH media especially DOOH to have better control over their marketing and advertising strategy and better ROI for their ad spend. 

We usually see advertising panels in retails shops, tourists’ spots, bus stops and etc that will display only what the advertiser offer. How can advertisers maximize the space of this OOH to possibly get a bigger and better ROI?

They should look at the possibilities of changing these conventional OOH media to DOOH and how to monetise it. One way of monetizing DOOH screens is by selling the screens pixel time to other advertisers.

The only effective way for DOOH owner to monetise the platforms is ensuring that all these screens are properly driven by a good and reliable cloud base content management system. 

Is MobiStudios solutions viable for SMEs or even micro SMEs? How can they take advantage of this new OOH platform and maximize their returns of investments?

DOOH is a very viable and cost-effective solution for SME and micro SME i.e home-based business as it is a much simpler platform to reach out to their potential customers.

Cost of operating a DOOH screen has reduced substantially and it is easy to adopt in the business environment. Working with a good and experienced partner like Mobistudios can help businesses adopt Digital OOH into their business strategies and plans to maximise their returns of investment.

In your opinion, is OOH here to stay and what does the future of outdoor advertising look like?

DOOH is here to stay for the long time with continuous technology advancement. The platform is expected to grow at a rate of 15 – 20% annually as more people are coming out and moving about on the streets. With the easing of the pandemic restrictions, people are also spending more time outside. When they are on transit or having meals at restaurants, local coffee shops and at food centers, this is the best time to catch them in a captive environment with a Digital OOH screen in front of them.

Content and visual are key in OOH advertising in order to capture the attention of your audience. What are some of your advice for advertisers to get captive audience when they plan an OOH marketing strategy?

My advice is to engage a professional photographer to capture clear, sharp images and a professional videographer to create clear, sharp and audible video content for use in all their social media platform and DOOH.

Will there be competition for the advertisement market share between the internet digital marketing and the Digital OOH sectors?

We do not see internet digital marketing competing with DOOH for the large advertisement pie. In fact, I think the two platforms complement each other even when they are operating in a different sphere.

Advancement of advertisement technologies in areas such as programmatic advertisement is an example where internet digital marketing and DOOH will be used to enhance, extend and engaged more effective with the audience. Collection of user data in the internet space and the physical spaces where DOOH are located will enable advertisers and marketers to plan and strategies their campaigns more effectively and giving better ROI of their ads spend budget.

Mobistudios with its available technologies in the DOOH space is going to provide a unique strategic service that combines the best of internet digital marketing and Digital OOH for marketers and advertisers.

These unique strategic services will have three verticals:

a. Internet digital marketing service and consultancy, collaborating with a well-known, experienced and result-driven local marketing consultancy company.
b. Mobistudios Ads Network of DOOH screen driven by cloud-based CMS with capabilities to incorporate Ad Tags technology for programmatic advertisement.
c. iWalker the unmissable mobile media with audience measurement capabilities to bring advertisement directly to the ground, walking the streets when and where it is required. You can also measure the reach instantly using its built-in audience measurement system by Quividi.

Incorporating the three verticals will definitely enhance the ability for marketers and advertiser to reach out to a wider audience whether they are at home, in office, having a meal or coffee, transiting and moving about in the streets.

How do you brand and market Mobistudios?

Mobistudios is an experienced targeted communications solutions provider with exceptionally high standards for the visionary customer, giving them future proof solutions that grow with them. 

For advertisers who wish to explore this new solution, how can they reach you?

Mohamad Sulkhi, Director Business Development & Marketing of Mobistudios Pte Ltd (Singapore). My mobile is +65 9730 4548 and email address is sales@mobistudios.com.sg

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Written By

Kartina is Marketing In Asia's Editor for Op-Ed. She is also the Founder of Tin Communications. A media specialist with over 20 years of experience in both public and private sectors, she helps SMEs grow their business through strategic media and marketing plans. Connect with her on LinkedIn. You may also reach her by email at kartina@localhost.

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