Women in media and creative industries are excelling in their industries and at the helm of the industry in Dubai is the Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications at Dubai Media Incorporated.
Sara Al Sayegh is a young and dynamic professional who is a role model to young women interested to have a career in communications and media. Below are some insights from Sara on what makes her successful in her field and what her job entails.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into Media & Marketing and your present role at DMI?
I have long had a passion for media and marketing, which started whilst studying Marketing and Communication at the American University of Sharjah. My Father is a very established and respected financial advisor and banker who wanted me to pursue a career in the financial sector. However I found myself drawn to the media world, due to a fascination and interest in the sector. This great love for the industry led me to start my career at the Marketing Department at Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI) in 2004, only a few months after its official inception.
I now have 16 years of combined academic and enriching practical experience across the media field. I feel very blessed to have fulfilled my passion through the launch of some of the greatest and most exciting media brands and channels in the Middle East.
All of this has brought me to today’s point, as Director of Marketing & Corporate Communications, Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI). This role affords me the opportunity to enjoy working on a series of strategic and operational aspects, which relate to growing and developing the range of brands and channels that was launched over a decade ago. I am now leading all of these aspects of the organisation through a whole new phase of media evolution, the digital era.
What inspires you most and what keeps you inspired?
On a personal and professional level I aspire to be an active part of the ongoing evolution of Dubai, both the city and the brand. This is an exciting time for both of these elements, with the Emirate soon to welcome the world to Expo 2020 Dubai.
Expo 2020 Dubai is just one example of a bigger than life idea and it is these kind of grand ideas and concepts that truly inspire me. We are fortunate in Dubai to be part of one of the largest and most momentous city projects in the world, and I am thankful to have been provided with the opportunity to be involved in some of the exciting plans and projects such as those I have worked on with DMI. The team I work with to deliver these projects keeps me inspired through their strength, creativity and dedication, and our collective efforts are the key driver behind the success of the organisation’s brand. The projects we work on together are what get me out of bed in the morning, and planning, managing and executing a good campaign provides me with a great deal of satisfaction and keeps me going.
Is there a specific area that you focus on at DMI?
My role at DMI comprises of a broad range of activities, and on a day-to-day basis I formulate and execute the research, marketing and commercial strategies of the network. The research component is fundamental to our business, as what we find in each research project provides us with the information we need to create carefully targeted campaigns, which is crucial to distinguish us within an increasingly crowded media and broadcasting landscape.
I’m a big believer of the power of tailor-made research as it helps in setting a solid fact-based foundation for our business, marketing and commercial initiatives. This component of DMI’s work is front and central to the organisation’s overarching strategy, and it affords me the opportunity to work in partnership with a number of different departments all across the network. All of these different aspects make my work extremely challenging and fascinating. I have a great deal of passion for what I do.
Which is your favourite piece of content/work (both within DMI and outside), something that you take great pride in, and why?
It is actually impossible to choose a favourite, as each launch and event has its own story and distinct personality. We take great pride and joy in every project we do and treat each piece of work as if it is our one and only, giving it all the love and attention it needs. This dedicated, tailored approach is what makes each of our projects a stand out success. Our team’s hard work has paid off significantly and I am proud of the contribution it has made to where we are today, with exciting projects ahead of us and a string of memorable success stories behind us.
Externally I would choose the successful global Expo 2020 Dubai bid. Even to be involved with the bid was an honour and a positive and challenging process, however winning the bid was a whole other level. Not least because of the considerable positive effects this significant event will produce for our country.
What do you see are the biggest challenges that traditional broadcasters per se face given the current context of content generation and new media invasion?
The technological revolution which has swept the globe has had a hugely significant impact primarily on how people engage with media – you can see from your own usage how this has become a lot more active rather than passive following consumer empowerment. Modern technology has provided consumers with advanced and easy to operate tools including state-of-the-art media software and applications, which have had the effect of altering media habits.
In turn, at DMI we dedicate a lot of resources towards conducting research into how customers use digital platforms and research in general; media organisations such as ours require reliable information on how these platforms are used. Although such materials are widely available, the tracking data in this respect tends to be unregulated and has a questionable level of credibility.
I believe that the good news is that an overly saturated media market provides an opportunity for experienced broadcasters, who have the tools and the know-how to provide their viewers with what they want, considering the unique and diverse mix of cultures in Dubai.
As a broadcaster in an extremely segmented market like the UAE, what do reckon are your biggest marketing, branding & content related challenges and how are you going about addressing them?
The modern media landscape is constantly evolving and changing, with new technologies coming in leaps and bounds. DMI works in tandem with these technologies, employing digital, social media and advanced interactive platforms to reach its audience where they consume media.
This new media utilises segmented and on-demand content, personalised to what the viewer wants and prefers to watch. Customers’ smart devices are having an increasingly significant impact on the viewer experience and are creating what we are now calling ‘smart viewing’, where users can watch at their leisure and their convenience, even extending to advanced media such as virtual reality. Furthermore, ‘Geomapping’ technologies undertake careful study of viewer information, to learn about target audiences with a view to creating content that is tailored to their preferences.
Do you see Dubai/UAE becoming a hub for Television content conceptualisation and production?
From what I can see this is already happening – Dubai has long been an innovative media centre and has created whole zones which are dedicated to different media. These include hubs scattered across the city such as Dubai Media City, Studio City and International Media Production Zone.
Through the combined efforts of all of these different zones, Dubai is positioning itself as the new capital of media production in the MENA region. The UAE has for many years been a regional and global media innovator and our organisation has been a fundamental part of this. Much of our work is based out of the Emirate’s specialist media zones, along with many of our partners. From a personal perspective I am proud to be a part of this wave, and I believe that much of the groundwork that has already been laid in the Emirate’s media development will soon bear fruit with output of increased regional and global significance.
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