Magna MENA appoints new CEO

MCN MEDIABRANDS has appointed Bassem Massoud to the role of CEO of Magna MENA. With over 17 years of experience in leadership positions, Bassem most recently held the role of Regional Managing Director. In his new role, Bassem will build strong relationships with clients focusing on transparency and outstanding business results.

“I am very excited about this assignment and the interesting opportunities it presents to us,” says Bassem. “I look forward to continue building on the great work the whole Magna team is doing to participate in our clients’ success and growth.”

UM MENAT appoints new CEO

MCN MEDIABRANDS has appointed Joe Nicolas to the role of CEO of UM MENAT. With over nine years of experience within the agency, Joe previously held the role of Regional Head of Research and most recently held the role of Head of Strategy. In his new role, Joe will lead the agency by driving growth, building teams, developing and contributing to the success of clients’ brands.

“Having gone through a series of transformative moves during the last year, our next challenge is to build on a strong momentum and a determination to continue the mandate of change,” says Joe. “I’m excited to continue being part of an incredible team and working closely with all of our clients to unlock the potential of this region.”

Active DMC makes new promotions

Dubai-based agency, Active (Digital. Marketing. Communications) has promoted Lauren Brush and Stanislava Burianek to the role of Associate Account Directors. With a combined ten years of experience in public relations and communications, Lauren and Stanislava, and with four years within the agency, most recently held the role of Senior Communications Consultants. In their new roles, Lauren will lead a portfolio of healthcare, technology and industry clients and focus on expanding the healthcare division in the agency while Stanislava will handle all banking and finance clients while providing quality marketing and PR services.

“Lauren and Stanislava are ready for their extended leadership roles that include driving agency business growth and servicing clients’ diverse communication needs across Middle East,” says Sawsan Ghanem, Managing Partner, Active DMC. “I believe the road to successful growth and expansion is to focus on nurturing the talent from within and supporting leadership opportunities. Lauren and Stanislava possess a strong can-do attitude and complement each other. We look forward to seeing them assume their new senior roles and achieve further great results for our clients, partners, team and agency.”

In-house or outsource? That is the question.

Alex Ionides, Managing Director, Silx offers his thoughts on the content marketing and how outsourcing can be beneficial.


In reality, some projects are going to be better off in-house, some better off at an agency. The real challenge is deciding which will garner the best results in the long run – both in terms of cost and effectiveness.

Recently, the Association of National Advertisers reported that 78% of its members now have an in-house team, compared with 58% in 2013. The primary driver for this increase was a desire to save money.

But from my experience moving projects in-house often doesn’t work out to be as cost-effective as we hope.

In fact, done right, it’s the outsourced projects that actually end up saving money.

Here’s why.

Marketing is becoming too fragmented to be handled in-house

It’s increasingly unrealistic to expect one team to be the jack-of-all-trades. Take digital marketing as an example. You have website and experience (UX) designers, programmers, content developers, social media marketers, digital advertisers and search engine optimisers. It’s not feasible for one team to do them all at the highest level.

This isn’t just my view, but that of the industry as whole.

A 2017 survey by the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing found the industry is moving away from all-purpose marketing. One third of responders expected their teams to become more specialised, versus just 3% who thought they would be more generalised.

Specialist agencies give you everything you need

Agencies already have the talent and knowledge in place. You don’t have to deal with all the HR, hiring, and overheads required to fill increasingly fragmented roles. You gain instant access to all the experts you need.

In-house teams struggle to stay up-to-date

Beyond cost, a second argument made for taking work in-house is that this will foster a better understating of the brand. This may well be true. But does it foster a better understand of marketing? Tactics, trends, concepts – is the in-house team at the cutting edge when it comes to what is currently working well and what is not?

Content marketing is a great example here. Sure, the concept has been around for decades, even centuries. Benjamin Franklin was a (very) early adopter. But only in the last few years has its potential started to be realised.

The Content Marketing Institute didn’t even exist until 2007. A decade later and it’s collected enough data to show just how things are changing. Let’s take one example: In 2013, just 38% of business to business (B2B) marketers used infographics. In 2018, this had shot up to 65%.

Outsourcing lets you stay ahead of the game

Keeping the skills and knowledge required to stay on-trend can be expensive and time consuming. Even more so if you’re trying to do everything. The more you struggle to keep up, the more things spiral, the more costly it gets.

Specialist agencies have training in place to make sure everyone is up-to-date. In fact, the very best ones will be setting the trends, not following them.

In-house marketing eats away at time and creativity

Sure, sometimes the great idea just pops into your head during the drive home. But most creative thinking takes time, something a lot of in-house departments don’t have.

You actually have less, not more, control over the time of your in-house team. This is because everyone in the company wants to use them for every little thing. Their easy access becomes a problem, rather than the advantage it should be.

Outsourcing will give you freedom

By outsourcing you save yourself time. You can concentrate your efforts on leading the company with the right strategy and tactics, rather than getting caught up in the day-to-day intricacies of marketing campaigns.

Back in 2002, a longitudinal study of creativity and time pressures was undertaken on 177 people over 30 weeks by Harvard University. It found that time pressures severely hindered our cognitive processes related to creative thinking.

Great creativity will cut costs down the line. Your campaign gets the desired results, so you don’t have to spend more money trying something different.

Going in-house doesn’t necessarily mean you get a better ROI

Some people take marketing in-house because it’s easier to track the work done by employees and get a handle on the return of investment (ROI).

In the past this was probably true. But the digital revolution has swiftly changed not just how we work, and how we keep track of the work done.

Agency spend can be easily justified

There are now a huge range of digital metrics that can be used to monitor agency effectiveness. You can ask to see timesheets for a start. And you can monitor weekly website traffic, searches, referrals, and click-throughs.

Analysing this data will give you a very accurate feel for just how much work your agency is doing and how effective it is. This way you will be able to measure ROI and justify your spending.