Marketing Maverick: Karim Mouahbi, Head of Marketing at Mad Paws #APACLeaders

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Paul Writer interviewed Karim Mouahbi, who is based in Sydney as Head of Marketing for Mad Paws, Australia’s leading pet sitting marketplace that’s backed by Qantas Ventures. Karim has previously led fast paced marketing teams throughout Asia, Europe and Australia whilst working for Rocket Internet at THE ICONIC and Foodpanda. With 9 years experience at local and global e-commerce and marketplace companies, Karim creates lean and agile teams who are able to move at speed with world class execution. His specific expertise lie within Search, Display, Remarketing, Mobile & CRM for startups in the setup, optimisation & automation phases.

With innovative disruption changing the digital economy, customer expectations are on the rise. How have you changed your digital marketing strategies to deal with rising customer expectations? 

Mad Paws is at the forefront of harnessing the power of disruptive innovation. Traditionally the way our field operates is quite outdated- which is the dog kennels, and dog boarding industry. We saw an opportunity to create a solution that is far more personalized and far more loving. In this day and age, people are spending a lot of time on their pets, and the humanization of pets is growing. When they go on holidays, people want their pets to have as good a time as they do. They want to ensure their pets are in a safe and caring environment.

The way we facilitate this is through our mobile app which allows pet owners to chat with their pet sitter, get regular photo updates of their pet, as well as book other services for their pet. We also have different types of badges for our pet sitters to make our customers feel more at ease, from identity verification badges to police check badges.

Our social media is regularly updated with relevant content, and our email and SMS marketing is hyper-personalized to provide customers content relevant to their pet. So for example, I own two Labradors so I receive specific information regarding my pets from Mad Paws. Our community is very engaged and active, and we send emails every three days with edifying content on how to be better pet owners.

How much impact does your social media strategy, and mobile app marketing have on your ROI? What are the online platforms that work well for your organization?

Facebook and Instagram fit our demographic best. We have a Facebook community of about 70,000 people who are active members. We have our organic side of social media which includes our community, and then the paid campaigns.

For our paid social media marketing we leverage Facebook’s lookalike audience, targeting audiences based on geography and interests. This is a powerful tool for us, especially with the Customer Lifetime Value that can now be uploaded to your audience on Facebook. It helps us run incredibly targeted campaigns that yield results.

Most of our campaigns are user generated content campaigns. We incentivize our database to share as much content as they can. The incentive can be as small as a Mad Paws t-shirt, or a pet care package.

Influencer marketing, AR/VR, chatbots, hyper-personalized marketing are the growing trends of today. As a modern marketer, what is your view on the use of martech in your marketing strategy?

Influencer marketing is the modern day validation for brands. We invite influencers to participate in a pet stay and to document their journey which has proven to be a great growth hack for us.

Automation is something that is critical for high growth startups. Once you successfully go through the three phrase of growth hacks- testing, learning, scaling- that’s when automation or a streamline process is brought in to integrate it in business. We used that methodology and in 30 days we were across 3 different review platforms, had 5000 five-star reviews when we had started out with just 250.

Technology does play an important role in connecting customers with the brand in today’s world. In our case, it comes down to the matchmaking between the pet owner and pet sitter. We leverage technology to gather as much information as we can about pet owners and funnel it back into our search to find lookalikes across different platforms.

How do you describe a modern marketer of today?

It’s essential that we understand data, and the significance of it when breaking down the customer journey and really understanding what steps should be taken by a company to empower the customers.

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