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February 10, 2015

Member Spotlight: Attiya Abdulghany, Founder and CEO of Oliver + Sons

Members Spotlight is a blog series where we will be telling the stories of our member companies and entrepreneurs — how they got started, what motivates them, and advice they’d like to share

Today I sat down with Attiya Abdulghany, founder and CEO of Oliver + Sons. Here’s what she shared with me.

Q: Describe what Oliver & Sons does in a few sentences?

Soup to nuts digital strategy consulting. We take companies that are based online or looking to grow online and craft strategies to help them do that. We do everything from UX and web development to social media and content marketing. We’ve even done business model and monetization strategy for earlier phase companies.

Q: Tell me about the early days. How did you get started?

It actually happened by accident. I worked out in Silicon Valley as the VP of marketing for TuneUp Media. I worked there for 5 years, did some traveling, and moved back to Baltimore. As soon as I got back from traveling, a bunch of my old contacts reached out to me for consulting work and one client led to another. Now I have a team of 6 with a virtual office, based all over the world.

Q: What really sets you apart from the competition? What do you see as your differentiator?

A couple of things. A lot of agencies employ people who only have agency experience. I’ve found there to be a big difference between working in-house for a company and being a 3rd party on the outside consulting. All of our team members have in-house experience. We look at situations from a different perspective, as in-house teams are generally accountable for different things.

Second, we’re not super specialized. We do everything. I find that you can’t really approach marketing in a piecemeal fashion. Taking a more holistic approach leads to better results.

 Q: What has been your biggest challenge so far?

Managing a virtual office has been challenging. I have employees in San Francisco and some in Spain. The 9 hour time difference can make communication difficult, especially when working with clients.

Q: What do you see as the top trends in digital marketing for 2015?

  1. Content marketing!
  2. Marketing automation— the process of nurturing your potential consumers into paying customers in an automated fashion. Using email and social media to create a personalized and contextual experience for them.
  3. UX is continuing to grow. Everyone should be paying attention to that.

Q: If you could give one piece of advice to future entrepreneurs, what would it be?

First, go into every situation prepared. Take a step back and take the time do your research. There is SO much free data available to help you make better decisions—take advantage of that! Second, if you try to do something once and it doesn’t work out, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Keep trying! Something will end up working out and if not, know when you’re supposed to pivot. 

Learn more marketing tips + tricks from Attiya at part 3 of our Digital Marketing Series, A Crash Course in Google AdWords, this Wednesday 2/11 from 6-9pm here at Betamore.



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