Would You like a feature Interview?
All Interviews are 100% FREE of Charge
Nadeem Azam has been at the cutting-edge of entrepreneurship for over forty years and generated over £1.5 billion in sales for clients during his illustrious career.
He is also an experienced writer, having had his work extensively published in local and national press in the UK as well as several magazines and academic journals. His fiction and non-fiction is studied in schools and universities in the United States, Germany and other countries.
Nadeem Azam founded Azam Marketing, the world’s first full-service pure-play internet marketing and design agency in 1997.
The company is headquartered in Bloomsbury in central London and its corporate website is at https://www.azam.net
Nadeem was a successful computer programmer in the 1980s in his childhood. In the 1990s, alongside his entrepreneurial initiatives in the IT field, he also enjoyed an acclaimed career as a writer and sub-editor at various British newspapers, magazines and journals.
Nadeem foresaw the decline of ‘old media’ and decided to pioneer an online business. Still thriving after a quarter of a century, Azam Marketing specialises in social media, search, email, and performance marketing, as well as website design and development, digital and print design, and business consultancy services.
The multi-award-winning agency’s has a roll call of clients in 32 countries around the world. These range from corporations such as Disney, Coca-Cola, Hilton, Warner Bros., Nike, Philips, Unilever and BT, to small and medium size companies and start-up businesses.
Nadeem is often invited to be interviewed on television and radio stations around the world to share his expertise and is highly-rated public speaker. These includes the likes of the BBC, where he has been interviewed multiple times on television and radio, and Sky News.
Table of Contents
THE INTERVIEW: Nadeem we are delighted to share your knowledge, experience & insights with the GallantCEO audience. Lets begin with a little introduction. Tell our audience a bit about yourself and Azam Marketing.
I started working for my father’s business when I was nine years old and have never gotten off the treadmill of entrepreneurship since then.
I have always been passionate about information technology. I would programme computer games as a teenager and had considerable success selling them. After building my experience in publishing and IT, I launched Azam Marketing, the world’s first full-service pure-play internet marketing and design agency in 1997.
Over a quarter of a century later, I am still CEO of Azam Marketing. We specialise in search, email, social media, and performance marketing, as well as website development, digital and print design, business consulting, and corporate training.
We now have clients in 32 countries around the world. Our roll of clients has ranged from corporations such as Disney, Coca-Cola, Hilton, Warner Bros., Nike, Philips, Unilever, and BT, to small and medium size companies and start-up businesses.
2021 and 2022 has been a tough year for business around the globe. In your experience can you share…
How can businesses prosper in 2023?
The challenges of the last few years have taught me a lot about the importance of resilience, adaptability, and innovation. Businesses that are able to embrace these qualities will be well-positioned to succeed in 2023 and beyond.
Here are four key lessons businesses can learn from the past few years:
(1) Be adaptable: Businesses that were able to quickly adapt to changing circumstances during the pandemic were more likely to survive. We are heading into a recessionary environment going forward and, therefore, businesses should continue to be flexible and adaptable, anticipating changes in the market and responding accordingly.
(2) Embrace digitalisation: The pandemic accelerated the shift towards digitalisation, and businesses that embraced this trend were able to continue operating and serving their customers. Azam Marketing’s most successful clients are those organisations that invest in technology and digital tools to stay competitive.
(3) Prioritise customer experience: The pandemic and then the more recent ‘cost of living crisis’ has resulted in people becoming more selective and discerning about where they spent their money. In 2023 and beyond, businesses should prioritise customer experience by offering personalised, seamless, and convenient experiences.
(4) Build resilience: The pandemic was a stark reminder of the importance of resilience in the face of unexpected challenges. Businesses should build resilience by diversifying their revenue streams, building strong partnerships and relationships, and investing in their employees’ well-being and development.
The economy has been turned on its head in the wake of the pandemic. What should businesses focus on in 2023?
In the wake of the pandemic, businesses should focus on building and structuring their operations for long-term sustainability. I believe there are three specific areas businesses should focus on in 2023 and beyond, where relevant to them:
(1) Digital transformation: The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies and the shift to remote work. Businesses should focus on digital transformation, investing in technologies and tools that can help them streamline their operations, improve efficiency and enhance the customer experience.
(2) Supply chain management: The pandemic and the war in Ukraine have exposed vulnerabilities in global supply chains. Businesses should focus on building resilient supply chains by diversifying suppliers, reducing reliance on a single geographic region, and investing in technology and processes that can improve visibility and efficiency.
(3) Customer experience: The pandemic has fundamentally changed consumer behaviour and expectations. Businesses should focus on providing seamless and personalised customer experiences. Using data and analytics will help you better understand customer needs and preferences.
Many businesses went from working in the office to working at home.
What are the pros & cons of working from home and have you any first-hand experience?
In over a quarter of a century of running Azam Marketing, we have tried different models of working, from full remote to full in-office to hybrid. We now adopt a flexible model. The four key factors we consider are (1) the needs of our clients, (2) the needs of our staff, (3) productivity, and (4) employee well-being.
When I work from home, on the plus side I find I work more productively. I can focus on my work without as many distractions. However, running a company, I need to have very regular contact with my staff, clients, and business partners, and I don’t enjoy communicating with them only or mainly via email, telephone calls, and Zoom meetings. I much prefer face-to-face contact. Therefore, personally, I am at my happiest when my colleagues and I are shooting the breeze in person!
The war between Russia and Ukraine has caused a rising effect on inflation…
How can business owners combat the rise of inflation and what have you done that you can share?
Inflation is currently at or nearest its highest rate in many years in quite a few countries and it can be devastating for businesses.
Businesses need to do everything possible to tackle its persistence and maintain their margins. Some strategies they can employ include:
Negotiating prices: renegotiating and negotiating prices with suppliers or vendors of goods and services can help to mitigate the effects of inflation.
Adjust prices: businesses can adjust prices to reflect the increased cost of goods and services.
Trim the fat: ruthlessly reduce unnecessary expenditure. My company has helped our clients to slash their expenditures on things like Content Management Systems, Email Service Providers, telecommunications, advertising spend, etc. We have, for instance, procured similar tools and technologies to what they were previously using for them at much reduced costs or used our expertise to optimise their marketing campaigns to generate superior Return on Investments. We have saved some of our clients hundreds or thousands of pounds a month!
In the last 5 years, we have seen the rise of Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, NFTs, Digital Marketing, and many more!
What do you think will impact the world most in regard to online selling?
One of the biggest impacts on online selling in the coming years is likely to be the continued growth and adoption of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.
Blockchain technology enables secure and transparent transactions, making it an ideal solution for e-commerce platforms and online marketplaces. Cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum provide an alternative payment method that offers fast and low-cost transactions without the need for intermediaries such as banks or payment processors.
Another trend that is likely to have a significant impact on online selling is the continued rise of social media commerce and social commerce platforms. For Azam Marketing’s clients, social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook are growing in importance by the month, leading to ever-increasing sales.
In China, gargantuan volumes of sales occur within social media and communications apps, also known as ‘Super Apps’, such as WeChat. The ratio of eyeballs to sales in the equivalent apps in Europe and North America is considerably less – for instance, there are comparatively minuscule ratios of sales happening in WhatsApp – and therefore I see this as a huge avenue for growth in many parts of the world.
On a more subtle note…
If you could have dinner with three people, dead or alive who would it be and why?
A tough question to only pick three!
I would choose these three figures from history:
Sun Tzu – the ancient Chinese military general and strategist. He is best known as the author of ‘The Art of War’, a treatise on military strategy, which is still studied in military academies around the world. I was intrigued by his book and would find it fascinating to have a conversation with this master tactician.
Alexander the Great – this Macedonian needs no introduction and was another master military strategist of course. I don’t think he’d enjoy his meal as I’d be firing questions at him to try to get an understanding of what made him the mind-blowing force he was.
Jesus – talking of incredible figures, despite all the millions of words that have been written about him, we know relatively about Jesus. For instance, the Gospels don’t tell us much about his childhood. I’d give my right arm to know what made him the extraordinary being he was, what actually happened in his life, and the reality of the last few days of his tenure in this world.
Reading is still one of the most popular ways to learn anything.
What is your most recommended book(s) by who and what did you learn from them?
David Allen’s ‘Getting Things Done’ has spawned a whole industry within the field of productivity. The seminal guide has transformed the way I work. It has taught me to be much more effective and productive and to do my tasks while feeling less overwhelmed.
Viktor Frankl’s ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ is another of my favourite books. Frankl was a prominent Viennese psychiatrist but was interred in Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps. It is a remarkable tribute to hope and offers us an avenue to finding greater meaning and purpose in our own lives.
What is your purpose for getting out of bed each day and what do you aim to achieve in the future?
Our time on this earth is limited. Therefore, we need to make each and every day count. My raison d’etre is to play whatever part I can in making this world a better place and a key ingredient of that is enthusiastically supporting my fellow human beings along their journeys in life.
On a professional level, I try to do everything I possibly can to enable my colleagues and clients to prosper. For instance, I make sure that Azam Marketing spends a significant amount of resources on teaching our staff skills they would like to learn. I get tremendous satisfaction when I see clients and colleagues succeed in their goals, whatever they may be.
Outside of the world of work, I spend as much time as I possibly can trying to help others. By way of example, I look after three elderly people who are aged between 75 and 90 who live by themselves and don’t have anyone else to support them.
I fall short of what I would like to be able to do for others, but my biggest source of joy is putting a smile on other people’s faces. For instance, people joke that I am the biggest giver of gifts and cards on the planet (I don’t think I am!). Indeed, a few of my friends have banned me from giving them gifts and cards, saying I should instead focus on getting things for myself. However, my philosophy is to prioritise serving and spending on others.
In terms of the future, I have hugely ambitious plans for Azam Marketing. We have been beavering away behind the scenes for the last two years on creating some pretty clever tools and technologies. For instance, one of them will enable us to drive more sales, at a lower ROI, for our clients through targeted organic and paid social media campaigns. I am excited about launching these technologies later this year.
Our strapline at Azam Marketing since day one has been “Simply Results” and delivering superlative results is our obsession. I am looking forward to continuing to delight our clients by exceeding their exceptions and producing astounding results for them as we are renowned for.