Aberdeen-based businesswomen, Sarah Downs and Yekemi Otaru have merged their existing businesses to create Doqaru Limited. The deal was first announced on 22nd November 2018. Doqaru is a business growth specialist unifying strategic marketing and business development. They support energy and technology companies at every stage of their business journey from startup, turnaround and growth, diversification and towards an exit.
Since founding their individual businesses — Sarah Downs Ltd and YO! Marketing — Sarah and Yekemi have supported over 60 companies combined.
What Yekemi Says About Doqaru
“There’s a real opportunity to bring an aligned approach to establishing and growing technology-related companies. Sarah is an experienced business development specialist. She understands the importance of strong relationships in generating long-term business. Along with my technical background and experience in marketing strategy and content marketing, we can support our clients’ online presence and drive offline conversations. Our forte is embedding the processes and foundation for future growth.”
What Sarah Says About Doqaru
“The merger harnesses a complementary offering. It creates the opportunity for us to add further value to our clients and fully align our services. After working together on an associate basis for the past 18 months, it’s exciting to be officially working together to establish and scale up Doqaru.”
Based at The Silver Fin Building in Aberdeen’s city centre, Doqaru already has a strong client portfolio and a six-figure revenue forecast for 2019. This will create further jobs in the business. The Aberdeen businesswomen plan to continue collaborative relationships with associate companies to add more value to their clients.
What Others Say about Sarah and Yekemi, Directors at Doqaru
Engineering Director at EC-OG, Robert Cowman said,
“I have known Sarah and Yekemi for a long time. For any young business and its team, it is difficult to spend time doing all the things that are required to make it work. While you are likely to be desperate to develop your technology, you also have to build a strong network and market your product to the right people. Sarah and Yekemi have the talents and skill sets that will certainly help you do this.”
The new website will fully launch in early 2019 but in the meantime, you can visit the holding page at https://doqaru.com
for more information. More updates to come.
Last week, Wetherspoons announced that it is shutting its social media accounts. The award-winning pub chain had over 44,000 followers on Twitter and 100,000 on Facebook. Was it a brave or a stupid move? Time will tell. In this article, I discuss the main reasons that Wetherspoons took this decision and what you can do if you decide to shut off your company’s social media presence.
Wetherspoons saw no real benefit from social media
In 2018, the average Wetherspoons Tweet received six retweets and four likes. When you consider that the chain serves three million pints a week, it hints that their customers are not really engaging with the chain on social media. Overall, Wetherspoons doesn’t believe that shutting down social media will have any business impact. Social media appears to be the wrong fit for Wetherspoons’ customers.
If you don’t have social media accounts for your business or you are thinking about shutting yours down, here are key things to consider:
Are your customers actively engaging with brands on social media?
First, analyse your target customers. Find out if they follow their favourite brands on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. If they do, dig deeper to uncover how they engage. Are they mainly making complaints, giving feedback or sharing content about their experience with the brands? Whatever you discover, ensure that your business is not missing out on valuable feedback and engagement. If you decide not to be on social media, implement other feedback processes e.g. through your website or a customer service centre.
Make Your Website A Hub of Activity
Your website should be the centre of all your activity. Even if you have a strong social presence, your content should lead visitors to your website to learn more and grow your lead generation activities. Create a hub of regular content and resources for your customers on your website. Develop a good understanding of the topics that customers want to read about. Then ensure that they know that it is available on your website.
Develop Robust Email & Direct Marketing Programmes
Following on from the last point, you must let customers know about the content on your website. If you have no social media accounts, distributing content could get tricky. Wetherspoons has a magazine that it uses to reach its customers. Customers can get the magazine through direct mail or via one of the pubs. Another way to reach customers is to develop a robust email marketing list. This can be done through contact forms on the website, contests and in the pubs (by asking customers to fill out a form).
Create A Referral Scheme
If you have good engagement with existing customers through direct mail, email marketing or in person (at the pubs), you could implement a referral programme to encourage them to recommend your business to others. You could tell your existing customers about the programme by direct mail, your website and email for instance.
Make PR Your Friend
Bill Gates famously said, “If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on PR.”
If you are not on social media, you need another channel to develop your brand story, make announcements about your business and to address the public in a crisis. Hire a good PR company that understands your industry and its influencers. Spend time developing a story that will engage your target market and push the story into the media as often as possible.
Do Events Well
Some customers just don’t do social media. But many will come to a great event. Events are a fantastic way to meet in person and give your customers an experience of your company culture and brand. Use events to bring partners, customers, employees and suppliers together. Or keep the different stakeholder groups separate. Whatever you do, do events well. Ensure that it is well-organised and relevant to the attendees. Follow up after the events. And don’t forget to ask for feedback!
Scotland’s 40 Under 40
Yekemi Otaru joins 39 other business innovators included in the Scotland’s 40 Under 40 list for 2016. She is Managing Director at YO! Marketing Limited. She is also a second year part-time DBA student with the Department of Marketing at Strathclyde Business School.
On hearing the news, Yekemi noted, “I’m totally honoured to have made the Scotland’s 40 Under 40 list with a host of awesome achievers.”
Before YO! Marketing
Yekemi worked in software-related engineering roles for five years. She then moved into senior marketing roles because she saw an opportunity to translate complex engineering ideas into ideas that senior managers can buy into.
She won several internal awards for her leadership, creativity and passion for sharing knowledge with her peers. Yekemi led strategic marketing for the flexible pipes business at GE, providing customer, competitor and market intelligence which was vital for developing business’ product line strategy.
Yekemi recently became a published author with her first book, ‘The Smart Sceptic’s Guide to Social Media in Organisations’ (Rethink Press 2016). She based the book on research she conducted between 2012 and 2015. She interviewed marketing experts from companies like IBM, Dell, GE, SAS and EMC as part of her research. The result was a three-step framework for implementing social media programmes with employee participation. The book entered Top 100 in five categories on Amazon UK during its launch in February 2016. The book continues to rank well in the Social Networks (Kindle) and Web Marketing (Paperback) category.
Most recently, Yekemi drew on her research into social media to led the implementation of the company’s first employee social media advocacy programme. Starting with 30 employees, the initial pilot was successful. Website traffic increasing by 15% and several sales leads generated just a few weeks into the programme. Plans are in place to roll out the programme to up to 100 employees across all Lloyd’s Register.
Now and The Future
Yekemi is now a B2B marketing consultant, working with mostly with engineering and advanced manufacturing firms.
Along with her Bachelors & Masters degrees in Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Yekemi has an MBA (Distinction) from Henley Business School, Reading. At the business school, she is researching the conditions for positive market outcomes in digital innovation. She plans to develop an offering to support digital innovation in various industry sector.