Born In Los Angeles, Now In Abu Dhabi: Surkus Is Opening Up The World Of Experiential Marketing To All Businesses
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Founded by serial entrepreneur Stephen George, Surkus is a multi-sided experiential marketing platform that was launched in the United States in 2015, and it has since made its way to the Middle East by opening up in the UAE late last year at Hub 71 in Abu Dhabi. As an app that offers its members exclusive access to paid events and offers from brands in exchange for engagement, Surkus currently boasts of over 750,000 users around the world, with its clients having included big names like Netflix, MTV, Samsung, Amazon, Perrier and Live Nation. In the UAE, since its launch in October 2019, Surkus claims to have onboarded over 120 new businesses (with over 90% of these being SMEs) on its platform, while also hosting more than 950 events in the same span of time.
“Our traction so far has been very much through organic growth and word-of-mouth,” George replies, when asked about Surkus’ strategy with regard to the growth of its user base. “We feel that our initial community of members has the power to grow itself. As the number of businesses we’re working with continues to grow, consumers will find more value from the increased content available for them to engage with. We’re also seeing incredibly positive engagement via Instagram and other social platforms where our members frequently tag friends, encouraging them to download the app in order to start enjoying the benefits together. Finally, as Surkus continues to be the go-to platform for all customer engagement, we would be looking to our SME partners to engage their existing customer base by onboarding them to our platform.”
As an enterprise that makes use of algorithms that focus on delivering 100% RoI on every dirham spent to engage with potential customers, Surkus’ value proposition is very clear to the businesses that make use of the platform, George says. “Businesses spending thousands of dirhams on digital ads, PR promotion, influencer pushes, and other traditional marketing methods will certainly get exposure, but how many of the consumers targeted will actually convert and at what cost?” he asks. “Instead of hiring multiple marketing and promotion vendors, each coming with their own costs and little transparency on ROI, Surkus helps support a business on multiple forms of customer acquisition and engagement from start to finish. Surkus always includes full transparency on every dirham spent. This is crucial because it eliminates the need for wasted ad spend and expensive marketing channels, which can be crippling for SMEs.”
“We understand that every SME is different, and we work closely with local businesses, no matter their size, in order to understand their current business needs,” George continues. “They all struggle with how to best allocate their limited time and resources to maximize revenue. At the end of the day, they are just looking for more consumers to introduce their brand to. We found that instead of focusing on a how-to discount your way to growth, we help SMEs focus on engaging people through a simple value exchange with the brand. That exchange can be as basic as sampling a food item in exchange for the promotion of the store on social media, or for a review of their experience on another platform. Ultimately, we facilitate the connection and the exchange between a business and their ideal end customer.”
Having set up shop in Abu Dhabi now, George says that Surkus is now aiming to grow not just in the MENA region, but outside of it as well- while still being based out of the UAE capital. “This region has such tremendous value from a geographic and strategic point of view,” George declares. “As well as being one of the most digitally advanced in the world, it has grown into a real hub for startups in the region. The UAE is ideally situated within six hours from many capitals in the world, with 40% of the world’s population just a four-hour flight away. This makes it hard to not consider this as a global hub from that perspective. With that said, growing our team here allows us to support everything from global technology to operations for every market between Hong Kong and LA. I strongly believe that our regional headquarters in Hub 71, based out of Abu Dhabi, is the ideal launchpad for expansion within the MENA region and beyond. In the coming months, we are planning aggressive global expansion, with KSA, Canada, and Singapore next on the list.”