Up&Ap: Martin Muli, the face behind SOMA Connect


Many are familiar with the Social Media Awards or SOMA as they’ve come to be known. Then we’ve also attended (or heard about) the Digital Fair, normally held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi. Of late, we’ve been introduced to SOMA Connect sessions at the NaiLab. But who’s behind all these initiatives which have created a platform for individuals to interact and share insights as well as brands to reach out to their target customers? Introducing Martin Muli, founder and CEO of Eyeballs Marketing… in our inaugural ‘Up&Ap‘ segment…

Q:Prior to setting up Eyeballs Marketing, what were you up to, were you employed and where? 

Martin: Well, I have had short term experience with different organizations. Worked shortly for Scangroup, MCcann Ericson as Intern account executive. My international internship program was at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada. I worked as project coordinator for the annual career Fair where we attracted more than 115 exhibitors and 4000 visitors. I also worked with Nation Media Group as Business Executive, Digital Department.

My best times as an employee were 4 months when I consistently went to the bank and found my salary waiting for me to spend.  I have been an hustler since then!

Q: What informed your decision to quite formal employment and set up your own outfit?

Martin: I was not born an entrepreneur but I was brought up in an entrepreneurship environment. Since class 4, I used to accompany my Grand father to his business, a busy posho mill. He had lots of issues with my teachers but he insisted I should always accompany him after class. I started buying my clothes at class 4. So I grew up as working..

In campus I sold mitumba from Gikomba. My friend as set up Zetu Kenya Ltd, the first group buying plaform in Kenya and invited me to be a partner where I became the Marketing Director. We did not have a lot of money so we used social media to market. I brought onboard different influencers to help push our products. That is how I realized the power of Social media. The idea of SOMA Awards was born.

They always said digital is the future. The future is here with us. We are the generation they talked about. #Positivechange

Q: Moving to Eyeballs Marketing, when was it set up, and are you the sole owner or you run it with partner(s)?

Martin: I set set up Eyeballs after realizing the power of digital marketing. Most people will measure success of marketing through the number of people who have seen an advert, Seeing through eyeballs! I am the sole director.

Q: Since you set up Eyeballs Marketing, what have been the firm’s major milestones?

Martin: The ability to successfully develop products, test and commercialize them. People believing in our products is a big milestones. Having sponsors and partners supporting our initiatives is always refreshing.

Q: You started with SOMA awards, moved to Digital Fair and now you’ve shifted your focus to the regular SOMA Connect events. Why this constant evolution?

Martin: We started SOMA which is an award platform. We realized corporates wanted to showcase their products at SOMA Awards and since it is only a 4 hours affairs. We decided to introduce a new platform to show case products, Digital Fair. Soma Connect is our outreach program that creates more awareness about social media to different sectors of the economy.

Q: What drives you as a person?

Martin: The possibility of positive impact. I always want to develop something that will positively transform the lives on people. Today you are here tomorrow you are not there.

Q: What are the objectives of three specific platforms – SOMA awards, Digital Fair and SOMA Connect – and what is each meant to achieve? Do they complement each other in any way?

Martin: All these platforms compliment each other. SOMA Connect is an Outreach platform for different people in the economy; SOMA Awards enables the people we talk to to up their social media game then participate in the  awards while finally, Digital Fair is a place where Digital Players meet and showcase their products and solutions.

Q: Where do you see Eyeballs Marketing and it’s various platforms in the next three or five years? What’s your vision?

Martin: We have been around for more than 3 years. As a start up, We know that we have to spend a lot of time understanding our target customers and refining our offering. We are now reading to venture into other countries in Africa. We will transform our products into a pan African offering that will positively impact Africans.

Q: Apart from the above three platforms, what can we expect from you and Eyeballs Marketing going forward?

Martin: We are working on more compliment products within the digital space. We will be launching several products that have been developed from feedback received from our target customers who consumer our products.

Q: Your parting shot?

Martin: They always said digital is the future. The future is here with us. We are the generation they talked about. #Positivechange