People can identify a great ad when they see one, but making sure that the right people see your ad at the right time is the problem that needs to be optimised. When we talk of the Middle East, digital marketing is growing on a gradual basis. But, the impact that it creates is reducing. The local audience is comfortable with digital experiences, but are facing a lack of personalised, unique and value-based content.
The marketing scenario has changed. It is not something that you can outsource to an agency anymore. Digital marketing is no more a “plug-and-play” tool and if you intend to put digital marketing in perspective, you have to implement it efficiently in your overall strategy. Simply delegating work and waiting for results is a thing of the past now.
The average Middle Eastern consumer is an ‘Evolved Customer’. While the goal of previous marketing was to create new customers, new marketing strategies aim to create evolved customers. This means that content-driven experiences are now the natural-selection process that moves customers along and helps keep them engaged.
Retail brands in the region have realised that getting their customers to talk about them is more powerful than talking to them directly. They are providing gateways where their audience can create content for their favourite brands and are providing incentives for the content that they create. These customer posts give a massive push to other consumers and are widely advertised on their stores and websites, motivating others users to follow.
Shoppers are interested to know what their friends or peers think of new stores and track these things online. If for instance, the hash-tag for a sale in the Mall Of The Emirates is trending on Twitter, they will definitely like to know more about it and try to get down to the store in-person to explore. In the Middle Eastern retail market, shoppers have become marketers. Your job is to make sure that that any online discussion about your product is positive, and in your favour.
Digitalization has also accelerated the ‘fragmentation’ of media consumption. There was a time when an ad on a prime time show was enough to reach 60% of the target audience, but now people spend their evenings scrolling through Instagram, Facebook and tweeting rather than only sitting in front of the television. So, marketing efforts need to be more widespread in order to increase reach.
In the Middle East, advertising practices were a little slower in adapting to the changing ways by which people consume content. The companies were spending a majority of their budget on print advertising, without realising the potential that digital marketing held. Things are now changing and more companies are investing actively to spread their reach in the online world. With huge smartphone penetration in the region, the companies have realised the importance of digital marketing and have changed their strategies to suit the changing need of their patrons.