Digital Marketing in the Middle East: Where is the Gap?

Digital marketing in the Middle East have been growing and expanding, but what about effectiveness? The Arabic consumers have changed. The digital experiences are no longer new in the local markets … they are expected to bring a value.

While there is a massive amount of digital campaigns in the region, the Arabic consumers are eagerly looking for something more specific, personalized and unique. The gap will increase between the consumer and the marketers if the digital experiences doesn’t adapt to these changing expectations.

I have spoken to a large number of brands in the region looking to increase their digital marketing and while there is a definite desire for investing into digital, there is an equal lack of understanding in critical objectives such as how to measure and track the results, or how to personalize content. In most of the cases, they are more convinced with quantities and the short-term results. I have been watching digital agencies running everywhere on social networks to just fill the plate with numbers.

So what is next? We all know that the market will certainly have to consider new expectations or to be more accurate “the right expectations”. To put digital marketing in perspective, you have to implement it in your overall strategy. It is not anymore something you can just assign it to an agency or team and expect it to work like magic. Yes, digital marketing not anymore a “plug-and-play” tool.

The Evolved Customer

It is clear to everyone now that the evolution of marketing is moving beyond the goal of creating new customers to the concept of creating evolved customer. No wonder that the content-driven experiences are now the natural-selection process that moves the customer along.

To succeed in the Middle East, marketing departments must themselves evolve. They must not only advertise the brand by describing the value that has been created in the product, but also to create differentiated experiential value that is separate from that product.

Personalized Digital Marketing

Personalized digital marketing is no longer a luxury. Some would even say it is the future. I believe that the consumers in the region are more interested in relevancy more than anything else. With those multiple social networks feeds and buzz feeds at every corner, there is a major need for personalization. Arabic content is still suffering from the lack of quality and quantity. Companies and brands are still relying on translating their marketing messages from English into Arabic instead of creating original content. Products are not providing enough content targeting the behavior of the Arabic users.

Personalization is one of the major gaps that digital strategists and content marketers should work on to achieve a better results in each market.

Conversion Optimization

Conversion metrics is not only helpful for setting the right expectations and ROI, but it’s very effective to learn more about your consumer. Understanding the audience is always the key for creating a targeted message and digital experience that appeals to that particular audience. Put in mind that every local market in the Middle East should have a different conversion and metrics. I always brought the conversion as the main topic for every campaign discussed with a client and with that I was able to set the right goals for the campaign.

Finally, digital marketing is not always about the top 10 practices or following the notes from speakers and gurus, it is all about innovation and testing. Middle East markets are not a major challenge if you get closer to your target segmentations and learn how to avoid the gaps.


Originally published at www.yasser.consulting on June 17, 2015.