MENA consumers are getting more tech savvy and their online presence is growing exponentially. Only a couple of years ago, online shoppers were a rare breed in the region and print publications were all the rage; today, technology has taken over and MENA brands need to adjust their marketing efforts and embrace the content marketing revolution.
Here are 5 big trends we think will be shaping online marketing in our region in the New Year:
1. Using great content to increase traffic and sales
MENA consumers are increasingly turning to the internet for reliable and useful information about various providers: nutrition tips from their favourite food bloggers and restaurants, the truth about the latest health fad from their physicians and healthcare providers, an insider’s travel guide on where to go and what to see during their next trip from their hotel booking site, travel blogger or credit card provider.
The lesson? Great content that talks around your business and not directly about your products is what will get you shared and increase traffic to your website.
Consumers realize that they are in demand and expect to be wooed by brands and the most competitive brands have become the most ardent suitors, wooing their customers to their websites and social media platforms again and again.
2. Video killed the Radio Star
It happened in the 80’s and now Video strikes again. While great content marketing is a basic requirement in today’s online marketplace, form is just as important as substance. Blog posts, articles and podcasts will still be important but video will rule in 2017; and in the Gulf region, video is fast becoming a favourite.
3. Creating original Arabic content
The expression “lost in translation” comes to mind when brands try to translate great content into another language, losing key nuances and messaging that allows them to connect with their customers. Original Arabic content is a must for marketers who want to establish their brands in the MENA region, and the ones who succeed in engaging customers in their own language will become leaders in their sector.
4. Using social media to spark a conversation.
When customers comment about a brand, or talk directly to them via social media, they should receive an immediate answer. In 2017, MENA brands will ensure they talk to their customers, nurture their relationship with them in order to maintain brand loyalty and reputation.
5. The age of the influencers
Influencers are big in the MENA region. In the past 3 years, social media influencers have become a force to be reckoned with, especially in the Gulf, with heavyweights coming mostly from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. In 2017, more and more brands will be on the hunt for the right fit: influencers who are a natural match to their story and their products. As a result, marketing budgets are being redistributed to cover the (increasing) cost of influencers and to create great content with them.