The huge influx of expats to the Middle East has had an impact on the way business is carried out in the region, increasing development and attractiveness to investors have fuelled B2B marketing maturity and education. But with a B2B media industry that remains small by international standards, there are still many cultural and regional factors which can surprise global marketers.
Traditional familial and tribal kinship patterns are reflected in current business structures as trust and relationships are rooted in the history of the region. Personal recommendations from trusted sources are highly valued, thus, the majority of business decisions here can be swayed by testimonials from friends and family.
As a result of these business practices, the hallmark of any successful B2B communications campaign in the Middle East should revolve around building your network to generate referrals. While this principle is the same in the UK, the USA and around the world, it holds particular significance here.
Quality content generation in the Middle East can be a challenge for B2B marketers as many clients don’t recognise the value of outsourcing to professionals, even though content within the region needs to be highly localised, retaining its original message and effectively engaging prospects. ‘One size fits all’ simply does not work here.
Digital Public Relations
The use of digital PR is rising sharply and there are now more than 30 million social media users in the Middle East, with each region holding its own degree of digital PR potential. Although there has been a considerable increase in digital PR budgets in 2011, there are still three big challenges in digital PR for the client in the Middle East: budget, monitoring (tools and expertise) and bandwidth.
The Middle East is one of the few regions in the world where daily and trade publications continue to see growth in print circulation, as the primary source of business news. A study from the Arab Media Forum, which analysed news patterns in the region with a specific focus on Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Egypt and the UAE, revealed that while a majority of readers are still turning to print media, the regional political climate has led to a significant shift in news consumption to more digital sources. This is a slow evolution that is expected to pick up steam in the coming years.
The Route to Success
Executing a successful B2B communications campaign in today’s Middle East requires strong insight to how things work in the region coupled with practitioners/marketers who speak the language of business. While it may lack some of the sophistication seen in Europe or the US, the hallmarks of engaging communications are there.
The White Paper
This article is an extract from a white paper authored by Annette Fernandes (Client Services Director, Fifth Ring Dubai), Ed Davis (General Manager & PR Leader, Fifth Ring Houston) and Sam Dancy (Head of PR Fifth Ring Dubai).
Entitled, ‘Successful Business-To-Business (B2B) Marketing Communications in the Middle East’, the paper takes an in-depth look at each of the channels above and offers unique insight into the most effective communication methods for this growing region.
Successful Business-To-Business (B2B) Marketing Communications in the Middle East is available as a free download here.
The hallmark of any successful B2B communications campaign in the Middle East should revolve around building your network to generate referrals