7 Trends Shaping the Future of Marketing


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Every year, the Northwestern University in Qatar conducts a survey titled “Media In The Middle East“. The future survey released this spring included a wide-ranging study of media industries in the MENA region including film, television, music, digital media, newspapers, advertising, and more.

The authors allege that “while MENA’s advertising industry is following the global advertising market in terms of its structure, it is several years behind in sophistication.” The paper alleges that while the MENA region has adopted the tech in itself, it has failed to recognize that its tactics have no place in a region that lacks the consumer behavior of the West it seeks to embody.

In order to achieve the sophistication required to truly execute on a marketing strategy, businesses in the region will need to come to terms with the following trends shaping the future of marketing:

Recognizing a Customer Journey Map and its Complexity
Demographics are gradually losing their fitting in the brand strategy boardroom, with behavioristic and psychographic segmentation conquering discussions & persona maps. Companies need to recognize that in order to prevent commoditization of their brands, they will need to be active on the platforms their prospects are active on during the awareness and consideration phases of the customer decision journey. Companies will also need to invest resources in mapping out the web of journey’s undertaken by prospects in reaching the desired destination. This can mean anything from offline to online tracking, even investing in the Internet of Things.

Mobile Messaging and Marketing 
Companies need to come to terms with their approach towards mobile marketing, testing to formats within the platform that will allow them to not just reach prospects, but do so in a manner that is unintrusive and real time within the micro-moments. Not only will mobile based search be a hot area to lead in, but so will mobile based messaging as a complimentary aspect of post-purchase communications.

Honestly Being Honest
There may have been a time when spilling oil into the sea and killing endangered marine life would have resulted in nothing more than a slap on the wrist by authorities and a day of outcry. Since social media, a rage of digital petitions has sprung up after every fiasco, pressuring authorities to take ruthless action against companies that threaten the fabric of society. Future companies will need to learn from their counterparts and speak to truth often, plan for the worst and be prepared to build communities around their mission beyond shareholders.

Data Driven Messages
Thanks to C2, future companies like 800Flower.ae can market flowers, chocolates, cupcakes and more to segments such as “Married Men”, “Recently Married Men” and “Men About to Propose” – offering each not just the right number of product specific emails in accordance with standard purchasing practices but also offer each segment the value added services that personalize the delivery of the gifts as well. In the era of C2, there is no need for a one size fits all messaging model when segment customized messaging is not only contextual but helpful as well.

Knowing Which Half is Wasted
Future companies will need to invest in the marketing technology that will dashboard the attribution and role of their media spend in the customer journey. Scandals on Facebook’s fraud aside, the fact of the matter is those future companies are now much better off in measuring advertising effectiveness than they were years ago.

Integration in Teams
Future executives must come to terms with a simple truth, that clutter breaking messaging will always be memorable. Once accepted, they must also realize that digital is a tactic that extends the big idea that has already been deployed via offline mediums. The world will move digital strategy in-house and leave the execution to the agency. Everything must integrate and companies will have to plug in digital to gain the best grasp of purchasing decisions.

Embracing Personalized Communications
In a region where immigrants and expatriates often outnumber locals in droves, companies will need to recognize the need to personalize communications for its targeted segments. The motivation behind a search, attendance or purchase tend to vary exponentially across not just origin geographies but also cultures. This point is brilliantly elaborated in last month’s issue of the Harvard Business Review in an article titled “When New Products Should Make Customers Feel in Control“. Study after study highlighted in the article points to evidence that instead of aiming to alienate an audience with complexity, communications surrounding new products need to appear familiar enough to appeal an audience seeking to retain control. As an example, the Southeast Asian expatriates that make up the meat of the Middle East are classic examples of an audience that seek to retain control, predominantly because their means do not predicate the allowance for experimentation in the expenditure department. Insurance companies partnered with the likes of

Insurance companies partnered with the likes of Fitbit have been able to access an audience that not only takes care of itself but is possibly seeking an external source of assurance or reward for doing so. That’s where insurance companies swoop in, with the value-driven plans that reward a healthy lifestyle. Companies managed to reward a healthy lifestyle and sign on low-risk customer segments, while assured that the Fitbit community will continue to raise the bar.

Babar Khan Javed
Babar Khan Javed is a brand journalist. He is a post-graduate of "Squared", Google's highest qualification for marketing strategy. His work has appeared in peer-reviewed journals such as Market Leader, Consulting Magazine, Global CMO and Brand Quarterly. He is interested in the dynamics of advertising including industry topics such as how media is being transformed by technology. He can only be reached at [email protected] and responds within 24 hours.


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