Tectonic Shifts in Digital Marketing

Social media and technology have shattered barriers and penetration rates are near 100% in the Arab region because of the youth bulge and business embracing digital media

One consequence of this tectonic shift has been client sides enlarging their digital marketing teams so that they minimize, if not eliminate, any need for outsourcing and to manage their own content. It is sometimes much easier and cost-effective to build an internal digital marketing team when a company does not have a huge budget and / or when it does not need to advertise on television. Streaming and online channels are gradually replacing television advertisements.

Trust Advisory did initial field work on digital marketing in UAE and identified the following trends, especially as social media content has proliferated over the last decade.

1) The client side has assumed greater control: Corporations and even small enterprises now use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and paid advertisements through their internal teams. The consumer has become the producer!

2) The supplier side needs more specialization: This specialization encompasses

• acquiring more publisher websites,
• having video production and editing services, and
• offering technical SEOs services

All other components of the digital marketing field are “open-access.”

3) Both the client and supplier sides now can find websites with high traffic on which to advertise. Websites like Khaberni, Roya.tv, Maan News, and others are quick examples. So, the competition is becoming more intense between the supplier side and client side for each to eclipse the other in partnering up with high-traffic websites.

4) Salespeople face a very uphill battle. Companies in the client side assume a caller is simply trying to sell them a service and they can cultivate almost any capability in-house.

Evidence abounds of the tectonic shifts in the client – supplier relationships. The client side often resorts to digital marketing agencies to build a website since this requires technical and coding expertise. 100% of the respondents from the supplier side indicated in the survey that building a website was the most common service they get, followed equally by Facebook and / or Google Analytics (80%) and digital marketing services (80%).

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google analytics

However, there are barriers to full company capitalization on digital marketing.

44%

of the survey respondents “disagreed” that their clients fully understand digital marketing

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100%

of them said their customers commonly do not have a high budget, this in an industry where competition is becoming fiercer.

This is why customers on the client side pay more for digital marketing services, not building websites

70%

of the survey respondents said digital marketing costs the clients the most.

So, because of this industry shift towards in-house digital marketing, e-commerce and technology-based companies are rising exponentially. They need to address several concerns with their customers to gain more market share:

cyber security ()

Trust & Cyber fraud

megaphone ()

Public awareness & publicity

language

Language barriers

denied

Overcoming institutional voids

Client companies, such as Madfooatcom, have succeeded in different degrees depending on their respective industries. Madfooatcom is an electronic payment gateway in Jordan, and its key advantage was that it won customers’ and households trust—this in a region where people do not trust websites and online payments. It processed JDs 6.7 billion in 2019 in bills—up from JDs 6.2 billion in 2018. In 2019, it processed JDs 1.118 billion in two months. It received $5 million in investments in 2015 and broke even in 2019 because people began trusting and utilizing it.

“Entrepreneurship is important; you search for a solution and persist. No money or connections. Digital [is the way to go]. We started it 2015 or 2016,” its founder Engineer Nasser Saleh said. “Now [March 2021], we have 85 employees.”

What the success of former start-ups has shown is the pivotal importance of adaptation, and very quickly. Such prominent (former) start-ups as Talabat, Madfooatcom, Aanaab, and numerous others have taken several vital steps to capitalize on consumer changes and the demographic transition in the region:

Made technology and social media indispensable to their operations
Used a dual-language website and interface with their customers and website visitors
Tried to bridge institutional voids, such as education
Consequently, what the Arab region now has is an exploding new terrain of e-commerce and social media. Companies in the client side are retaining control of the creative, financial, and strategic components of their digital marketing operations. So, the more they adapt, the faster the revenues they generate.
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Engineer Saleh shared, “Studying a partnership’s details, terms and conditions, business scales, what parts we control, small investment or large investment; it can be win-win.”

Engineer Saleh
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Consequently, what the Arab region now has is an exploding new terrain of e-commerce and social media. Companies in the client side are retaining control of the creative, financial, and strategic components of their digital marketing operations. So, the more they adapt, the faster the revenues they generate. Adaptability is a key ingredient now of sustainability, rather than self-protection.

Monitoring consumption patterns in many industries to decide on marketing budgets
Harnessing YouTube more consistently, not simply for advertisements