The 4 essentials for mobile marketing in UAE

Are you ready to buy? Image from Upstream.

Are you ready to buy? Image from Upstream.

Despite mobile use in the Middle East expanding rapidly, mobile ad spending is still lagging behind the rest of the world. So for companies in Dubai a fast entry into mobile marketing is the key to surging ahead of competitors.

Have a mobile site

It may seem obvious, but many businesses still don’t have a site that is optimised for mobile visitors. Because of the difference in screen size, a mobile website is configured differently and allows people to move around (and make purchases) with ease.

There are two different routes for creating a mobile site. Either you have a completely different site that is purely for mobile, or have a responsive website built. Many believe a responsive website is the only way forward; however this is for those who are building a new business website, or are having their old website re-designed. This is because a responsive website is a single site that responds to be seen at its best on multiple devices. If you already have a well-established site, a purely mobile site could be a less expensive way forward.

Another positive for building a mobile site is that it can be changed quickly on a standalone basis, whereas changes to a website will be seen by anyone coming to your site, not just the mobile visitors.

Just ensure that your mobile site (or responsive website) looks good on lots of devices, not just on your own or your designer’s mobile phone.

Use Facebook

Facebook is the dominant website in mobile for the majority of MENA countries, so should be integral to your mobile marketing campaign in UAE.

Firstly you need to set up a business page on Facebook and begin populating it with relevant content. That can be updates on campaigns, competitions, videos and product pictures. Give as much information as you can, such as your location and opening hours, as this helps when people do a local search on Facebook for businesses similar to yours.

Use Ads

Mobile ads do work, so it’s worth researching your market and getting some out there. And since so many people use Facebook, that is a reasonable place to start. Outside of that, use traditional marketing insight to target those online websites you know your customers use.

Also, using a mobile site means you can track where your customers are coming from and therefore plan future campaigns around the most successful traffic routes.


SMS is still an effective marketing scheme in the Middle East, and if you can give people a mobile site to visit you’re upping your chances of converting a visitor into a sale.







Apple is still one of the biggest brands out there. Is your business keeping it’s brand value?

Is your brand suffering from neglect? Or do you think it’s just not working for your business anymore? When a brand stops being a welcome sight for customers when see it, you know you are in trouble. However, the fact is many businesses don’t realise their brand has lost it’s appeal until it’s too late. Here are some classic symptoms of brands losing their shine.

The lure of the new

Your brand may have stood for something reliable and trustworthy in the past, but people have found a shiny new brand, and your business simply doesn’t cut it any more.

Because nothing stands still in business, when a new business starts muscling in on your territory you have to react intelligently before you start losing customers. The lure of something fresh is strong, and people will give it a go at least once to see if it’s for them. If they like it, they may never come back.

Keep on your toes and keep ahead of what customers want from your products and your brand.

Customer experience sucks

It’s easy to get complacent with your customers. They come back time and again, and then one day they don’t. You may never know why, but poor customer service is one of the highest ranking reasons for customers going elsewhere.

Test your customer service regularly to ensure you teams are doing their best at all times – not just for the big ticket clients, but the regular low spenders as well.

Your PR machine is boring

You may be spending a huge chunk of your budget on marketing, but is it in the right place? And does it really engage your customers’ interest. If your brand isn’t been seen, or heard, in the right places, customers may begin questioning the relevance of the products and services your brand represents, or even forget you entirely.

It’s not just getting good press, it’s about creating a buzz around your name. Get your thinking caps on and look at new marketing techniques to breathe life into your brand awareness strategy.

What’s with the logo?

It can cost a lot to update a logo, only to find customer’s preferred the old logo. Spend time and efforts getting it right in the first place to make it stick firmly in the customer’s mind.

If you have to rebrand, really consider every angle. Some customers won’t notice at all, others may be offended or turned off by it. Be careful with your logo, it’s going to be on everything you make or attached to everything you do.

Where are your cheerleaders?

Brand loyalty is something to be fostered. If you meet a really enthusiastic customer at a trade show, don’t look over their shoulder to focus on getting new customers, give them your time, be appreciative. You might even learn something about what’s so cool about your brand that makes them love it so much. And rather than ignore those nice words someone wrote on your Facebook page, thank them! These days people love connecting directly with their favourite brands, so it pays to be vigilant and not be…

Too quiet on social media

It is so easy to fall into the trap of setting up social media accounts, scheduling a few tweets, Facebook shares, or blogs. But if you don’t engage with the people you attract to your social media accounts, all that effort is wasted.

The whole point of social media is to interact with people: whether it’s to deal with a customer service problem, acknowledge someone’s made a really neat short animation using one of your products, or to shout out when someone wins a competition you’ve run, be social, not an automated robot.

Your brand is one of the most important elements of your business, so treat it well.


Marketing is an essential activity for any business, but it’s often difficult for new companies to know where to start. Here are three tops marketing tips that wont break the bank, but will get your marketing strategy off the ground.

Become a great networker

Yep the networking game is daunting, is often filled with time wasters and can be highly repetitive. However, it can also hold the key to accessing your next biggest client.

Networking is about building relationships, and building those relationships takes time. It’s not a quick fix for finding new clients; you have to put the effort in to get the work out of it. So don’t be pushy, don’t try to sell your business to the first person you meet. You have to get to know people and, more crucially, they have to get to know you.

Because trust doesn’t happen in the first couple of meetings, you have to select your networking carefully. Do some research. Many networking groups allow people to visit before joining. Go along to as many as you can in your area and see which one suits you and your business needs.

Once you’ve established one or two groups to go to, make the effort to turn up regularly and you’ll start to make connections. Some of those may not even be people in the room. Every person in a networking group has a huge number of their own contacts, and you’ll often find that the work comes from external contacts.

Remember: when a group of people start to trust you, they’ll start to see the worth in your business and either make an appointment to find out more for themselves, or pass on you details to someone in their own network.


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ISM needs to be recognised as a great local resource !

Being recognised with an award is a great way to market your company. An award promotes confidence in both you current customer and prospective customers.

There are lots of awards out there; it’s just a matter of finding the right ones for you. The first place to check is industry specific publications, then move onto local government awards, and then spread your net a little wider for left-field awards such as your online customer service.

Understand the criteria for applying and then put yourself forward. Winning is the aim, but if you don’t win the first year you enter, try again the following year.

And when you do win an award make a big deal of it – use it in e-shots, blog about it; add any badges to your website. It’s all about showing your customers and clients that you merit their attention.


Research your local newspaper reporters, online industry journalists and bloggers. They are the lifeblood of publicity and can be a really effective marketing tool for your business.

Your local newspapers will always be on the look out for stories about local businesses. Remember that award you won? Send a press release to the local paper– but make sure it’s a well written press release because the better it scans to the journalist the more likely they are to run the story, or even ring you up for more information.

Building up contacts in the press will help you market your business. You can reach a larger audience through news articles. When the article is written by someone trusted for their professional opinion, another layer of trust is given to your business.

Whether you are marketing a company in Dubai, Cairo or Sydney, the basics of publicity are the same. Just like networking, take your time to build up contacts. Don’t rush it, get too pushy, or become unpleasant. The least that can happen is you won’t get any press at all, but the worst… well bad publicity in the internet era is the last thing you need.


Nowadays, to be successful, your marketing strategy has to intelligently combine old and new mediums. Offline and online have to do more than simply passively co-exist, they have to support, nurture, and feed each other proactively.

It’s no longer effective to split your offline and online strategies; they have to be seen as a whole. Your shop, product, or branding experience should be mirrored on your website and throughout your digital footprint.

For example, in the offline world your point of sale display should have a QR Code, Twitter name or Twitter hashtag. This gives customers the ability to continue their journey with your business into the online world.

Once they make the effort to go online to see your virtual offering, make the journey exciting, interesting, and most of all, engaging. By offering customers money off vouchers for their next shop, the opportunity to win goodies, or let them download a free app, you’re on your way to integrating online and offline experiences. And you’ll be doing it in a subtle and fun way.

That’s just one simple aspect of an integrated marketing strategy. Every small aspect of your marketing strategy should be linked to the overall strategy. So if you’re giving people the opportunity to win free goodies, make them aware of it on more than one channel.

You can create one page on your website to direct people towards. Shout about it on Twitter, Facebook, on your own blog and through bloggers you’ve built a relationship with, e-shots, flyers, and small, mid season brochures. If you’re product is very visual, use Pinterest and YouTube.

taste stands

You've just missed the food festival in Dubai this year... but there's always next !

Offline you want to replicate this sense of community with traditional one-off in store promotions, guerrilla street marketing, billboard and mobile advertising, and customer satisfaction actions such as vox pop, giveaways and tasting stands.


At designated stages throughout the year, your marketing team will be producing analytical data. Data is a really good tool for seeing which areas of your marketing strategies are working, and which aren’t.

Good analytics will also tell you which areas are interacting most effectively. This way you’ll see how well a combination of in store promotions and online competitions works together.

Used properly, data analysis helps marketing and sales departments pinpoint natural sales points and areas that need further work.


Don’t look at social media, in store promotions, special events, and billboard advertising as separate entities. View them as part of an organic whole. Each activity blends together to create an overall concept of your business in your customer’s mind.

If you don’t know what your over-riding message to your customer is, and how to parlay that throughout every aspect of your marketing, your customer isn’t going to understand and appreciate what you’re offering.

Creating a well thought out, integrated marketing strategy requires time and effort, but without one you’re left with a scattered approach that will be less effective, and more time consuming to correct, in the long run.





At its best Guerrilla marketing is a low-cost way of boosting your company profile, as well as profits. At its worst, you efforts could fall flat, or even damage your company’s reputation.

So how do you avoid the latter? Guerrilla marketing has been around since the term was coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book, Guerrilla Marketing. Essentially it is an advertising strategy using unusual techniques to create a buzz around a product or company, without blowing the budget.

However, in recent times, big budget is often what is needed as large corporations and charities use it to get their message across. A recent example got LG international coverage for their television screens. Placing screens inside an elevator, when people got in the screens showed the floor falling away – scaring the elevator passengers, and getting LG the kind of viral coverage unheard of through traditional marketing.

On the face of it, this was a relatively small layout for the company considering how much attention they received from the world’s press outlets. But for small businesses this kind of financial layout isn’t possible.

It needn’t be that way. For small businesses, especially those who know the audience they want to target, guerrilla marketing can be also be effective, you just have to be more imaginative.

guerilla marketing

Even better when the cavities get exposed !

For example, a dental firm wrapped paper gums and tearaway teeth around telegraph poles. Passers-by could tear off the teeth to get the dentists details. It was fun, creative, and easy for people to interact with.

Another simple example of guerrilla marketing is to have a series of arrows, feet chalked onto the pavement, leading people to your shop front, or office. This is where you have to be careful though. There has to be a pay-off for the inquisitive person following your trail… a give-away or some money off your promotion line. Don’t leave people hanging or you’ll do more harm than good.

The trick to good guerrilla marketing is to leave people smiling, or to provoke a positive reaction. Toothpaste manufacturer Colgate used wooden stick inside an ice cream in a way that surprised and gently reminded people to clean their teeth. As the ice cream was eaten the hidden part of the stick was revealed to be a wooden toothbrush. Along the side were the words ‘don’t forget’. Simple, yet brilliant.

It’s all about surprising people. Taking an ordinary situation and turning into something that makes people stop and take notice. Wherever you find lots of people gathering is the best place to start. Yet even the traditional marketing tool, the carrier bag, can be turned on its head.

Guerrilla Marketing is an established tool, so get creative, look around the net for inspiration, and make the most of your marketing budget.