Online and Social Marketing tips for the MENA region in 2011


2011 should be a better year in the market (we hope it turns out to be!) however things are still slow economically and businesses whether old or new have to be thinking carefully about how to market themselves, which makes every decision critical since every coin matters. But there are a great number of exciting opportunities that should consider applying to your marketing strategies this year.

Focus & Regroup:

Focus on your main strengths and don’t spread yourself too thin, and believe that sometimes less is more. You can’t overwhelm people with tasks and its the same with messaging, don’t pack a handful of messages into your communications because that will just confuse people as well as your staff, if you want your brand to take off your people have to believe in it first, if you can’t convince them of your main strength then it will be difficult getting people to buy in what you are saying. And always keep in mind that you can’t always be the jack and the master of all trades. If you need the job done, and done right you have to focus on that particular strength and nothing else. This thinking should go into all your activities.

Socialize yourself

Digital and Social marketing initiatives are popping up more than before and more money is being pumped into these fields not as much as in the west but you can set out to become one of the pioneers in the region. Consumers are spending more and more time online and you need to have a presence on the social Web in order to be in touch with them. You must also consider having more destinations for the users to pick and choose how they want to stay in touch for example using a blog, a linkedin page, stumbleupon page and so on… But whatever you decide on doing make sure you listen to what people are saying about you.

Content is still King!

Quality content is King! The online world is filled with content and clutter that it is imperative to have quality content and relevant to people in order to breakthrough. This can’t be emphasized enough. The main reason a user would listen to you is if you have something useful and/or relevant to say. Whatever it is!

Its not what you know, its who you know…

When starting up a twitter account or a Facebook page, having thousands of followers likes should not be your main priority, granted at the beginning you might want to get anybody to start spreading the word but as you grow you should focus on connecting with the right people. These are the contacts that will bring you more followers and more likes as well as being a strong and loyal advocate for your brand.


Consider Mobile, while its still relatively young in the region, you have decent penetrations in for smart phones. Think about branded apps that provide a service of use to people. When users are online they use search engines to find what they are looking for, when they are on their phones they use apps! It’s as simple as that and it explains why the iTunes store is such a huge worldwide success. Also a good potential opportunity to market yourself in the region is Foursquare, the location based app that connects friends and puts them against each other competing to receive badges and points. It is a very useful app and you can use it to get noticed within this circle.

Location Location Location

Stay relevant and stay local. Utilize the great number of group buying websites in the MENA region such as cobone or gonabit or offerna or makhsoom, etc… to push your products services while spreading the word about them, these sites are a great tool to get the word around.


When you integrate all your marketing efforts, you get a better return on your investments, because you have a greater opportunity to reach a greater market as well as having the opportunity to pushing users from one platform to another where you can follow your consumers and get a chance to listen to them and viceversa.

Partner up

Partnerships are hard and tricky to manage, however sometimes they work like a charm so think about approaching other brands that you feel might make a good match with yours. This is not only a cost effective way of marketing but there is also a better chance of getting more exposure for both parties involved.

Track and analyze your stats

Finally make sure to track all the results of your efforts and analyze them, make sure to understand why things are not working, and if they are how can they be better. You can learn a lot from a failed campaign or a marketing effort, just as long as you don’t repeat the exact same thing again! There are a great number of software’s you can use online and companies that can help out with the tracking of your social media efforts. Try and see for yourself how you are doing in the social chatterbox.

Don’t be afraid of experimenting within the online and social world, however just make sure to stay relevant and localized. Remember, in this region not too many people have dared to venture into the the social world, but they well catch on sooner or later just like in everything else. So don’t give the competition a chance to become the pioneers and steal your position.

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Having worked with top digital agencies and companies in the MENA region for the past number of years I'm now looking now to venture on my own with small side projects in online, SaaS products. Things I like include: gaming, sports, technology, social media, start ups, funny things and reading about new bright ideas.