Addressing the Middle East’s market for your business may seem a complicated task, given its unique geographical and cultural dynamics; anyone who knows the region will tell you that relationships are everything. The trick to developing such relationships, especially for companies that do not have a direct presence in the region, is to maximise return on investment during events exhibitions support, by deploying simple but well planned marketing communications activities in the lead up to, during, and after these events take place.
On the sidelines of GITEX Technology Week 2015, Sky News Arabia TV Channel interviewed Mohamed Anis Chemli, Sales Director of Gemalto, arranged by TCF.
“Hundreds of thousands of companies flock to the Middle East every year, especially to Dubai events at the Dubai World Trade Center, to join exhibitions and conferences related to their businesses. These companies invest huge amounts of cash into flying their executives over, hotels, building their stands and entertaining their prospects,” notes Layth Dajani, the founder and CEO of The Content Factory (TCF, for short).
He adds: “Most, however, overlook a crucial piece of the puzzle, which if deployed correctly, contributes directly to the success of the exhibition. Deploying an integrated marketing plan to raise awareness about your company’s participation will increase your ROI and help you generate the interest required to attract leads.”
- Define your target audience.
- What products services will you be promoting?
- Are there any useful announcements you can make through the media?
- Are there any usful activites you can do in and around your stand to attract your target audience?
Over the years, TCF has seen huge multinationals, as well as smaller, more specialised companies, come to the region in an effort to build commercial bridges with regional governments and enterprises across various verticals. From the region’s largest technology show GITEX to ArabHealth, to ADIPEC that specialises in oil and gas, participating companies spend billions of dollars every year to promote their business and meet new customers.
These companies, however, often have a very short-term view of the market, which means that the money they spend goes into a dark hole with no vision of ROI.
Dell Software stand GITEX 2015 Dubai events at the Dubai World Trade Center, designed and built by TCF.
STEP 2. Define your RoI metrics:
- How many new leads do you need to justify your costs?
- How much awareness do you need to create within your target audience to move your business forward?
- How many new partners, distrubtors, resellers do you need to sign to grow your marketshare?
“Setting a marketing communications budget for such exhibitions will set into motion a long-term plan aimed at building lasting relationships. Utilising communications tools such as public relations and advertising will not only enhance your brand presence, but will also make a statement on how serious your company is about business in the region. Sending out a planned set of content with distinguished messaging that directly attacks your market opportunities will bear fruit in the short term and make it a lot easier to continue the story next year,” says Dajani.
Building relationships does not stop at potential business or customers. You have to keep other stakeholders, in this case the media, in mind to reap maximum benefits. Conducting one-to-one, live interviews with media professionals to bolster your news stories and the messages they carry is essential. Spending the time and effort to educate the market about your company, it products and services, will add impetus to your business offering and, over time, make your company a reference for your industry. The more visible your brand is in the media, the more relevant your company will become to the business community in the region.
- Have you designed and built your exhibition stand?
- Have you built a designed your campaign landing page? We work with TCFnewswire to build SEO driven campiagn landing sites.
- Have you developed your public relations PR communications plan?
Since its inception back in 2003, TCF has conducted hundreds of integrated marketing activities to support clients at exhibitions and gain them the required ROI from their investments.
“We developed special package bundled services for our clients to tap into. These include a series of news releases in the run up to the event – usually starting three months in advance of the exhibition launch date – accompanied by direct marketing activities, advertising, all targeting your specific target audience. We’ve also come up with cost reduction exercises, such as printing and production of marketing collateral or stands, locally, in market, which vastly reduce courier and transportation costs,” says Dajani.
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