KEYING IN THE BASICS

Abu Dhabi 2019 | MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Samia Bouazza, Managing Director of Multiply Marketing Consultancy, on satisfying sophisticated consumers with high purchasing power, targeting different categories of the population, and thinking globally while acting locally.

Samia Bouazza
BIOGRAPHY
Samia Bouazza is the Managing Director of Multiply Marketing & Consultancy. She brings with her a track record of delivering intelligent marketing, brans positioning solutions, and strategies for her clients. She is also a board member of a range of associations in the communications industry, including the International Advertising Association (IAA), the Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA), and the Neuromarketing Science and Business Association (NMSBA). Additionally, she is also part of the Artificial Intelligence Committee and Strategy Committee within Royal Group, Multiply’s parent company. She has a degree in political science and public administration from the American university of Beirut.

What must brands do to ensure their attractiveness in the Abu Dhabi market?

When a firm enters the market, it is likely to face high degrees of competition from other companies trying to serve relatively young, sophisticated consumers with high purchasing power. This is why excellent service and quality, as well as innovative ideas are extremely important to succeed. Second, brands need to utilize the most advanced technology at their disposal in order to gather feedback from their consumers and understand how they can improve themselves and adapt to their new needs. The brands and companies that are most successful at constantly doing so and succeed in creating an emotional relationship with their clients will be the ones to survive. Given the youthful nature and explosive growth of market players in the UAE and Abu Dhabi, brands must stick to the basics in terms of customer centricity and quality, while at the same time, change how these basics are delivered. The third requirement is to cut through the noise. I once read that 30 years ago, consumers in the US were exposed to 300 messages per day. Today, consumers are exposed to 5,000 messages a day, consciously or unconsciously. This means that given the amount of noise in the market today, brands need to cut through this noise by making their message simple, easy, relevant, and emotionally engaging. Last but not least, it is healthy for brands to target different categories of the population and be more aware of price sensitivity. Good deals are always attractive to customers, especially those who are used to purchasing goods when they travel or online and expect to pay similar price ranges for similar products.

How can technology help marketing firms build brand consciousness and add value to their clients' business?

We are in a very exciting time for technology, especially as marketers. Technology allows for improvements though immediate feedback whereas before, brands had to rely on focus groups, surveys, and questionnaires to improve services. Today, types of artificial intelligence, whether it is via chatbox or facial recognition, allow brands to assess consumers' real interests and reactions. Another major benefit brought by technology is time saving. A firm will be able to gather more data and push the line that drives greater interests, thus growing the top-line and reducing costs. With technology, advertisers can also better track how well their messages and campaigns have reached their target audience. We can do more testing via digital platforms and other technological applications and tools, and save our clients' money on their total marketing spent. In this way, AI can turn marketers into more proactive planners and include them more in the development of a product. In Abu Dhabi, the government is keen to empower technological change in a number of industries, such as fast-moving goods, banking, real estate, and leisure.

What is the UAE's competitive advantage with regards to the adoption of technology?

The country is safe, secure, stable, and extremely commerce-friendly, which helps in any business endeavor. The government recently enacted a number of new decrees to enhance SMEs and start-ups in the country. However, at the end of the day, it goes back to the entrepreneur and the brand. The economy changes, though the basics remain key. The marketing industry should push clients to think globally and act locally, especially multinational firms. We need to provide clients with the same level of ideas that they would find in Tokyo, London, or New York, while maintaining a local flavor and consciousness. Another important aspect is agility; lean and flexible companies are more likely to keep up with an ever-changing market. A final tip would be to always be cognizant of the government and its various strategies for the economy. By aligning itself with the government, a company maximizes its chances for success and is not left out of key trends happening in society.