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Marketing expert calls for ad industry regulation
Source: BI-ME , Author: Moussa Ahmad
Posted: Mon February 11, 2008 12:00 am

INTERNATIONAL. A regional advertising expert has called for the reconsideration of message development processes at the Arab Market Exhibition.

This can be achieved, he says, by stopping the export of international artworks that are introduced into the Arab market without taking local characteristics into consideration. Shadi Al Hasan, Managing Director of Flagship Projects Marketing, stated that Arab companies are losing millions of dollars annually through massive advertising campaigns that fail to achieve business objectives, simply because they are not tailored to the cultural characteristics of local markets.

Al Hasan said: "In such a vibrant economic climate, analyzing the underlying dynamics driving global trends has never been more challenging. Consistent branding, targeted communications and diversity of messages across multiple audiences are the key challenges to compete in 2008 with the proliferation of brands crossing the 40,000 mark in the Middle East alone. Therefore, customised, one-size-fits-all marketing strategies are no more capable of catering to the needs of the modernised contemporary market."

Advertising in the Middle East is passing through a false stage, where advertising messages that should speak the language of Arab consumers are not proving relevant to regional markets. While advertising is gaining the lions share from marketing budgets of government departments and private companies in the Arab world  particularly in the Gulf creative agencies are challenged to provide a high level of creativity and innovation in tailoring messages to keep up with this fast-paced marketing revolution.

In 2007 marketers were plugged into what was good and best in the communication world. Although they proved to be professional, talented and knowledgeable, they failed in the innovation stakes. However, the Middle East is putting marketers onto alert in order to enhance their advertising machine to cope with the proliferative number of brands.

Al Hasan added: "International advertising campaigns Arabised in the region are playing a big role in killing Arab culture and creating a melting pot of Western culture. In most cases, the creative teams assigned to innovate when it comes to artwork and copywriting, are failing to convince the target audience, through ignoring emotional, behavioral and informational intelligence of the consumers."

Al Hasan called on the advertising community in the Arab world to regulate the relationship between advertising agencies, clients, advertisers, media and research companies. Arab countries are a sample to a model of a huge market that provides diversity of characteristics when it comes to population, education, consumer purchase power and economy.

As product differences continue to narrow, meaningful and effective communications strategies play an increasingly important role in business success. Marketing communications planning should recognize the added value of a comprehensive plan that evaluates the strategic roles of a variety of communications channels to provide clarity, consistency and maximum impact.

Al Hasan added: "Understanding the overall marketing process, consumer behavior and communication theory will create the desired channel that communicates and interacts directly with the target audience. Relationship marketing involving creating, maintaining and enhancing long-term relationships with stakeholders is the future of marketing.

"Companies in the region recognise that the consumers have become too demanding and they want personalised products and services tailored to specific needs and wants with superior value  high quality and competitive pricing and best customer service. These facts make it imperative to Middle East marketers to start providing integrated marketing solutions directly tailored to match their clients requirements."

Al Hasan added that advertising associations should hold responsibility for enhancing the Arab advertising industry, taking it to a new level of professionalism and innovation through a 360 approach. This approach should include creativity, efficiency, quality and value-added services provided to clients working in different industries, which are expanding both horizontally and vertically in an unprecedented manner.

Arab brands are not able to compete on international levels according to latest studies: very finite number of Arab brands was included in the Top 100 Brands in the World list. This is due to the inability to correctly utilise resources contained in the marketing mix, to which advertising bears a large share.



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