Hannah MacDonald, Founder, CitiSpi offers her thoughts on the marketing industry in the Middle East and how bridging the gap between offline and online platforms can serve as marketing strategies today…
Dubai’s food, leisure and entertainment scene is exploding with choices and so many options to select from. This has created a competitive landscape that has become fierce with operators working hard to capture the attention of would-be customers to gain their patronage.
“Now more than ever, operators are relying heavily on an integrated marketing platform that combines online and offline marketing and communication strategies – strategies that are built on the fundamental requirements to first know your target audience, so be clear on what you want to tell them and finally, recognise the best way to get that message across.”
Interestingly, while food, leisure and entertainment operators are selling offline experiences, being able to capture the attention of customers in an online environment has become an imperative part of their business strategy. Now more than ever, operators are relying heavily on an integrated marketing platform that combines online and offline marketing and communication strategies – strategies that are built on the fundamental requirement to first know your target audience, so be clear on what you want to tell them and finally, recognise the best way to get that message across.
By putting in the time and energy into getting your baseline right, you are putting yourself in good stead to bridge the gap between an offline and online experience. In fact, this is a trend we are not only witnessing, but also a part of – watching and experiencing the incredible rise in the use of platforms that combine online and offline experiences. It’s a trend I see continuing well into the future and one that I think will become more prominent. So, we are constantly looking at ways to harness the power of communications and maximise reach by combining online discovery with offline socialising – bringing together like-minded people to get Dubai’s residents and visitors to socialise smarter.
I think all forward-thinking businesses in our sector are looking to find a happy medium and balance somewhere in the middle of online and offline environments where we are able to successfully cut through the marketing noise. If you take the food and beverage sector as an example, there are numerous companies pushing places to eat and various promotions in and around town. However, with so many choices, it’s hard to see what’s right in front of you. Add to the mix the ever-increasing fame of influencers, who are changing the marketing and communication paradigm and you end up with a lot of competitive clutter to cut through.
Because of the shift, we see an opportunity to embrace this change and to pursue collaboration opportunities that are meaningful and relevant – engaging influencers who your target audiences relate to and who you can help facilitate active social engagement. It is a great way to bridge the online and offline environment, to cut through the competition and bring people together. In doing this, we can make socialising smarter, accessible, exciting and affordable – by bringing people together and closing the gap between offline and online socialising, which is my vision at CitiSpi.
When you can do this well, authentically and consistently, consumer’s confidence in your brand grows exponentially. Marry this with a relentless effort to continually find out more about what your customers will respond best to when they’re somewhere in the middle, and you’ll find your happy medium.