Experts discuss UAE’s changing demographic, digital and mobile landscape

February 12, 2014 6:18 am

Understanding how people tick is still a competitive advantage, according to Matthew Froggatt, Chief Development Officer of TNS, one of the world’s largest custom market research organisations.

Opening the recent TNS Executive Forum panel, Froggatt told over 50 UAE-based delegates that content remains one of the most important ingredients in marketing communications. “In today’s digital and mobile world ‘Context is King’, especially in the Social context, digital enables inherent human behaviours, resulting in a new era for chief marketing officers.

“Comprehensive research can help marketers with smarter, predictive surveys that aim to make sense of the Context in the new world and this stands true across all platforms; social, media, devices, retail, brand, service, data and human.”

He observed that using social channels, in the context of campaigns, we see more activity on same or less budgets. During the 2008 Olympics, Coca-Cola ran eight activities, and four years later in 2012, it ran more than 250 on the same budget.

Marketers need to embrace big data

In fact, Froggatt went on to explain how from ‘observe and tell’ approaches, marketers must now learn to ‘listen and interact’.

“Human behaviour is complex, correlation is not causality and big data is incomplete however behavioural data is context neutral. Customer relationships change and with it customer experience research must change as well.

“However we must be mindful that changes in customers’ lives impact their relationships with companies and key relationships are key. Customer expectations change and grow but the rules of the game have not changed; save shoppers time, money and angst!”

Echoing these sentiments TNS MENA Chief Executive Officer, Steve Hamilton-Clark urged marketers to embrace the power of predictive survey: “Big databases help when it comes to Brand and Advertising research and enriching the Customer Experience”.

TNS looks to enable marketers with data spanning 300,000 individual records across 120 brands and 45 FMCG, durable and financial categories which detail key behavioural and attitudinal metrics on brand and ads.

“While big data affords unparalleled growth opportunities, marketers need to quickly appreciate its benefits or face being left behind,” urged Hamilton-Clark.

A focus on Facebook as a channel

MENA is a high potential market for Social Media especially Facebook, according to Eleni Kitra who also featured on the TNS Executive Forum 2013 expert panel.

Regional statistics show that there are 31m million people connecting on Facebook on a daily basis, of which 17 million are online via mobile, while monthly figures stack up at 59 million and 36 million on mobile, Kitra observed.

Facebook is at the centre of the shift to mobile. People are deeply engaged with Facebook, in fact, 90% of smartphone owners read their News Feed at least once a day and 63% read it several times a day or are constantly checking it.

Remember it’s not just social media. Its marketing in a social world, she confirmed.

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Sarah Azad
Strategic Solutions
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