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How UAE Marketers Boost Engagement While Reducing Inefficiencies

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Discover how to prepare your marketing team for success – even as customer preferences and expectations shift.

Recession marketing comes with a tidal wave of formidable challenges. Along with economic uncertainty, marketers have to deal with flatter budgets and fewer resources in general. And the problem is, that standing out in a flood of marketing assets isn’t getting any easier.

Our eighth State of Marketing report reveals insights and trends from 6,000 marketers and over 2 trillion outbound marketing communications. The results? 49% of marketing teams in the UAE agree that meeting customers’ expectations now is harder than a year ago. And that’s just the start.

Our findings show that boosting customer retention, while reducing costs and inefficiencies, has produced three challenges for marketers in the UAE:

  • Balancing personalisation and privacy
  • Increasing business resilience with real-time metrics
  • Reassessing investments in innovative marketing strategies

Before we explore these trends in detail, it’s important to acknowledge that these market shifts also create opportunities. Ones that marketers in the UAE are demonstrating both creativity and strategy to make the most of it.

The 8th Edition State of Marketing Report

Find out how 6,000+ marketers are prioritising cost-savings and efficiency, removing silos, and innovating to meet new customer needs.

State of Marketing Eighth Edition

Read on as we unpack the latest developments in the UAE’s ever-changing marketing landscape and how to manage them.

Balance personalisation with privacy

Customers in the UAE have grown accustomed to hyper-personalised platforms (like Amazon and Netflix). And as familiarity has increased, so have expectations. According to our most recent State of the Connected Customer report, an unsurprising 61% of UAE customers now prefer personalised products and services.

But as we’ve discovered, the top challenge for marketers in the UAE is balancing personalisation with customer comfort levels – and it’s easy to understand why. The lifeblood of personalised marketing is data. Marketers in the UAE know this and are reacting by increasing the number of data sources they draw from.

Businesses in the UAE used an average of 37 data sources this year (last year’s average was 29) and they plan to use as many as 50 next year. As the number of data sources grows, it becomes increasingly challenging to make sure that data is kept secure and compliant.

Google’s effort to phase out third-party data gives marketers in the UAE another complication – the need to develop robust and compliant ways of generating first-party data. The good news? An impressive 80% of marketers in the UAE say they have a fully defined strategy for the shift away from cookie collection.

STARZPLAY MENA: Efficient personalisation at scale

STARZPLAY is the Middle East’s leading on-demand video streaming service. It wanted to personalise experiences for its customers whilst ensuring data security – Marketing Cloud provided the answer. Marketing Cloud gave STARZPLAY market-leading encryption alongside the ability to efficiently segment its users based on interest, rather than just language.

And through Marketing Cloud’s Automation Studio, STARZPLAY could execute multi-step marketing on an immediate, triggered, or scheduled basis. For example, sending personalised newsletters to viewers of kids’ shows with tailored content recommendations for other shows suitable for children. The result? Three-fold increase in click-through rate compared to a generic newsletter.

Read more about STARZPLAY MENA’s journey here.

Adopt real-time intelligence

Businesses in the UAE have turned to performance measurement as a way to increase their business resilience and agility this year.

And, according to our research, the following KPIs are crucial for UAE businesses:

  • Customer satisfaction (92%)
  • Web/mobile analytics (91%)
  • Customer acquisition costs (90%)
  • Revenue (88%)

Having visibility into performance lets you respond to customer needs, make informed decisions, increase productivity, and drive business growth. This is a strong suit for UAE marketers. While marketers globally say measuring marketing ROI/attribution is their #2 challenge, in the UAE it ranks #11 (in a list of 13!). And, better still, through the use of automation, UAE marketers are optimising performance in real-time.

As many as seven in ten marketers have stopped manually reporting on their marketing performance. And when your to-do list is longer than ever (and resources are at a premium), getting those efficiency gains is paramount.

How richer insights helped IMKAN Properties optimise processes

Property developer IMKAN wanted to orchestrate campaigns across its external partners and drive ROI through better targeting and more meaningful KPIs. Datorama dashboards let IMKAN move away from the inefficient and cost-inducing process of wading through spreadsheets.

Now IMKAN gets real-time insights which lets it make in-the-moment improvements to existing campaigns. The result? IMKAN optimised KPIs for its partner agencies, boosting campaign effectiveness and relevance. In fact, IMKAN was able to identify the best customers for a retargeting campaign before a product had even been launched.

Learn more about IMKAN Properties’ journey here.

Future-proof with new tools and technologies

The #1 priority for marketing teams in the UAE is experimenting with new marketing strategies and tactics. In spite of this, resistance to new marketing strategies and tactics is a top challenge for CMOs in the UAE. Resolving this tension is imperative. Because these strategic changes aren’t for the short term.

Marketers in the UAE consider these strategies a permanent shift:

  • Find new product fulfilment options (85%)
  • Invest in digital-first experiences (79%)
  • Expand product offerings (72%)

Marketers in the UAE understand the importance of technology for cost savings, productivity, and efficiency. CRM systems are used by nearly all (98%) marketing teams in the UAE, with 80% using ABM platforms. But today, just 26% of UAE marketers use AI.

This means there’s a real opportunity for you to take your strategy to the next level, and prepare for all the opportunities Web3 will bring. (Not sure where to start? Head over to Trailhead to learn more about Web3).

Those pioneering UAE marketing teams that are using AI use it to drive improvements where it really counts:

  • Automate customer interactions (100%)
  • Drive best offers in real-time (96%)
  • Process automation (92%)
  • Automate data integration (88%)
  • Support lookalike audience modelling (88%)
  • Support programmatic advertising and media buying (88%)

The most promising sign for UAE marketers? Eight in ten marketing teams say they have a fully defined artificial intelligence strategy for the coming year.

How Umrahme minimised attrition and improved the performance of campaigns

Umrahme is an online travel agency that specialises in packages that allow Muslims across the globe to make the sacred pilgrimage to Mecca. It needed a cost-effective way to communicate with its customers at scale and improve business agility. The answer? Pardot and Tableau. Using Pardot, Umrahme was able to automate smart email journeys and increase engagement. Tableau gave Umrahme better access to data allowing them to solve problems in real-time.

The result? Improved performance of campaigns by up to 10%. And, booking system issues can be identified within minutes, compared to three days.

Learn more about how Umrahme uses Salesforce here.

Strategy and boldness are key for UAE marketing organisations

UAE marketing teams are making huge strides with personalisation and are leading the way with real-time intelligence. The next stage? Learning from the market pacesetters and combining these gains with bold marketing strategies underpinned by increased use of AI. And we’ve got just the thing:

The 8th Edition State of Marketing Report

Find out how 6,000+ marketers are prioritising cost-savings and efficiency, removing silos, and innovating to meet new customer needs.

State of Marketing Eighth Edition
Salesforce EMEA

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