Millennial customers in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, like anywhere else in the world, are always looking for great customer experiences. They also want an emotional and personalized connect with their preferred brands; a connect that remains consistent across all devices and channels.
MEA marketers are also cognizant of the fact that they need to extend their strategies beyond app marketing and also develop a deeper understanding of customer behavior across platforms, fulfilling expectations, engaging with them, and winning their loyalty. As for brands that market their products or services to these digital natives, they have zeroed in on the customers’ most coveted and frequented space: their smartphone screens.
However globally, post-Covid-19, smartphones have served as virtual shopping malls, banks, and entertainment zones, and MEA has not alienated itself from this trend. Studies show that consumers in this region have increased the use of online shopping channels along with the online and on-phone purchases of groceries.
In a study by 451 Research, a part of S&P Global Market Intelligence, and commissioned by AppsFlyer, 84 per cent of UAE businesses believed that mobile apps are now a ‘must’ to stay relevant to their customers. The research points out that nearly all (96 per cent) of the 250 respondents from the UAE and Saudi Arabia intend on increasing their mobile marketing spending. A quarter of these organizations (25 per cent) termed this increase as ‘very large.’
Let’s take a look at some of the emerging trends in mobile marketing in 2022 that is going to shape customer engagement in the Middle East:
● Reduce costs and improve return on investment by fine-tuning mobile strategy: Brands are identifying channels that are driving app installs, recognising where loyal customers are coming from, and analyzing entire customer journeys across multiple channels. Segmentation of customers based on behavioral attributes and in-app actions, followed by personalizing communication will yield higher conversions from mobile campaigns. Marketers in the Middle East are working on measuring the effectiveness of their mobile strategies as they complement existing marketing metrics with sophisticated digital marketing techniques.
● Adopt insights-led engagement for customer-driven marketing strategy: Brands that are more connected with their customers retain them more easily and realize higher levels of conversion. This is possible with an engagement strategy that leverages insights to analyze and predict consumer behavior, connect and engage with them more effectively, and hence provide unique and personalized customer experiences.
● Navigate through third-party cookie crisis and look at alternate tools: With the eventual phasing out of the third-party cookies, companies will have to look elsewhere to analyze customer data. Companies with access to UAE’s Facebook audience of about 8.4 million consumers will now have to look at other data acquisition and retention tactics yielding high LTV. The new digital strategies, utilizing first-party data will help brands arrest churn and drive high LTV growth using advanced segmentation along with hyper-personalization.
● Personalization will be the key differentiator: A one-to-one relationship between brands and consumers is becoming increasingly relevant as consumers know what data they are providing and how that will impact their experience. Data provided by first-party is reliable and when armed with it, brands find it easier to understand the consumer because it comes directly from them. Collecting this kind of data also builds trust and can increase LTV. Studies prove that customers don’t mind parting with their data as long as it leads to unique, personalized and relevant brand experiences in the future.
● Focus on AI-enabled optimization: AI-enabled and data-driven platforms are helping marketers create highly personalized customer experiences in a cost-effective way. Brands are utilizing interactions with customers or prospective customers for future optimization. With the help of AI-enabled campaign optimization, customer profiling, advanced segmentation based on preferences and behavior, marketers can create recommendations in real-time, boosting cross-sell and lowering churn by identifying moments of drop-offs. Personalized recommendations and offers can be used to engage customers or bring them back to the app.
● Safeguard consumer data security and privacy: Saudi Arabia will impose (as of 23 March 2022) national regulation of data protection. In the UAE too, the Personal Data Protection Law has come into force from January 2022. These laws necessitate companies to disclose the reason for collecting data, obtain consent from customers before using personal details like email addresses to send promotions, and also provide customers with an option to opt out. Brands also need to undergo data mapping exercises, review existing contracts, review technology and cyber-attack response processes, gather consent and communicate the purpose of data use, and revisit data protection policies. To maintain compliance, organizations will also immediately put in place processes that contain and remove personal information from processing and storage systems upon the request of a data subject.
These trends reiterate the fact that an insights-led customer engagement strategy that is consistent across channels offers a highly personalized experience for users. This, in turn, will nurture long-term loyalty from them and drive sales growth for the company.
News Source: Gulf Business