I have been part of the marketing scene in Kuwait for over a decade and a half now, and it impresses me seeing how far we have come from the last century. This is more so the case here in Kuwait, where we operate in a seemingly small yet volatile market that is as diverse as it is unpredictable.
During these years, I have involved myself in various initiatives revolving around marketing.From choosing marketing agencies to pitching for new business, from conceptualizing campaigns for clients to executing them on their behalf, from launching product campaigns to executing big events – all within the marketing sphere. I have had the privilege of working with some of the top companies in the region as well as fledgling start-ups that have grown from strength to strength over the years.
Sadly, I have come to the conclusion that most marketing companies in Kuwait have stopped innovating. It seems as though they’ve found one or two successful formulae and are stuck with them. The art of innovation has long been overcome by the greed to generate more revenue. Barring a few advertising and marketing agencies that have stood the test of time and delivered on their promises to their clients, very few have found continued success.
In the past, marketing in Kuwait had always been about “face-time” as opposed to actual results. So naturally, according to local perceptions, a good marketer was someone who was popular. It was all about PR and connections. Anyone who was in the news and got a lot of coverage was considered a successful marketer and from there on, the product or service sold itself. Mind you, Kuwait has seen several successful campaigns that evoked great sentiment and created emotional bonding with customers thanks to creative thinking and excellent execution on behalf of the marketing agencies. But the reality of the matter is that for every successful campaign that was executed, there were at least a dozen or more unsuccessful ones.
Fast forward to 2016, the marketing process has taken a drastic turn for the better. Thanks to innovative technologies that revolve around the Internet, a modern day marketer has to prove himself or herself in different ways because almost all effective marketing avenues have gone digital via the Internet. Digital marketing unlike traditional marketing, is more scalable, cost effective and most importantly, measurable.
Overall, the marketing process has evolved into more of a science and less of an art. I’m not saying that there is not art involved in marketing, just that the art needs to be skillfully worked into the scientific process and substantiated with facts, figures and eventually, results. New media technologies are being created every day to not only help consumers make better buying decisions but also to help marketers choose better channels and get the most of their efforts in the digital world.
New Internet technologies and changing consumer habits are forcing brands to think outside the box. Consumers are changing and so are their buying habits and behaviors. They want facts on which to make buying decisions, not broad generalities that advertising of the past was most notably known for. Thanks to the plethora of media from email marketing to Search Engine Optimization to blogs to social media, the dynamics of the marketing ecosystem have changed drastically and provide product owners with better control over their marketing activities.
With all advancements, however, come the usual questions. How should you target the market? How should you allocate your budgets? What marketing touch-points should you cover? How should you balance your campaign between digital and conventional media? What metrics should you use to measure success? And so on and so forth.
To add to the complicated decision making process, there is a rise in a new breed of digital marketing agencies that have started sprouting up in Kuwait. While some of them have good intentions, others want to simply take advantage of the unsuspecting clients, thanks to their limited understanding of internet technologies. These self-dubbed “internet marketing geniuses’ claim to be able to manage your social media accounts better than you, give your brand better penetration into the online marketplace and ultimately deliver unprecedented results.
If you weren’t as confused when you started reading this, chances are you probably are by now. So where do I come in? This is my inaugural piece on marketing and every once in a while, I will shed some light on the latest in marketing innovation that is taking over the world and how companies in Kuwait are reaping the benefits of technological advances to take their businesses forward, so make sure you check up on this column regularly.
Barry Rodrigues is Head of Marketing & Product Development at Future Communications, and an associate advisor with the International Advisors Group in Kuwait. Barry also provides pro-bono consulting services for small businesses to help them achieve their marketing objectives. For comments, please email Barry at firstname.lastname@example.org.