Ramadan has arrived once again. Perhaps the most highly anticipated occasion in the annual calendar, the Holy Month is a period of peace, prosperity, spirituality, and deep reflection, one where millions of people gather and celebrate with their families and friends.
Yet for brands and marketers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Ramadan is also a time of heightened significance because it is by far not only their busiest season of the year, but also their biggest opportunity.
The MENA region is home to around 240 million observers with considerable purchasing power. Shopping budgets reach record peaks each year during Ramadan, and this is also something that applies to a large segment of the regional population. For example, online shopping in the region reached its heights during Ramadan in 2020, and this year is set to surpass the last. A recent Ramadan marketing guide by SHAREit, the region’s fastest-growing media publisher, picks up on past years’ insights from various trusted sources, showcasing the enormous potential for business in the coming weeks.
In line with insights from last year, all MENA countries spend more than four hours using mobile internet daily, 82% of Ramadan shoppers primarily use their smartphones for online shopping, and 62% insisted they would spend more time on their smartphones during the Holy Month. Various categories also attract substantial attention this time of the year, with mobile gaming, digital entertainment, food delivery, consumers care and fashion, and gifting among the most prominent.
Furthermore, digital acceleration has introduced businesses and consumers alike to a host of valuable mobile benefits, including seamless services and delivery, safe and secure transactions, and greater satisfaction than ever before. As such, Ramadan is set to grow even bigger in terms of marketing this time around – and reaching the right audience in the right way to realize business goals and attract customers is essential. Here are three tips to help:
Focus on target audience needs
In the past, brands have often missed opportunities by centering their campaigns around themselves rather than those they wish to connect with. For marketers, the first step to effective campaigns and successfully reaching out requires listening to your audience, understanding their needs, and conveying how you can help. Always remember, users want to know what you can do or provide from them and how you can deliver on your promise to make their lives better and meaningful.
Communicate with vernacular content
A few years ago, the idea of using entertainment and gaming to reach audiences may have been considered somewhat ineffective. Yet last year alone was a major turning point with lockdown and movement restrictions encouraging mobile users across the region to spent more time consuming online entertainment. Therefore, marketers can broaden their horizons by implementing more vernacular content into their campaigns. With a comprehensive range of high-quality digital content comprising videos, messaging, and other concepts curated especially for Ramadan, brands can attract customers' attention to present their propositions and explain how and why they are beneficial.
Launch, highlight, enhance
Since countless Ramadan observers depend hugely on digital to shop and stay connected, businesses have an opportunity to make the most of this trend. Regardless of which particular segment they belong to, every strategy can effectively be the same in terms of launching new products to drive sales and highlighting what they have to offer, which is a gateway to enhancing brand reputation. Today, competition has never been higher in marketplaces due to digital advancements, meaning brands must understand their audience before targeting, enticing, and influencing them proactively, creatively, and properly.
In today’s new digital age, marketers and businesses have more ways than ever before to reach out to the right audience. The coming weeks will witnesses the MENA region’s highest online shopping levels of 2021 during Ramadan, meaning brands and their executives should act now to introduce themselves, showcase their offerings, build relationships, and elevate their profiles. The above steps will help to accomplish these objectives – and now is the time to put them into action.
Karam Malhotra, Partner and Global Vice-President, SHAREit