Tag Archives: Middle East

ESRI – GIS Conference Abu Dhabi 2012

Sometimes, very rarely, you feel great about Your choice of profession. Today is one of that for me.

I am currently attending an ESRI conference on GIS maps and how to integrate the data sets coming from user interaction, system administration etc for data driven decision making.

What has pleasantly surprised me is the interest of diversified set of audience ( CEOs, analysts, engineers, system administrator). And also the fact that public sector in Middle East is actually one of the key players who is using data sets. Don’t get me wrong, when I say GIS I not only mean Urban Planning etc. I also mean statistics Center and how are they using GIS. That’s what I think is cutting edge.

Looking at some of the technologies and software displayed here, it is not hard to say that very soon in Abu Dhabi’s public sector GIS maps will be one of the most common data visualization tool.

Some mouthwatering tools for you

Abu Dhabi Geoportal tool

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Consumer Insight: How blackberry ban will affect UAE consumer

The United Arab Emirates is to block sending e-mails, accessing the internet, and delivering instant messages to other Blackberry handsets – BBC, for more news on UAE Blackberry ban

“Blackberry ban in UAE: Good news for Iphone and a bad news for middle class mobile internet surfers”

Here are some statistics which should be considered before understanding the effect of Blackberry ban.

  1. UAE tops Arab world for mobile phone penetration rates, the rate for mobile phone users in the UAE stood at 193.5 percent, followed by Saudi Arabia with a rate of 165.5 percent. (Note: Saudia Arabia has also announced a freeze on blackberry services)
  2. “BlackBerry plans represent a substantial part of that (mobile data); while the operators don’t give exact numbers, Etisalat confirmed to me last week that 15% of its mobile subscribers were on mobile data plans, which include BlackBerry.  It’s so widely used, that of that fifteen percent, BlackBerry comprises the largest single part – as much as 10% of the total mobile subscriber base in the UAE”. Informa Media & Telecoms senior analyst Matthew Reed told Arabian Business

Impact on UAE Consumer

  1. YPEs, business professionals and B2B users are directly affected with the current policy change, as they are the prime target audience for the handset.
  2. Sale of blackberry will drop which will cause an increase in the sales of Iphone. As UAE mobile web surfers have already favored apple Iphone, while Nokia is unable to tap a considerable market share in UAE and in MENA
  3. Telecom operators of other countries might benefit from this step. As telecom operators in other countries continuing to provide such services, users who believe that such services are indispensible to their business or lifestyle may be tempted to use the roaming facilities of such players. “Roaming charges in India are pretty cheap,” said an Indian expatriate in the UAE who currently uses the BlackBerry email service extensively for business purposes. “I am going to get the cheapest Indian SIM card and use it here”
  4. Iphone price is an entry barrier for Blackberry users and thus small scale users will opt for other solutions for wi-fi internet. It can possibly be the wi-fi internet offer of Etisalat.
  5. Mobile commerce and mobile access to social networking sites will be directly affected as these are one of the key activities of mobile internet users.


From Consumer Insights with Ayesha Saeed

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Consumer Insight: UAE dictionary of change

Change has always been the only constant, especially in the United Arab Emirates. A country which is only 39 years old but has attracted global attention in terms of growth rates, construction marvels and is leading the region on many fronts.

Following are a couple of thoughts on activities/projects which will probably bring some major changes in the media consumption and marketing front of UAE.

The three big changes that I have identified are

  • Content creation
  • Abu-Dhabi getting traction
  • Increased connectivity

I have uploaded my views on slide-share FYR. Hope you find them useful

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Consumer insight: Purchase habits of UAE consumer

I have received multiple requests from people who are seeking trends and insights (facts and figures) into UAE consumer. Before we move toward more meaningful insights it is important to know some basic facts, following is the compilation of few basic facts. Hope it will add value to your daily jobs. Continue reading

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Customer Insight: Marketing to Muslims

We are living in a world where almost 1 out of every 5 person is a Muslim. The degree to which they practice religion is subject to debate, but the fact that is important to understand that Muslims are too big a niche to be ignored.

  • According to JWT Muslims are Britain’s biggest untapped Niche (ref: article on tapping Muslim community)
  • When British banking  giant HSBC began offering Islamic banking practices in Malaysia, it was surprised that more than half of its customers were non-Muslim (business week article on Islamic banks )

We need to explore more powerful means to tap into this segment. I am sharing a presentation that elaborates my POV.

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Advertising Sector: Success elements for Social Media Companies in UAE

One question that I was asking myself for quite some time is what is I want to launch an internet concern, a social media company or something on the digital revolution lines in UAE. What will help me succeed? I am trying to answer that question in this blog entry, hope you will find it useful.

Question 1 – Why consider launching a digital company in UAE

UAE has the purchase potential: Per capita income is $54,430 , E-commerce in UAE to hit $36bn by 2010 this is bigger than the whole economy of Lebanon.Credit cards are everywhere so online purchase is not an issue and probably this is why the online retail sphere in UAE is constantly growing

UAE is ready for digital revolution: it is the top ranking Arab state in terms of e-readiness, 3 out of 5 people in UAE have internet access. UAE is a world leader in terms of mobile lines per person, with almost 2 phones lines per person. (There were 1.5 million 3G handsets in UAE in 2008)

For more more statistics on UAE internet penetration  (previous blog entry) 

Now let us see what the key consumer-desires in UAE are and how can we leverage those: –

Here is a detailed presentation, FYR.

View more documents from Ayesha Saeed.
  • Recognition: UAE and people in UAE have an uncontrollable urge to be recognized. Capitalize that.
  • Identity, Personality and Cultural Uniqueness: From Government to a common Emirati, everyone is keen to maintain the unique Emirati identity
    • Maintain the Identity : Learn from leading Arab online communities maktoob , travian , UAE women network or follow the guidelines chalked out for brand Abu-Dhabi
    • Language: Arabic. The journey of culture, identity and heritage begins from there. (plus, language will help you fit-in well with Arabic speakers)
    • Segmentation: Create activity groups of and for Emiratis. Provide Emiratis some form of exclusivity 
  • Empower Youth: Government is investing a lot in UAEs youth and is promoting a culture that will enable their Youth to lead from the front in today’s competitive world
    • Enable: Be an enabler; either by connecting, providing knowledge, providing ideas, facilitating education. Enlighten / connect / update / Equip / provide voice etc
    • Encourage: Occasionally and/or regularly encourage offline and online activities through your social media that helps youngsters at UAE to be heard at international level
  • UAE is a business hub. 
    • Help the entrepreneurs interact, exchange knowledge, and use it as a platform to revolutionize their business. Better yet, promote SMEs

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Consumer Insight: Insights into UAE consumer – part 1

When it comes to MARCOM, I am basically a product of JWT. I follow their tools and techniques for almost all branding and communication problems that come my way. Now JWTs basic principle is that brands should bank on key consumer desires. The desire should be universal not related to brand/product itself. (I can explain this in greater depth, but that is beyond the scope of my this blog entry)

JWTs basic principle is that brands should bank on key consumer desires

Talking about emerging consumer desire, here is my take on UAE’s consumer. I plan to keep on adding insights about UAE consumer, so hopefully you will hear more often from me on this front

Content hungry consumer seeking valuable knowledge:

In one of the recent forums that I attended I had a pleasure to listen to Martin Newland  and one point which he made was that people in UAE are extremely content hungry and with more and more crappy & ripped off information that revolves around them. The more they want to have useful nuggets of knowledge, valid argument. 

Applying it to brands; Nestle UAE in their recent studies found out that people expect Nestlé to host video content on their website, strange but true. Nestle is undertaking appropriate measures to follow consumer’s desire, I will upload it once it is publicly announced.

In a nutshell, Identify what is valuable to your consumer – In a world of 200million blogs, numerous TV channels, and 3G phones and twitter obviously the demand for information is higher than the supply. People would crave for more and more valuable ‘content’ in the coming times. Caution value is a relative term, a research study is valuable to a scientist but it may not be valuable to your consumer.  But the basic point stays the same, create content that adds value in the lives of your consumer. If you add value through your communication you will add value to your brand. 

  • Bird’s eye view of what a consumer in UAE is searching for these days: I ran a search on Google insights for search and the outcome validates Nestlé’s finding i.e. craving for downloads (in a nutshell craving for content). It also highlights the need for networking/community building. So how your brand is adding to this new urge of consumer. Either you provide them with content or you provide them with a network that enriches their understanding about that content. I suggest, you provide them a topic to talk about because that is directly correlated with your brand image and recall

Identify how consumers are accessing your content: According to experts Consumers are demanding. They want to get the latest TV hits ahead of anyone else …. We see this as a next big wave of content consumption in Singapore.” Allen Lew, CEO, Singapore telecom (Source: Accenture Global Broadcast Consumer Survey 09) This means consumers are now media neutral, they want to find and spend time with valuable and useful content . Over 900 million homes will have an access to VoD by 2010, globally.

You can be of value to your consumers regardless of their connectivity status based on your objective. Don’t confuse value with distribution channel.

 What does this mean?

  1. Create content (even in ads) that consumers find useful.(some campaign examples can be found in the last section of my presentation)
  2. Creation is expensive, consider integrating content from multiple sources (including individual bloggers)
  3. Distribute it everywhere, make it easier for the users to find you ( in case you are wondering whether United Arab Emirates is ready for this kind of activity or not, have a look at the UAE internet & mobile statistics that I shared in my earlier post). Caution: You can be of value to your consumers regardless of their connectivity status based on your objective. Don’t confuse value with distribution channel.


Additional Resources:

Defining Valuable Content

According to Grey’s Eye on Asia – Asian’s value financial comfort, family bonding and locally produced products/concepts. Asians account for a huge expat majority in UAE hence I added insights about Asians.

12 consumer values according to a research study conducted in 2006. But it is still applicable and logical, for detailed definition of values please visit logic + emotion blog

Interesting Survey conducted by Accenture on global broadcast

Marketing with meaning first chapter from the book or visit the blog

Thought provoking blog entry content marketing is not equal to thought leadership

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Consumer Trends – UAE digital media statistics

I am as of now conducting an experiment i.e. analyzing the popular brands of UAE in the light of Social media. And when I started working on that I stumbled upon some interesting facts about UAE internet landscape.

Following are the facts that you should know about UAE digital landscape

  1. UAE is the top ranking Arab state in terms of e-readiness
  2. UAEs Per capita income is $54,430 in year 2008
  3. In total people from 208 nationalities are living in UAE
  4. Population of the UAE in 2009 stands at 6,000,0000 of which 20.1 per cent were Emiratis according to 2005 census
  5. 3 out of 5 people in UAE  have an internet access
  6. More than 40% of UAE internet users are female, that implies almost all women in UAE have internet access
  7. E-commerce in UAE to hit $36bn by 2010 This is bigger than the whole economy of Lebanon
  8. 1 in every 6 resident of UAE has a facebook account, in total there are 840,000 Facebook users in UAE
  9. Youtube is the third most visited website in UAE after Google and Yahoo
  10. Some of the top community sites of UAE in order of popularity are Facebook, Maktoob, Blogger, Friendster, UAE women network
  11. There are only 5000 twitterers in UAE, growing at 300% per quarter. This means by the end of 2010 we will have 1,200,000 twitterers
  12. UAE is a world leader in terms of mobile lines per person, with almost 2 phones lines per person
  13. There were 1.5 million 3G handsets in UAE in 2008
  14. 78% of mobile users in UAE use some form of mobile music service
  15. The average lifespan of a mobile handset in the UAE is 2 years, compared with a global average of three years
  16. UAE is top Arab state in the web-measure index which assesses the extent to which governments are providing e-government policies, applications and tools, and the 12th in the world.

Here is the fact-sheet in presentation format

Here is the compilation in basic video format (help me make an interesting video, my skills on this front are very basic)

What does this mean?

Usually, in this section of my article I try to answer the questions from marketing, public sector and agency perspective. But today I am going to leave you with questions instead of my opinions

–      Is your organization, your employees, your backup system ready for e-savvy and mobile addicted audience?

–      Are you as a marketer ready for active listening?

–      Have you developed a strategy to cope with the technology challenge that is on our way?

Enjoy the Change – Ayesha

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Marketing Research Sector: Online marketing research – some key questions

Yesterday, I had a presentation at the social media forum regarding online marketing research.

Here is the copy, FYI.

Following are key questions which were raised in the session plus in the recent survey which i conducted online about internet marketing research. I am thankful to everyone who participated in the survey and also to the participants and organizers of the media forum. I am trying to answer key queries to the best of my knowledge. Hope you will find the answers useful.

  • Question 1 – Online marketing research is cheapand in many cases it is free etc ?
    • ANSWER – First thing first, cheap is a relative term. In labor intensive markets technology is expensive and vice versa. This theory applies to MR as well, in most countries of Asia the cost of face to face is lower than a scientific sample driven online survey instrument.
    • Cost of a survey is dependent on the following
      • Target audience: the difficult the audience i.e. the lower their ratio in population  the higher the cost
      • Survey monitoring:
      • Depth of questionnaire: the deeper, longer the questionnaire the higher the cost
      • Cost of the survey instrument development: printing, software etc
      • Quality controls: the usual quality control is 20% back-checking at each stage; however it varies on client demand. The higher the check the higher the cost
    • Free! There is no such thing called free lunch. Either there are hidden costs or hidden implications. Continue reading

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