Changing the marketing mindset

In our time, market failure is becoming a norm rather than an exception, says Mazen Mitri, Chief Growth Officer, Webedia Arabia.   

Failure is more common than we think. Early on, we learn about how business empires fall and how major brands exit the market. Toys R Us, Blockbuster, Nokia, Yahoo, and many others were driven out.

These brands failed to reinvent their purpose, and their marketing tactics couldn’t adapt to the changing consumer behaviour and market dynamics.

In our time, market failure is becoming a norm rather than an exception, and knowing when to act takes courage.

The pandemic accelerated the inevitable human progression hence digitalisation and AI-powered solutions. It changed how we operate at all levels, from transactional relationships to office space.

According to the World Bank, two-thirds of adults worldwide can now make or receive a digital payment, and this is largely attributed to reforms and action adopted during the pandemic.

Various studies are also showing that brand loyalty is on the decline since the pandemic. Last year, S&P Global Mobility loyalty data showed that brand loyalty in the vehicle industry dropped to an eight-year low.

This is partially related to the fact that consumers are now getting to know about brands through digital platforms rather than a physical encounter.

Consumer behaviour in the GCC, especially among youth, is even more pronounced. In Saudi Arabia, the largest economy of the GCC, only 28% of youth aged (16-24) stated that they are loyal to brands compared to a global average of 44% (Global Web Index).

This shift in consumer attitude compels us to think about one critical question: “how does the future of the business look like in a world that has evolved to become entirely digital, content driven and personal at the same time?”

To be able to visualise, companies must let go of legacy business models and create a mindset of always thinking of what’s even beyond the foreseeable future.

What brought success last year could bring failure this year. The agility to initiate a seamless transformation requires disruption at many levels. This can be initiated by “one person”, a “change champion”.

This person should be entrusted and empowered to challenge the comfort zone and drive the rise of talented risk-takers within the business.

Those who succeed in endorsing this change seem to have one thing in common: they put the evolving needs of customers at the core of value-creation to drive growth, and they recognise talent, and Saudi Arabia has highly skilled human resources that can drive positive change.

The 2022 IMD World Talent Ranking (WTR) shows at a time where France has ranked 23rd, UK 28th and New Zealand 31st, the UAE ranked 21st (advancing two ranks from 2021) and Saudi Arabia made the largest leaps by advancing 8 ranks up to the 30th.

Of course, this transformation cannot happen overnight, it is a journey.

But in today’s world, organisations should not be focused merely on bottom lines. Instead, they should realign objectives and focus on how businesses can create value for their customers in a world that is entirely digital and where technology is no longer an option and lastly where insightful and relevant content is critical.

The equation is simple; creating value for customers will create value for the organisation.

It should be quite predictable by now that go-to-market strategies should transform. Marketing remains at the core of any business transformation. The fundamentals will always be the same, but the approach is different.

Most of the companies are wasting huge marketing budgets, using the typical go to market approach, with the “hope” to capture a decent market share.

Previously, that approach was centered around creating a funny or emotional story delivered to the consumers through the craft of advertising.

This no longer works. Creativity and storytelling are not enough; although important, they need to be powered by the relevant and insightful data that allows for personalised content. And this cannot happen without talking to the audiences and engaging with them regularly. Audiences, data, content creation and technology are at the core of it all.

In the face of such changing market dynamics, it is crucial for businesses to understand ‘why’ their business might fail and ‘how’ to undergo transformative changes, and for this to happen, finding the right change champion, even if from outside the comfort zone, is crucial.

So, ask yourself, is your business ready for tomorrow?

By Mazen Mitri, Chief Growth Officer, Webedia Arabia.