Industry snapshot: Ghaleb Abdoun, RELY

Ghaleb Abdoun, general manager, RELY.

What is the biggest challenge to the way you do business in Saudi?

Tactical short-term media planning, where media ad space is being ordered on campaign-by-campaign basis, has always been a considerable challenge to the way we do media business in Saudi. That is mainly applicable to small and medium-sized local accounts, which are difficult to convince of the benefits of long-term media planning. This holds back media planners from thinking in terms of strategic planning and limits their potential to tactical deliverables only. Hence, we sometimes see inconsistent media approaches. However, with the recent emerge of local young marketers, we are seeing a change to the way media investments are being tackled. This is positive news to media agencies and vendors alike.

How are social changes affecting the industry?

The recent changes taking place in the kingdom had a positive impact on the media industry. For example, the entertainment and tourism sectors brought enormous opportunities, where concerts, festivals, and events highly contributed to local ad spend. Moreover, cinema has arrived to fill a gap in the media mix being offered in Saudi. The media industry has a key role to play in communicating the ambitious changes and transformations taking place in Saudi Arabia.

What are clients asking for that’s new?

They’re asking for a stretched ad investment. With media budgets being affected by the recent pandemic, clients are more and more asking for customised media solutions that deliver on their marketing and sales objectives, yet take into consideration the limitations of media investment. Smart media planning is key to outperforming and delivering engaging campaigns without necessarily exceeding set budgets.

What are the biggest challenges to growth in KSA, and how are you tackling them?

We perfectly understand that media channels have multiplied, and new channels have recently emerged and are expanding by the day. This has affected consumers enormously making them easier to speak with and harder to speak at. Thus, creating media solutions that reach and interact with end consumers remains the biggest challenge to media agencies and their growth in KSA. Creating one general communication strategy is not helpful anymore. Instead, we use technology to design specific media strategies and implement them by conducting research and staying a step ahead of the changes the near future will bring.

Read Campaign’s complete Saudi Report 2021 here.