The blueprint to free zone marketing in Dubai

Campaign Middle East spoke with Adam Taylor, Director of Marketing at Dubai’s International Free Zone Authority (IFZA), to learn more about its marketing approach in the competitive industry of free zones in the UAE.

Adam has over two decades of experience in marketing across diverse sectors spanning from local to international brands. He specialises in crafting data-driven strategies that drive commercial growth at IFZA.

Can you provide an overview of IFZA’s current marketing strategy?

Our current marketing strategy at IFZA is focused on enhancing global brand awareness, supporting our global network, and building relationships with key stakeholders, government entities, and business associations to drive increased foreign direct investment into the UAE.

What are some of the main challenges that come along with marketing a freezone?

The UAE hosts over 47 free zones. Growth is evident as competition intensifies among free zones to attract businesses and investors. There is a significant need to educate certain markets and recognize the intense competition within this sector.

Establishing a clear value proposition is essential for brand differentiation.

We strive to achieve this by developing and communicating our value-add services beyond our core competencies, in addition to creating educational content to support our partners, which emphasizes the advantages of establishing within a free zone, particularly in Dubai.

Marketing a free zone also becomes challenging due to the varied interpretations of what a free zone is. The term ‘free zone’ covers a broad range of industries and economic zones, each with its own nuances.

We navigate these complexities by ensuring effective communication with potential investors globally, to convey the benefits and opportunities offered by IFZA accurately.

What are the best results IFZA has seen so far with its marketing initiatives?

Over the last two years, IFZA’s ‘always-on’ and tactical marketing campaigns have produced phenomenal results, evidenced by a 22-fold increase in marketing return on investment. This contributes significantly to the overall company growth and establishes IFZA as a thought leader within the industry.

Through the creation of relevant organic content that informs and engages our audience, IFZA outpaces the current market industry growth.

What does IFZA do differently than its competitors to market its services?

IFZA has developed a proprietary digital marketing tool that streamlines its data collection and analysis processes, enabling us to automate various marketing tasks with unmatched accuracy, in local and international markets.

Coupled with advancements in ad serving technologies, it enables us to deliver targeted messages to engage audiences that are likely to convert.

We also recently launched a dedicated loyalty and partner portal for our professional partners, to highlight key initiatives within our ecosystem and provides updates on procedural changes to support our partners.

The partner portal is a specially designed, all-in-one space that offers a seamless flow of information, enhancing efficiencies for our partners.

What creative approach does IFZA consider when developing campaigns?

All our marketing campaigns are developed in-house, characterized by a blend of creativity and thorough research. However, in principle we take a simplistic approach to connecting with audiences.

We undertake significant research in our target markets through segmentation and develop our value proposition and positioning for each market, then develop varied campaigns for testing and optimizing the results.

We also collaborate closely with our operations and client engagement teams to obtain direct feedback, ensuring that our future campaigns are not only creative but also address the needs of our target audience.