UAE SMEs can benefit from online marketing

Small businesses could grow using a digital platform, says Genesis Consulting

Tags: E-commerceGenesis Consulting ME (www.genesis-me.com)United Arab Emirates
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UAE SMEs can benefit from online marketing Bahaa Fatairy, PR manager, Genesis ME Consulting.
By  Bahaa Fatairy Published  April 23, 2013

Online marketing strategy, when executed properly, has the potential to effectively widen a company's reach beyond its usual client base. Because it is relatively more cost-effective than traditional methods of selling and promoting, Internet marketing also holds particular value for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

In the Middle East, as in many regions worldwide, the SME sector has been an invaluable economic driving force. In the UAE alone, the SME landscape has expanded so rapidly over the past years that it now represents 40% of the nation's GDP, and is responsible for generating over 40% of the domestic employment requirements.

While there is currently no research that underscores the extent of regional SMEs' online marketing penetration levels, anecdotal evidence shows that some companies, unfortunately, are late to the game as they fail to capitalise on possible sales leads that lie in cyberspace.

The trend is not exclusive to the Middle East, however. In the United Kingdom, less tech-savvy SMEs are reportedly losing out on GBP122bn (AED732bn) in sales revenue by neglecting to develop and implement a sustainable marketing plan, particularly one that involves an online strategy, according to a survey published in March by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr).

As their numbers increase and the market becomes highly competitive, SMEs must embrace innovation as their plan of action in order to remain afloat. Online marketing, for this matter, has been an ideal platform to promote and grow a company, not just within its home base, but also worldwide, as recent media trends would suggest.

Over the years, online media's influence has been gathering momentum and gaining an upper hand versus print media as more and more readers turn to the Internet for their daily information consumption. As consumers make their presence felt on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, companies are obliged to embrace social media in a bid to engage with existing and potential customers.

However, one of the major challenges that marketers and communication specialists in the Middle East face is the need to educate clients on the basics of online technology, Web presence and social media - and how these can be adopted into their company's growth strategy.

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