Target Audience Is Princess And Content Is Prince


Within the context of social media, which is still a relatively new and young medium,  the audience is Princess and Content is Prince.

Gaining a social media following can be achieved through targeted, optimised paid advertising, outbound marketing, such as email, brochures, direct mail, above the line (promoting profiles), promotion on marketing collateral like business cards, pop-up stands at events, websites and email signatures.

New followers can also be gained organically as a result of peers sharing, re-tweeting, commenting or liking content, giving it higher visibility/reach and potentially enticing new followers.

The question is how do marketers create content that results in interaction, resulting in the above referrals through existing followers? The answer lies in having a well thought-out, researched content strategy.


Firstly, a content strategy should be planned with business or personal objectives in mind, content or Prince should aim to raise awareness, generate sales, elicit contact data for lead generation purposes, gain market research, or start a dialogue.  Without clear objectives, a company or ‘media owner’ does not benefit.

Listening Skills

Secondly, the target audience, Princess, needs to be understood, this involves considering the type of information Princess likes to consume, when she likes to consume it and the value it provides to her life.

Understanding Princess is no easy task, Princess is inundated with content, but serving her relevant, valuable content, inline with planned objectives, helps to achieve the all-magical and mutually beneficial engaging relationship, this requires listening skills from Prince and continuous dialogue.

Mission and Purpose 

To ensure a sustainable future, Prince must have a strong purpose, a clear mission or story, Princess mustn’t be left confused, and there should certainly be no mixed messages, lack of interaction or inconsistent communication which will only result in poor engagement.

Niche/ Segment

Prince cannot please the whole family, nor should he try, he should focus on understanding Princess (the niche/selected target audience) and provide value in the form of her favourite jewels (relevant creative content, information, images, videos, tips, games) and relevant discussion that they’ll both enjoy, not forgetting to have a good laugh!

Whilst keeping objectives, a clear mission, story and purpose in mind, Prince should offer variety, solve problems and learn from success.

Self Promotion/ Sales 

Prince shouldn’t talk about himself or sell all of the time, having a healthy amount of self-assurance is necessary, but taking it too far may turn Princess off.

Medium is the Message 

The medium is Prince’s message, each social media channel should be recognised and leveraged for its strength in communicating with Princess.

The Long Term

Prince should be less focused on the short-term (metrics) and turn his focus to a long-term mutually beneficial relationship, social media is a long-term commitment, a marathon not a sprint,  as a result Princess should become loyal, sharing, commenting, liking and re-tweeting her experiences, creating a happily ever after viral effect, sales, sign-ups and subscriptions for all, the kingdom is happy, otherwsie Prince should learn from where he is going wrong through a host of analytical/ measurement tools.

Categories: Content Marketing, Content Strategy, Social Media | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

4 Reasons Why Redundancy is An Opportunity

redundancy Continue reading

Categories: Business, Business World | 6 Comments

Does your business attire make a big difference to your career success?

Dress for successI’ve had this conversation with a few friends and colleagues. Generally we agree that capability should define career success and that “man or woman make the clothes”, clothes do not make the person and when judging the (wo)man we should always look beyond the clothes to the inner person. It’ll pay dividends!

However, we always come to the same conclusion: people judge you based on your looks, people judge you before you even open your mouth.

That may sound superficial but it’s the truth. This truth also varies by culture and work environment or sector. Your attire makes you feel different, it can make you more confident, or less confident and in turn this can impact your mood, your relationships at work, your posture, mind-set and career success.

Have you ever turned up to an interview tired in an outfit that you’re not too comfortable in and felt unconfident because of it? I’ve heard people say “He or she only got the promotion because of the way they dress”. I’ve heard of lost business deals based on appearance amongst other factors like lack of preparation. I’ve had people take a sneaky glimpse at my shoes during business meetings and my accessories. Politicians have lost elections in history based on appearance.

Newsflash: you are not Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, or Steve Jobs, the late former CEO of Apple – you cannot turn up to work in a t-shirt, or hoodie and jeans everyday, even these looks portray an image; one that shows a techie start-up transformed into a multi million dollar company by a laid back techie entrepreneur. Steve Jobs knew more than anyone that design and appearance matter. Take a look at the iPhone design and the famous white headphones. He insisted on designing the cover of his autobiography.

Dressing for success doesn’t mean you need spend a fortune on designer clothing, private tailors, or brand names, it means choosing to dress smarter; professionally, investing in a few nice suits, ties and shoes and making sure your clothes are well pressed, your shoes are polished; that your outfit matches and so do your accessories.

It means you don’t always “dress down” regardless of the casual dress code in your working environment and that you make an effort regardless of the fact that you manage a hectic home life and work so  hard that your added value should be apparent.

Or, if you insist your work environment is “dress down” or casual, keep it fashionable, trendy and experiment with different colours and styles – you can still convey a lot about yourself in a casual environment.


Brand guidelines and protection play a huge role in marketing and in creating a product or company’s image. Companies will go to huge lengths to protect their brand images, brands can be built to be worth millions, if not billions of dollars in value, and in short, you’re worth more! You too have an image and you convey a message, not saying you should be fake or advocating that you  become image obsessed and start posting “selfies” to Instagram daily, but be conscious of your fashion and clothes.

• Confidence

Clothing as well as your personal grooming have huge impacts on how you feel and on your confidence and how you carry yourself.

• Individuality

You should maintain individuality with your attire; aim to be your best self! Take time in the morning or at night before work to select clothes that say you’re  professional, that suit you and make you feel and look sharp – dress for success in your industry. Even colours work differently with different skin tones.

• Get organised

It helps to organise your wardrobe and to make sure clothes are matched and pressed in advance, it takes the stress out of finding a suitable outfit in the morning, provides variety and makes it easier to maintain good appearance.

Experiment with your work attire, dress up, wear a suit when you feel it’s appropriate, or dress up your casual attire so it’s “smarter casual”, review the latest fashions, that work for you and your individual style, and see how you feel and how people react to you in certain situations.

If you’re not confident in your work, if you don’t excel at what you do or if you’re not in the right career, well-pressed, smart, fashionable, trendy clothing and polished or nice shoes alone will not carry you very far and true confidence comes from within, however; a combination of great work, healthy self-esteem and good-looking attire can make a significant difference to your career success.

Your thoughts? Would you agree?

Categories: Business | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Creating an engaging Facebook community from scratch in 10 steps


A Facebook page can be powerful! There are millions of global active Facebook users checking their accounts daily, which gives you great reach as a marketer. A Facebook Page can help build closer relationships with your audience, engage prospects, create sales leads, build awareness for your cause and brand/product.

Before deciding to create a page, establish who your target audience is and whether or not they actually use Facebook, a great resource to research this is

You’ll also need to determine what your objectives or goals for the page are and how you’ll measure results – there are some useful metrics in step 10.

Ultimately you want to create a community i.e target a specific group of people with similar interests and give them a platform to discuss ideas and to engage with you and each other.

Now, how do you go about creating an engaging community and gaining fans from scratch?

1) Information, cover image and profile picture

Your page’s profile picture appears on your followers’ news feeds and in sponsored stories, so use an official logo or another image, perhaps one of you, that instantly connects to your brand. Your cover image is also key “real estate” and communicates about your brand/cause, use it for that purpose. Fans will check the cover image and the “About section” when considering liking a page, so make it compelling and give people a chance to learn about your page quickly.

2) Publicise

An owner of a page and admins can share the page with personal contacts; go to “Build audience” and invite email contacts, “friends” or share your page on your personal profile.

Ideally you want to invite relevant fans only, i.e. people who will find your content valuable and share your common interest and engage with your page, aim for quality rather than quantity, although ultimately you do need a large enough number of fans to have a community and to reach your goals of awareness.

Promote your page on other social networking sites that are relevant to your target audience like Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+ and link to your page from your personal or company blog and website.

Adding your Facebook address to your email signature is also a way to grow targeted fans as well as offline collateral, like event material. You can use QR codes on your business cards to promote your page, however, it’s also a good idea to promote the page name/ url as QR codes aren’t popular with everyone.

Alternatively, if you have obtained opt in email addresses through your blog, marketing events, website etc. email targeted contacts asking them to join your page.

Another idea is to cross promote your page with page managers who have similar interests who can mutually benefit from promoting your page and vice versa.

3) Understand your fans, really get to know them

Once you start to get fans, do as much as you can to understand them and what content they like to engage with, the best way to do this is to ask questions and encourage conversation. You’ll be surprised how many people are happy to answer questions, respond to polls and engage. Facebook is a two-way channel, don’t only use it to broadcast.

4) Content is king!

Be real – go beyond your corporate goals. Share stuff that engages your audience, don’t just use your page to promote your campaigns or promotions in a sporadic manner, that’s BORING! Form relationships, just as you would with your personal profile. Don’t forget people who use Facebook are human and are looking for relevant but engaging, fun, compelling, informative content, exclusive benefits and interaction, not just to be sold to.

Be original and use a natural tone of voice also have some policies in place, i.e. no political updates, swearing etc.

Editorial calendar – Be consistent,  To  organise content and to create a schedule for posts create an  editorial calendar.  Fans will begin to know what to expect and it means you wont be shouting and sending out random messages.

When people share your posts, comment on them or like content, your brand/ page name is shared with fan’s friends and who may also find your content relevant and share or like your page. Therefore the more relevant and compelling the content you provide, the more it gets shared and spread across the social network.

Get visual. Using imagery is a powerful way to communicate, so use powerful, engaging, ORIGINAL, relevant or funny images – and ensure they’re high quality.

If customers or prospects attend one of your offline events take photos of them and share them on your page, this gets people more engaged, again if they share their pictures on their profiles your page name or brand follows.

Experiment with your posts, test out different content and media, including video, review which posts get the highest interaction “engagement” and improve your “talking bout this score”.

A lot of page owners run competitions using third-party apps to engage followers, this is an idea you can try out to increase engagement and fans.

Facebook has recently introduced the use of #Hashtags. Hashtags turn text into clickable links in your posts. This helps people, who aren’t necessarily fans, to find posts about topics they’re interested in, similar to how it works on Twitter, look for hashtags related to your topic and use them in posts e.g I’ll use #FaceBookMarketing #FaceBookTips.

Research has shown that people like positive stories on Facebook and so the old adage that “bad news sells” isn’t necessarily true with Facebook. Keep it positive!

5) Find complementary Facebook Pages

Find complementary Facebook pages and like them as your Page, then watch your page home feed and comment thoughtfully on the posts and share valuable content on your page, providing it’s not competitor information, again this gets your brand or page name out there and can get you relevant followers.

6) Incite comments and listen

Ask your fans questions, use polls, again engaging, thought-provoking posts can get you those comments. This will impact your “Edge Rank” score; Edge Rank is Facebook’s “algorithm” and determines whether or not your posts appear in fans’ newsfeeds. You should spend some time learning about Edge Rank and you should spend a lot of time listening to your fans i.e. reading what they write about on your own and competitors’ pages. Social media is an interactive channel, learn!

7) Paid Ads and sponsored stories

You can advertise your page targeting people based on interests, location, gender, age, education, language and more, if you chose to use “sponsored stories” when advertising, which I highly recommend, friends of people interacting with your page, because of these ads, will get to see these interactions.

8) Be Consistent, post frequently

Don’t let your page die, so many page owners do. Keep content fresh, relevant and updated. This is an effort, either hire someone who’s passionate, or be passionate, remember you could potentially be reaching thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people in your target audience for a low-cost.

Some proponents advise to post between 1-5 times per day. You don’t want to inundate followers with posts and so it’s advisable to start with perhaps one to two posts a day, reviewing interaction and feedback and taking it from there. This doesn’t mean you need to waste endless hours in front of Facebook; you can schedule posts in advance, which Facebook allows you to do, or use a tool like HootSuite to schedule posts. You should also take the time to respond to fans in real-time and to post in real-time, remembering your fans are human and that you should be aiming to form relationships.

Know the best time to post and when the best “traffic window” is available, this depends on your time zone/s and target audience. Again, this will determine whether or not fans see your posts, you can check this out with “Facebook insights”.

9) Link to your website/blog/ e-commerce site

Link to your website, landing pages, with special offers and use Facebook for commercial purposes once in a while if that’s the purpose of your page. Your blog may be the “hub” of all of your social media efforts, or to your company website or sales landing page. Don’t sell too often; that’s not why fans interact with your page.

10) Monitor and measure

Get familiar with “Facebook Insights”, Insights provide measurements on your page’s performance; demographic information about your audience and shows how people are discovering and responding to your posts.

At the start of this article I stated you should have goals. If you’re measuring awareness, review the number of fans you have and growth, if you’re aiming to improve brand consideration, you really want to work on interaction and comments, likewise for market research. Ultimately, if you’re looking for sales, you should measure traffic to your website, enquiries or conversions made through your Facebook page and via the contact number or email.

Although I’ve been consulting for various Facebook brand pages for a while and follow over a hundred pages (not all of which have updates that appear in my news feed), I’ve just started my own personal/consultantcy Facebook page, if you like what you’ve just read, please join my page for more content and posts like this and feel free to share the page.

Categories: Facebook, Social Media | Leave a comment

Africa, one continent many worlds


It’s been a while since my last post, apologies, testing times in Egypt plus I was focusing on my fast during Ramadan, more recently, I was in South Africa! I usually reside in Egypt and went to discover South Africa’s magic.

Africa is not one big poverty-ridden continent, contrary to some perceptions and images portrayed by some media outlets, the image of the starving child and disease is not representative of all countries, yes, there are poor countries, however, many are abundant in natural resources like gold, gas, petroleum and minerals.  As well natural resources, these countries benefit from tourism and have a host of developing diverse industries e.g. agriculture, manufacturing, banking and telecommunications. The World Cup was hosted in South Africa in 2010, boosting its profile as a tourist destination, the government also invested in local infrastructure to accommodate, impacting the local economy and jobs, for example construction.

Countries also benefit from access to global capital markets and receive foreign direct investment which aids growth. The BRIC is forming strong economic ties with Africa, particularly China.

Many countries in Africa have large populations, e.g. Egypt has a population of approximately 85 to 90 million, which forms a large domestic market, this includes a large pool of well-educated youth and rising middle classes as a result of economic success.

Africa consists of 54 independent countries and understanding the continent or individual countries is not a simple task, it requires research, exposure and business experience. North Africa and South Africa, albeit on the same continent, are worlds apart. They’re different in terms of ethnicities, culture, traditions, languages, religion, history, politics and business opportunities. I cannot stress how important it is that businesses and marketers recognise each country in Africa as unique and as individual markets.

Various countries in Africa are up and coming, as a result of political stability, reform, privatization, openness to trade and investment. Some countris in North Africa have recently become unstable post the “Arab Spring” however, these countries are eager to regain stability, attract tourism and continue to grow economically, political stability, however, is a prerequisite, hopefully this is a short-lived transitional stage. Countries in North Africa must also be regarded as unique markets and what’s currently occurring in Egypt does not represent what’s happening in neighbouring markets. Also, the global mass media can exaggerate the situation on the ground, after all bad news sells.

Businesses, in developed markets, are looking for growth from countries in Africa, in the face of tough competition in home markets; African markets can offer good return or investment, new customers and clients.


It’s key that any international marketing strategy treats each stand-alone market with a unique approach, this begins  with marketing segmentation. The countries in Africa cannot be clumped into one region or market. There are less developed countries in the region as well as more advanced countries in terms of: living standards, consumer demands, business maturity, expertise and levels of sophistication in Internet marketing, for example.

In my book, I discuss the market attractiveness model, which helps business strategists and decisions markers to segment regions, to classify countries, markets and industries according to business attractiveness vs. a businesses’ own capabilities in doing business in these market.

When I worked for Cisco 2012, we classed South Africa as an “A” market, it was a key market for  business growth  in the region, Nigeria and Egypt were classed as “B” markets, at the time. These were considered attractive for various reasons, e.g. wealth, natural resources, ease of doing business, growth rates  in GDP, stability and various other positive business and economic factors.

This segmentation determined marketing investment, budget allocation and resources in terms of teams and dedication. Other markets in the region were classed as C markets, or tertiary and treated accordingly.

Each business experience will be different as well as the ROI, sales and growth.

Targeting and business models:

Once the individual markets/ countries have been segmented, the next decision is to decide which countries to operate in i.e. the target markets, and how to do business with these markets i.e. export, partnering or e-commerce.  This is where the investment commences and implementation takes part.


This is perhaps my favourite topic, perhaps because I’m a bit of a traveller and different cultures inspire me. Marketing strategy and communications need to be tailored to local markets, products and solutions need to meet local pain points and marketing needs.

Ethnicities, cultures and needs are starkly different from north to south and this should be reflected in marketing campaigns, creative and communications. The look and feel of communications and languages will differ completely. In the continent, major business languages include French, Arabic, English and Portuguese, of course using the wrong business language in marketing communications has huge implications for business results.

Egypt is predominantly a Muslim country which also has an impact on marketing and sensitivity,  the main religion in South Africa is Christianity, in Islam alcohol is prohibited, although it’s available in Egypt and accessible, this for example may be a consideration when doing business with the market, i.e. it may not be acceptable to serve alcohol at an event.

The wonderful Internet:

Social media is booming in the region, again each individual market has its own popular network/s, in Egypt and South Africa alike, Facebook and Twitter are popular. In general, growth in Internet penetration in the region and certain markets has accelerated in recent years due to investment in infrastructure and wireless. This is a new means to reach new markets and to test tailored, localised campaigns easily in comparison to offline. Social media has been instrumental in the communication during social uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, having a well-defined and planned social media strategy can help to establish brand awareness; build a contact database and to establish sales or generate leads.

Using the internet to reach markets in Africa is beneficial for a multitude of reasons, including the well-known benefits of digital, which I need not write about here, one major benefit is that it’s more reliable than traditional direct marketing, for example, the postal infrastructure in Egypt is less developed in relation to western markets and therefore you can count on an email arriving over a piece of direct mail.

The benefits are also that you can test messages and localised campaigns and track responses and receptiveness from local individual markets at low-cost.

The Internet is a strong marketing tool, however, it’s important to combine it with other media channels which to an extent depends on the demographic or fimographic.

Doing business in international and emerging markets is not easy, there’s a lot to be learnt, each market is unique and requires dedicated investment in terms of resources, there is a high level of risk, however, rewards can be high. As I mention in all my articles, learning is key and partnering with knowledgeable local businesses is invaluable.

Thoughts and prayers for Egypt as it currently goes through its political growing pains and here’s to a prosperous future.

Categories: Emerging Markets, Global Marketing, Localisation | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Retail and consumer brands global yet local in fast growth markets

Are you looking to grow your business in international markets? The large brands / companies are doing it to grow the top line. They’re chosing to target emerging and frontier markets as they’re facing tough trading conditions in “developed” mature markets.

See below images for some of the consumer brands I’m referring to, the middle image is Virgin!

Emerging Markets

The images were snapped up by me In Qatar, Doha and UAE, Dubai. Both markets were recently upgraded from frontier, riskier markets than emerging, to emerging markets.

“Both are seeing capital flows coming into their countries in the form of tourism, trade and financial services. These are safe havens of the Middle East. In addition, there continues to be a substantial development spending,” according to CNN.

These markets  amongst others, such as the BRIC , offer profitable growth for companies in terms of consumers.

Emerging markets continue to lead growth though political and economic changes. Sadly and inevitably, Greece became the first  “developed market” to be downgraded to an emerging market. The world is all change most notably since the Financial Crisis.

Brand strategy and logos

As you can see these major brands have localized by translating their brand names, albeit keeping their successful global identities, so they are local, yet global, glocal brands!

Monsoon uses  its brands name in English and in local language, Arabic.

These brands are playing on the strength of their brand identities and loyalty and other factors that give them brand strength, yet being locally sensitive by using, at the simplest level of localization, local language.

We live in a global village, that’s nothing new, the internet and travel means that people are used to seeing familiar brands and logos  wherever they travel and through online advertising and social media sharing sites, they want the global experience but the local feel.

Some brands benefit from the “country of origin” effect, i.e. people in local markets are more willing to purchase them, sometimes for a premium price, as the brands are perceived      to be exclusive, and luxurious relative to local brands.

With the below example brands, there’s a fine balancing act between maintaining a global identity and being local, glocal! Whilst keeping a consistent look with the international brand, they respect the local language and therefore can build a connection with the local audience.

Whilst benefiting from the brand equity they are also being flexible.

Strap lines

I’ve also seen straplines localised, i.e. the message is created for the local market. This does not mean that straplines are simply translated; translation does not always work and straplines can lose meaning in local markets. Straplines are created with the local culture in mind although they do share the same positioning and messaging as their original straplines.


Further localization occurs within the marketing mix, or the 7 Ps.  FMCG brands do this really well.

I’ve noticed that a lot of global fashion retailers will localise their products and that I can purchase clothes in some countries localised to the local taste, products that aren’t available in their stores in American or European markets for example.

In the Middle East in some Gulf countries, the clothes are a little more “flamboyant,” inline with local taste, in comparison to some European markets like the UK, London, my home town.

Relatively recently, friends in Cairo, expressed their lack of enthusiasm for Marks and Spencer’s extremely formal range. I can’t advise how they are performing with regards to sales, however, when any brand enters a new markets it’s important that they spend time researching the local taste, tailoring and localizing some of the merchandise for  local markets and their target audience. See their Facebook page for Egypt, also not very localised, I wonder if it’s managed by a local community manager. They may be exploiting the country of origin effect, and many middle class citizens in Egypt will speak fluent English.

See McDonald’s Facebook page Egypt, in comparison, it is localized to an extent, however, the target audience here “fans” is a mass audience and McDonald’s also targets the lower-income demographic who may not speak fluent English.

It’s a small world after all

It’s becoming easier to grow sales in new markets as the world becomes a smaller place or a “global village”, some people argue that this is a bad things, others may perceive it to be a good thing depending on which country or market is benefiting most economically.

Also, with the internet and advancement in communications and travel, companies don’t necessarily need to be have a large brand  or company to be able to enter new markets today, however, research is a must and partnering with local marketing agencies and local businesses can reduce risk when physically entering new markets. Alternatively you may choose to export to partners or sell via e-commerce  websites or generate leads for B2b marketing via online marketing campaigns. China makes the world takes, it’s not just “developed” markets exporting.

Website localization:

Businesses may communicate to new markets with their websites by using multilingual sites, or by offering local sites which users can locate on a main website typically ending .com. Typically  the main website will have a “global gateway,” a  drop down menu which shows local websites for each country, see

Ikea has local stores in local markets, but a local store is not  prerequisite for trade for all retailer, businesses may be able to sell via online commerce, a consideration here and critical success factor is delivery, a leading example is Amazon.

Here’s a recent checklist I created for consideration when localizing aspects of marketing communications and the marketing mix.

Monsoon localisedVirgin localisedRed bull localised

Your thoughts? Have you come across any examples of localization during your business travels or holidays?

Categories: Emerging Markets, Global Marketing, Localisation | Tags: , | Leave a comment

5 ways to learn more about customer needs in local markets

Marketing to emerging markets

5 tips for today’s global marketing leader

There’s really no better way of learning about marketing to a new international market, or emerging market than by living in one, or two! Or by visiting, however, the internet makes doing business in an international context far easier than ever before.

Having recently moved from Egypt, Cairo, to Qatar, Doha, previously having lived in the UK and working virtually with counties in Latin America, Russia, Central Eastern Europe and Asia, as part of a multinational marketing team, I have a few year’s experience doing marketing in “developed” and “emerging” markets.

Today, with digital marketing, marketers are international by nature. Web, social, email, video and mobile have no borders. Timezones and distance are no longer barriers to growing businesses globally in fast growth markets.

Businesses in developing markets, which are mature, and post recessionary are increasingly looking to emerging markets as an option for revenue growth or are doing business with them to increase revenue.

Below are a few universal tips:

1) Listening

The best way to have a conversation in social media is to listen to existing conversations. The same is true for doing business in new markets.

Many multinational or large companies have withdrawn from new international markets because they haven’t taken the time to understand them.

Making assumptions about markets, generalising, or just not doing your research can be detrimental to your brand and company profits.

Qatar and Egypt are both in the Middle East, Islam is the predominant religion in both markets, they share some cultural similarities, however, both markets are inherently different. The different markets have differing cultural dress, foods, traditions and ways of doing business.

Egypt is more sophisticated and mature in terms of marketing than Qatar, however, Qatar is more resource and cash rich. In Cairo you’re bombarded with outdoor advertising, whereas in Doha there is very little.

Listen by working with local agencies, sales teams, partners or research firms, learn from marketing efforts. Fail fast in digital. Test localised integrated campaigns for results on a small sample of your target audience and learn from real-time or speedy results.

Listen and monitor conversations about your industry, product and market via social media, have your own social media channels and make listening a priority, as well as acting upon it.

2) Understand the unspoken rules, be sensitive and aware

If you’re serious about doing business in an international market, take time to understand the culture. Understand the norms, what’s expected, ways of doing business and what may potentially offend. This is very important. Once I attended a conference in Dubai where a (non-local) speaker decided to show a video of a man getting naked and jumping into a pool! The audience were mainly from North Africa and Gulf states, this was and still is considered offensive, the nudity was not considered humorous.

The only person who may have found the video amusing was the speaker, he then went on to present for 45 minutes after showing the video and offending his audience, not a very admirable position to be in, the room was silent! Hopefully, not a common mistake, but it happens.

3) Getting Involved

Don’t be afraid to get involved with local initiatives. Enjoy new ways of working, new cultures and grow!

Let go of preconceived perceptions and enjoy new experiences whether working virtually or in the local market.

4) Localise

“In China, the color red symbolizes luck. In India, the same color symbolizes purity. In many Western countries, however, red symbolizes danger. In some countries, green is either a symbol of prosperity or of nature. Nothing with regard to brand acceptance is simply black and white.” Emerging Business Online, Global Markets and the Power of B2b Internet Marketing.

Localise your campaigns. I’ve seen strap lines for brands literally translated into other languages which have lost their meaning, literally messages have been lost in translation.

Understand the local culture, customer pain points, cultural sensitivities  the sense of humour and produce content that resonates with your local audience. The imagery, colours and copy in local language are the tip of the iceberg, before that comes the proposition, the messaging and the meaning.

Red symbolises luck in China, that’s true but that’s also very traditional, the Chinese site, a leading online global market place for small businesses, uses orange as part of its branding.

Digital creative from agencies based in Brazil tends to be vibrant, colourful and bold. 

Leading social networks like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn allow marketers to use local languages, for international marketing, hire a social media manager who’s fluent int the local language, if it’s the business language, to manage your social media communities. In Egypt and Qatar  the business languages are English and Arabic.

5) Superiority

Qatar as a country and emerging market is transforming,  diversifying from a natural resource – based economy into various industries such as real estate, banking, information technology, services and tourism.

Businesses are seeking to hire marketers from developed economies and to import skills, so import your skills but do not import an attitude of superiority, this should go without saying, but you’d be surprised.

To find out more about doing business in emerging markets and digital marketing in a global context, you can read Emerging Business Online, Global Markets and the Power of B2b Internet Marketing an New York FT Press Publication. Get introduced to ebocube model, don’t struggle with trial and error approaches to global digital marketing.

Hard copy:

Kindle Version:


Categories: Emerging Markets, Global Marketing, Localisation | 3 Comments

How Brands like Apple Could Be driving Higher ROMI

I recently wrote an article about using call to actions to measure and track the effectiveness of marketing and to report return on marketing investment (ROMI.)

The article mentioned how marketers often omit or poorly market call to actions in their advertising,  this is particularly true in above the line marketing (ATL), such as billboards.

Recently, exiting London’s Trains Station Paddington, I noticed that Apple are running a  campaign to promote their new iPad. In actual fact, I am considering purchasing the new iPad and so this advertising was relevant to me.  They are advertising using billboards, and I have also noticed they’re running TV adverts. Not low cost.

Their advertising covers several billboards beginning from the train station exit to the main road. The imagery is great, however, I noticed they haven’t included clear call to actions on their advertising, if any at all.

“Considering the latest iPad?”

The two disadvantages here are that, firstly, they’ve lost the opportunity to capture my data as a potential customer. They could have promoted an information campaign landing page, with a unique tracking friendly url, which I could have visited as a prospect to find out more. The page could have requested my contact data and wouldn’t it be great if they could have followed up with an email to move me along the buying cycle, enticing my consideration?

They could have promoted their Facebook fan page for the UK market, had I have seen the Facebook page url I could have joined it and they could have kept me engaged and their brand/ products relevant to me with regular updates in my newsfeed.

Secondly, Apple now have no idea that I saw their advertising. Perhaps the security cameras caught me snapping up these billboard adverts with my iPhone, see below! At best I could see the words “Connect from iTunes”.

I do adore Apple’s marketing, after all, what other company can entice consumers to queue for a product? Of course they are doing extremely well as a company and perhaps they have no shortage of marketing budget. I do believe many large organisations could track and measure the results of marketing effectively by using simple call to actions, particularly consumer brands. This would also enable them to build their customer databases and improve customer relationship management (CRM).

It really is as easy as ABC to track the effectiveness of marketing. Using call to actions is a great start!




Categories: Advertising, Budgeting, Global Marketing, ROMI | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Emerging Markets + the Internet = ebocube model


Emerging Markets + the Internet = ebocube model

Emerging markets refer to countries experiencing relatively recent industrial, political and technological change resulting in rapid economic growth. Emerging markets cover more than the BRICs, however; these countries are amongst the buoyant emerging giants.

Large populations generally characterize these markets, as is obvious with China and India. They tend to be dominated by young populations and rising middle classes.

As revenues plateau in saturated, developed markets, expansion into emerging markets is a popular means for reaching new growth targets. They were hit by the global recession, however; many remain in a robust growth position, but the endeavor involves uncertainty and risk.

Bringing the Next Billion People Online

Developed countries have long defined the Internet, however, at least 500 million new users of the Internet are expected to come from emerging markets from 2012 to 2015, according to Google. And the cyber-landscape is set to drastically change.

The Internet and social media were instrumental in facilitating the Arab Spring and have brought a new wave of Internet businesses and active users to the region.

China’s current online retail market size is second only to the United States and is predicted to explode over the next five years. (A.T. Kearney Retail e-Commerce Index of Emerging Markets)

Global Digital Era Transforming the marketing agenda

Senior executives in developed economies, working in organizations, small and large, are asking the following questions:

  • How can we get ahead of competitors in emerging markets?
  • How can our business mitigate risks when we enter risky, high-growth emerging markets?
  • How can we measure marketing activities and sales-related results in these markets?

 ebocube B2b digital marketing model

Foreseeing this need, international B2b Digital Marketing Manager Lara Fawzy developed the first tested end-to-end b2b Internet marketing model laid out in her book, Emerging Business Online: Global Markets and the Power of B2B Internet Marketing (FT Press, ISBN 13: 9780137064410, 291).

This robust framework is based on tested processes and results from Cisco, and other multinational experience.

It’s designed to provide B2b electronic customer relationship management (CRM) for global professionals.

It shows marketers how to plan, execute, track, measure and learn from global digital marketing. It demonstrates key marketing metrics in relation to the sales cycle; for the purpose of B2b lead generation, and how to measure them.

The model is called ‘ebocube’, which stands for emerging business online, with cube referring to the visual framework of the three-phase model.

The structure is low-cost, and has helped organisations to make significant cost savings and high return on marketing investment (ROMI); it’s a sustainable business-to-business global model, underpinned by the Internet.

ebocube model can be implemented with the following three phases:

Phase One: The Dashboard and the Datacube.

This phase focuses on reporting on marketing, sales, and company or contact data for the businesses being targeted in emerging markets. It measures what’s working (or not working) and which market is generating the highest return on marketing investment (ROMI). The datacube also represents the quality of contact data to leverage an eCRM strategy. These reports mean business decisions are not based on instinct or assumption, but on numbers and business intelligence.

Phase Two: Campaign and Data planning.

Using the ebocube commercial cycle (contact buying cycle/decision-making process and data life cycle), phase two discusses the proposition, messaging, the incentive, localization, budgeting, and integrating the media mix (online and offline) to achieve ebocube commercial cycle goals.

Phase Three: Marketing Operations or mops.

Phase three covers budgeting, planning, executing, tracking, and measuring campaigns to feed the dashboard with meaningful metrics. It also demonstrates how  to feed your company database, with contact and company data, which can be represented in the datacube. Phase three closes the loop on marketing, data, and sales in global markets.

ebocube model demystifies sales and marketing practices as relationships crisscross digital, business, and national borders.

Emerging Business Online, Global Markets and the Power of B2b Internet Marketing is concluded with this powerful quote:

“The previous generation of marketers used to say: “Half of the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half ” (according to John Wanamaker). Today, in this innovative, global-information century and with ebocube business model, that excuse is obsolete. Because of marketing operations and the ebocube dashboard, it’s clear which part of our budget is being wasted. “

The time is now.

Categories: B2b, Emerging Markets, Global Marketing, Lead Generation | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Business growth from “Emerging Markets” and Internet Marketing

Emerging markets describe countries of the world with relatively recent industrial and technological change and now experiencing rapid economic growth.

Goldman Sachs popularized the acronym BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) to identify countries that many economists believe to be economically powerful in terms of current and future growth. These are the well-known, high potential emerging markets, but the term extends to countries in Africa, the Gulf, other countries in South America like Mexico and Europe too.

Each emerging market is unique, of course, and businesses need to approach them individually addressing their unique economic, market, business and consumer characteristics.

Large populations generally characterize emerging markets, as is obvious with China and India. They also tend to be dominated by young populations.

Whereas some of these markets remain politically and economically unstable, many other nations have through reform successfully stabilized their economies and normalized their trade practices.

Emerging markets  (130 countries and counting) comprise more than two-thirds of the global land mass. Most are rich in natural resources (in large part because their slow industrial and economic development has left their resources untapped) and host diverse industries, including manufacturing, oil and gas, agriculture and tourism.

Outsourcing from developed markets

As corporations re-engineered their operations through global outsourcing and new market development, they also imported into “client” emerging market countries advanced expertise in finance and business processes, for example banks have outsourced operations, companies have outsourced call centers and manufacturing.

Global intermediaries such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) became more sophisticated in advising these nations on economic management.


Some emerging market nations have the potential to leapfrog developed markets because they are not slowed by legacy technologies. Japan (a “developed market”) became an advanced economy post World War II by leapfrogging technology developed by countries like the UK after the Industrial Revolution, amongst other factors. India has leapfrogged land- line telephony to become a mobile, wireless economy.

Emerging on emerging:

Many emerging markets are trading or partnering with other emerging markets, for example, China is penetrating markets and collaborating with specific industries in Africa.

Why they’re significant

These markets are even more significant now because of the economic slowdown in developed markets and general market saturation.

Even though developing markets are experiencing recessionary effects from the global financial crisis, many emerging market countries remain in a robust growth position. Growth will continue to come from emerging markets for the next 10 to 15 years at least, not only during this current recessionary period (in developed markets).

Economists have forecasted that China is soon to be the next superpower, by becoming the world’s largest economy, measured by gross domestic product (GDP).

With fast economic growth and transition, there’s a rise of middle classes in emerging markets, significant parts of the economy are rising up from poverty and are keen to purchase imported consumer products.

These consumers make good markets for companies struggling with declining sales in in developed markets.

The role of the Internet

The Internet has removed travel and time boundaries by allowing trade among markets in real time. The global reach of the Internet may be the most significant transformative development since the industrial age. As infrastructure and telephony bring Internet penetration to billions more of the world’s people over the next few years, the emerging markets phenomenon will be exponential. The Internet will become the major platform that allows the free flow of business activity, leveraged by applications and tools such as websites, video applications, social media, collaborative tools and mobile.

Companies in sluggish developed markets now have the potential to penetrate these markets with Internet marketing with lower risk and higher accuracy.

To find out more about B2b marketing in global markets, you can read Emerging Business Online, Global Markets and the Power of B2b Internet Marketing a New York FT Press Publication.

Hard copy:

Kindle Version:

Categories: Emerging Markets, Global Marketing | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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