All pull to­gether

New re­search from Omobono shows where busi­nesses can bet­ter in­te­grate to mar­ket them­selves through their own peo­ple.

Campaign Middle East - - FRONT PAGE -

B usiness-to-busi­ness dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing firm Omobono, which opened its Dubai of­fice in Fe­bru­ary, last month re­leased the 2017 edi­tion of its What Works Where re­port, which looks at the state of B2B dig­i­tal in the UAE.

Omobono has pro­duced the re­port for seven years, ini­tially only in the UK, but now cov­er­ing the USA, Canada, Europe, In­dia and China. This is the first time the firm has pub­lished re­search on the UAE.

Hadley New­man, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Omobono Mid­dle East, says the re­search is a good piece of thought lead­er­ship to her­ald the com­pany’s ar­rival. “From a lo­cal point of view, com­ing into this mar­ket, I think it’s re­ally use­ful for po­si­tion­ing,” he says. “It sets us apart and re­ally puts our stake in the ground on what we do and the depth at which we do it.”

The re­search turned up three main op­por­tu­ni­ties for driv­ing busi­ness us­ing B2B dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing: thought lead­er­ship, the peo­ple within a com­pany, and in­te­gra­tion be­tween de­part­ments within the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“Dig­i­tal is al­ways a sub­set of busi­ness,” says Fran Brosen, the com­pany’s chair­woman and co-founder, who was in Dubai for the launch of the re­search. “The chal­lenges you face in dig­i­tal are ex­actly the same as you face in your busi­ness in any way. We’ve said specif­i­cally about thought lead­er­ship that you clearly need to be an ex­pert in some­thing, but dig­i­tal gives you a way to share that so that peo­ple can find you and see your ex­per­tise.

“There’s an op­por­tu­nity to do that well that dig­i­tal en­hances, be­cause it can get to peo­ple who are search­ing for very spe­cific things.”

In­ter­nal tal­ent and HR rep­re­sent the second op­por­tu­nity for im­prov­ing busi­ness, says Brosen. “Peo­ple are crit­i­cal in busi­ness and dig­i­tal does help you to talk to them within the com­pany, but also to give them in­for­ma­tion to share on­line. And they do so in spades.”

Per­haps the big­gest chal­lenge, though, is work­ing with other de­part­ments. “It’s a chal­lenge across busi­ness,” she says. “In or­der to do some­thing suc­cess­fully in busi­ness, so of­ten you have to work with teams from other

de­part­ments, and that’s about build­ing re­la­tion­ships. Dig­i­tal is ex­actly the same. Ev­ery­one’s com­mu­ni­cat­ing with dig­i­tal; you have to make sure that, in or­der to do it re­ally well as far as the cus­tomer is con­cerned, you have to bring peo­ple to­gether. Peo­ple slightly for­get that.”

Th­ese three prob­lem ar­eas are not unique to the re­gion, but Brosen says there is less thought lead­er­ship cir­cu­lated dig­i­tally in the Mid­dle East than in other parts of the world.

Em­ployee en­gage­ment is a cur­rent hot topic in B2B mar­ket­ing, she adds, and par­al­lels ex­ist be­tween the em­ployee jour­ney and build­ing cus­tomer loy­alty. “Think tal­ent to em­ployee, and then loyal em­ployee who pro­motes the com­pany,” says Brosen. “It’s ex­actly the same as prospect to cus­tomer to rec­om­mender or re­fer­rer.”

Just as your best cus­tomers are the ones who are most likely to re­fer you to other cus­tomers, the same hap­pens with em­ploy­ees. “Only the thing about em­ploy­ees is that they don’t only rec­om­mend you to other po­ten­tial em­ploy­ees,” she says. “They also rec­om­mend you to po­ten­tial cus­tomers.”

Only 16 per cent of re­spon­dents said it was a pri­or­ity over the next year to “en­sure their or­gan­i­sa­tion is ‘liv­ing’ the brand”. And even then, it was only their third pri­or­ity. “It’s never top of mar­ket­ing ob­jec­tives,” says Brosen. Only 3 per cent of brands thought that there should be more of a dig­i­tal com­po­nent to un­der­stand­ing em­ploy­ees. “This seemed lower here [than in other mar­kets],” says Brosen. “So the level of aware­ness is sim­i­lar, but per­haps the level of po­ten­tial is lower.”

She cites re­search that has found com­pa­nies with more en­gaged em­ploy­ees grow faster. “The rea­son is that ac­tu­ally – apart from prac­ti­cal things like em­ploy­ees don’t leave as of­ten, there­fore you don’t spend all your time re­cruit­ing peo­ple and rack up your re­cruit­ing costs – a lot of that is about peo­ple be­ing a com­mu­ni­ca­tions chan­nel.”

As a re­sult, New­man says he ex­pects Omobono’s work in the re­gion will in­creas­ingly be look­ing at em­ployee en­gage­ment as well as more tra­di­tional mar­ket­ing. “The mar­ket is wis­ing up to it,” he says. “As they un­der­stand it more, so it will be on the in­crease.”

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