2014 Marketing Trends we're probably going to see in the Middle East

Is the Middle East different from the rest of the world as far as marketing trends go? Is there a lag? Are we behind the curve? It's hard to judge, because in many situations this region is ahead, and in some, we are poorly behind. But let's keep an eye on some of the trends we will probably see in this region.

Big buzzwords floating around this year in this region are Content and Storytelling. Globally, 50% of companies have some kind of content marketing strategies already in place. And, remember, content isn't about brand stories, it's about customer stories that may (or sometimes may NOT) involve the brand directly. But content adds value to the customer-brand relationship. And storytelling – whether its via social, via visual web or via any other medium (blogs, anyone?) are going to be important, as Middle Eastern folks love a story, love to be involved and love to share a good tale.

Email is going to make a comeback. I've been saying this quite loudly, and I do believe that clever Subject Line Marketing in email is going to be a key factor here in the region. And do  remember the social sharing buttons in those emails because they get an average of 150% more Click Through Rates (CTRs).

Social Media budgets are already gaining over your typical ATL (advertising pure and simple) budgets. And I'm guesstimating they will double. Search will also gain ground. As many as two out of three (65%+) brand managers I have spoken to feel that they would increase their PPC budgets this year. Hooray for Google.

Not quite sure where budgets for online ads will go, but they'll certainly climb up – not nearly as much as the global trend of 25% but going there quickly.

Coming back to content, and keeping video driven markets like Saudi in mind, we'll see an increase of video on home pages or targeted landing pages. Any ways, most communications aimed at the Middle East markets are going to be heavily visual. It's going to be they year of the visual web.

Social in the way it is used might transform, because brands are often taking a bigger lead role in planning social content, so we'll see better synergy between brands and agencies towards producing social content. Content marketing may increasingly use testimonials (offers around a 90% better storytelling factor when from a customer angle), and posts on facebook and twitter are going to look "prettier" and have better images rather than just product posts.

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