Sales and Marketing

3 Ways to Use Marketing Automation in the Middle East

In this article, Janne Kilpeläinen talks about marketing automation that’s designed to help an organization prioritize and execute its marketing tasks in a much more efficient and streamlined manner.


With more than 10 years working in various marketing roles in the Middle East, I have been privileged to work with businesses and organizations across industries. Based on my experience, companies have plenty of untapped potential with their customer data to start engaging in data-driven marketing communications for their customer loyalty, retention and customer lifecycle value.

Data-driven marketing automation helps SMEs to focus on engaging content while getting rid of much of the manual campaign management. The key is to move away from mass communication and to go after personalized communication taking customer data into account. This helps to create customer segments as well as triggered and automated messaging.

For larger corporations marketing automation is essential to engage with omnichannel campaigns and handling different customer segments which combine several sources of customer data. Every business loves to get leads and lead nurturing is typically important for companies of all sizes.

Let’s take a look at three examples, where marketing automation could be used in the Middle East.

1.Case Hotel A: You have leads, but they are not converting

Company A is a group of several hotels in Dubai under their management. Their occupancy level is high but significant share of bookings come through online travel agents, such as Like any similar hotel, they want to improve their margins by increasing the share of direct bookings through their own website and direct sales team. Also, they have several F&B and spa outlets in their hotels they want their guests as well as local residents to visit. They have plenty of website visitors, but trouble converting them into room and F&B bookings. They send their monthly newsletters to everybody in their database, but have trouble diminishing open and click rates for those emails.

Marketing automation enables the hotel to identify website visitors, segment their database and create communication with the right content at the right time to the right recipient. By choosing the right moment to reach out to the potential customer with relevant content, the hotel now has better chances of converting those website visitors into bookings. Integrating marketing automation solutions with their various touch points and their customers, they’re automatically enriching and segmenting their valuable customer database.

A customer has chosen the dates and hotel, but didn’t complete the booking → send them an email on the following day with a link to complete the booking as well as options for their other hotels.

A user has signed up to the free wifi at the hotel→ introduce the F&B offerings across outlets.

A booking has been made →up-sell your additional services, for example, a spa package or room upgrade.

2. Case real estate B: Need to generate new leads

Corporate B is a real estate agency based in Dubai. The team is wasting a considerable amount of time on the leads that are not ready to buy, and the lead conversion has been down lately. Also, their customer database is old and brought in by the agents when they joined the company. Most likely, it is the same database all the other real estate agencies use in Dubai and the email blasts they send to them get very little response.

Marketing automation helps to identify the maturity and quality of the inbound prospects based on interaction with the company’s online resources (email marketing, website, social media) and other sources (CRM, property portals and event registrations). This way, they collect relevant data about the leads and segment their database accordingly. This helps the sales team to focus on those leads that are most likely to convert to buying customers.

A prospect fills in the lead form on Facebook → a lead to the marketing database and create a drip campaign about the off-plan property launch. The first email talks about location, the second email about investment and the third email has the link to download the brochure from the landing page.

A new lead is recoded in the CRM →depending on the segment of the lead (e.g. buyer, seller, tenant or landlord), the lead will get a relevant thank you email. For example, if the lead is a buyer and interested in off-plan investment, they will get an email about selection of available off-plan properties.

A lead clicks a link in a newsletter leading to a landing page, but doesn’t fill in the lead capture form →retarget with an email and/or SMS on the following day with a call to action message to come back to fill in the form.

3.Case webstore C: growing faster than your resources

Company C is a growing online store in Abu Dhabi. The majority of its website traffic is coming from PPC advertising and online search, which is both costly and website bounces are high. The majority of the customers who place products in the shopping carts leave the site without completing the purchase. Their newsletter is generic and sent to the whole database with the same content.

With the help of marketing automation, the online shop is able to identify the interests of their website visitors and increase conversions by retargeting with email. The ROI is improved as it helps them to reduce the required PPC ads and increase the conversions in general on their shop. Communication becomes personalised with recommended products, for example, based on earlier purchase history.

A customer places products on the shopping cart but leaves the shop without completing the purchase →send an email on the following day reminding they still have the products stored in the shopping cart for the next 24h and a link to complete the purchase.

Capture emails in a pop-up with an incentive to subscribe to the newsletter, for example, 10% off from the first purchase →once the website visitor is identified, you can retarget with an email containing products from the categories they visited.

A customer has not bought anything in the last 60 days →send an email highlighting products from the last purchased product category to maximize the customer lifecycle value.

Each industry has several examples and ideas of how marketing automation can be used to drive measurable results. The above-mentioned examples just scratch the surface. A good practice to get started is to collect the available customer data, choose the right marketing automation solution and begin with the basic automations. More advanced automations can be added later and finetuned when the results are reviewed.


About the author

SPI Group

An integrated platform created to serve entrepreneurs and service providers. SPI engages with over 100,000 Entrepreneurs & Senior decision makers through a unique combination of cutting edge business magazines, high profile B2B summits and conferences, strategic alliances with Govt, business associations and government bodies. SPI also leverages the power of digital marketing and social media.

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