5 key points to increase sales in the Middle East markets
Many international companies (businesses in North America, Europe, China, Japan and South Korea) are aware of the importance of the Middle East market. Countries such as Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the North African region have high populations and consumer markets. Pakistan and Turkey are also among the countries in the region with an acceptable population and a growing economy, with great potential for market entry and development.
The main feature of this region is political and economic unrest, which because of geopolitical and cultural considerations and many political actors, will never find peace. Huge reserves of natural resources and fossil fuels are backed by the inefficient governments of these countries. Despite seeing this perspective, these countries have creative and intelligent youth who are valuable assets in the region.
Establishing a business by foreign companies and developing it in countries such as Iran and Iraq with the help of these creative young people can provide the ground for the development and growth of new businesses faster.
Although SWOT analysis may put the development of your business in this area very risky and defensive, but the reality is that opportunities always come from threats.
During the last 5 years of Solutia Group‘s activity, which has been based on 15 years of business and consulting activity in the countries of this region, the business of many companies has developed based on developing the right marketing strategies. Here we are going to introduce you to the most important features you need to succeed in these markets:
Start it, will find its place
This is a well-known proverb in the Iranian business environment: “Start it, will find its place”. Although this sentence may seem ridiculous in today’s highly scientific world of marketing and strategic analysis of markets, but the cultural realities of this region say nothing more than it.
The unstable markets of this region because of instability in economy and politics, which often have a lot of fluctuations in the supply of goods and products, plus high rate of inflation, always provide a sudden lack for your goods or products to sell, even if your product is expensive. So, just start your business with a trust partner and let a trusted supervisor to supervise it.
Use the 4% and 96% rule
In all countries in the Middle East, more than 80% of wealth is in the hands of 4% of society. So, you have to design two main strategies to be in these markets. Always you need to enter these markets with two brands. A luxury brand for the 4% segment of the market and an economic brand for 96% for rest of the society. This model of activity can be generalized to all businesses (even online and service businesses). You need to identify the right leads and this work is not possible through social networks such as Linkedin and Facebook. Because most of the rich people who control the markets in these countries do not need to waste their time on these social networks. Their business development model is not through these tools. These social networks may be useful to find small and medium-sized businesses to some extent, but they are not a good way to achieve ambitious goals. What you need is to use the services of market research firms that have good access to confidential information at various levels of government and power structure. Do not follow political people to find leads of market, because most leads of economic rings that control the markets in these countries, have the back of politicians but this is not a reverse flow.
Ride on culture
There is a general culture in the countries of this region: “The more expensive, the better quality”. So, never be afraid of aggressive pricing in order to achieve the maximum profit. Your product will definitely be sold. Of course, it depends on your products and services, and in this regard, market research is important, but don’t stay in the side of conservative marketers.
Many online businesses in Iran recently have created two brands in the same market with two management systems, and by creating two distinct marketing positions in the market, they compete with each other in eyes of the customers but actually as two hands of a same body they are just managing two groups of customers. In this way, they have positioned their business in some distinct parts of the market, and it is interesting that it responds well.
Start with online marketing to increase sales through word of mouth
Preliminary Internet studies and research give you the information that the share of online shopping in the countries of the Middle East is not very high. Although this rate has risen from 25% before the Corona Pandemic to around 40%, it may confuse you that digital marketing and online shopping may not be very effective in these countries. But the truth is very different. The fact is that 2.5% of innovators who take the risk of buying new products are mostly the people who spend their time on mobile phones and spend most of their free time on the Internet. This is especially true of B2B businesses. But these groups are the key to unlocking the market for you. The experience of successful purchase of your product by these people from the Internet, makes these people and even businesses, introduce you to friends and other businesses. This word of mouth will increase your sales suddenly. So, try to find a national successful online shopping or a powerful digital marketing company in these countries to promote you. Solutia team has an incredible experience about a company wanted to sell its crane in Iran. The idea of marketing and selling industrial cranes, which is a B2B product, through digital marketing may not make sense at all, but it is a fact that happened and even led to the expansion of the sales of the industrial crane company.
Do not follow traders in your field of business
Many foreign companies who want to be in the market of countries in this region, especially Iran, seek to cooperate with individuals and companies that currently specialize in their field of activity. For example, a German compressor producer company had represented its products to an Iranian company that represented Chinese, Turkish and Italian companies in the Iranian market simultaneously. Moreover this is not the only threaten.
Although having a knowledge of the market with the local company can convince you to the extent that the speed of entering new market is accelerated, but consider that when the local partner has a sales representative of other competing brands, there is no incentive for him to justify the customers to buy your product instead of other brands. The truth is that working with an ambitious and highly motivated young team is better than entrusting your business to a traditional market importer.