Gitex 2014: Digital Strategies, from marketing to engagement

Digital engagement is one of the most significant factors driving business today: pushing the boundaries of traditional businesses, changing the way enterprises are managed, and the way competition happens. Businesses in every industry, even those that operate exclusively in the B2B market, are under pressure to change. At the heart of this digital revolution is the empowered consumer, and enterprises now need to work harder to earn their place in this new world.

As a sponsor of the Digital Strategies Forum at Gitex Technology Week, we discussed with the likes of Gartner, Middle East Communications Network and VivaKi MENA how mobile, social networks, big data, and emerging customer touch points are changing the way enterprises and brands engage with customers, and will provide attendees with a roadmap on how best to exploit revenue opportunities opened up by the digital revolution.

A multi-screen and multi-platform world can lead audiences to Attention Deficit Disorder. The days of monologue communication is over and we have entered the era of engagement and dialogue, but today, with online and mobile channels on all the time, the dialogue never stops. At any time someone can talk about your product or brand, in good or bad terms.

New technology is increasing our screen time because tablets, smartphones and wearable devices are convenient, interactive and engaging. The latest research shows that we spend on average 23 days per year and 4 years of our life on our mobile phone screen.  Consumer attention time is getting lower as brands move to digital marketing. Creating entertaining advertising with the right timing and in the right context is the way forward and the latest IKEA add launching the ‘Book Book’ is a perfect example of great successful advertainment which created a buzz, with a parody of Apple just before the launch of the Apple iPhone 6.

Mobile has indisputably become the first screen, and people are now spending 2.5 times more on their mobiles than watching TV. As Frederic Martinent, Director Mobile Marketing Solution at Gemalto highlighted during the conference, the easiest way to reach out to the consumers on their mobiles is still the messaging channel. 91% of people have their mobile phone with them 24/7 – even when they go to bed and when they receive an SMS, they read it within 5 seconds whereas the average read time for email is within 24 hours.

This said, a mobile phone is a very personal device and to keep an end user engaged, permission is key. Content is also key and the relevance of the messages to the end user is crucial.

Ed Gabrys, Research Director at Gartner emphasized that for brands to succeed in the digital world, they have to move from an IT strategy to a Digital Strategy. We are in the middle of a quiet crisis, with digital customer opportunities on one side and management expectations on the other side. As the world is going digital, business models are changing and successful businesses will have an IT strategy to support their digital business and marketing strategy.

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