Successful business-to-business (b2b) marketing communications in the Middle East ’ part 1

Increased business development and improved infrastructure in the Middle East, particularly the United Arab Emirates (UAE), along with the region’s heightened attractiveness to investors, have fuelled B2B marketing maturity and education.

Although the B2B media industry in the Middle East remains small by international standards, trade publications and websites are a growing presence in the region. Middle East B2B media companies are beginning to emulate the best practices of mature markets and are growing their brands by integrating websites, magazines and tradeshows. This creates synergies for all products, lifting sales through cross-selling and up-selling.

Business culture in the Middle East is extremely people-centric. The cultural emphasis on trust, familiarity and relationship building is rooted in the history of the region. Traditional familial and tribal kinship patterns are reflected in current business structures. The importance of strong connections is thus ingrained into the social DNA of the region.

Relationship management is integral to one’s way of life. It is important to understand and appreciate the intensity of this cultural trait when forming business alliances. The core ethos of any company operating profitably in the Middle East— particularly the UAE—revolves around a strong network of relationships and cultivating strong personal relationships is considered vital for forging successful business operations in the region. Personal recommendations from trusted sources are highly valued. Thus the majority of business decisions here are swayed by testimonials from friends and family, and references from partners and business contacts play a significant role in getting new business.