Successful business-to-business (b2b) marketing communications in the Middle East ’ part 2

Networking & referral marketing

The hallmark of any successful B2B communications campaign in the Middle East should revolve around building your network to generate referrals. Not only can it help forge relationships, it’s also considered a highly cost-effective and trusted way to win new business. While this principle is the same anywhere in the world, it’s particularly significant here.

There are a LOT of bad service and product providers in the region and therefore to get a ‘foot in the door’ and gain trust to forge new business alliances, referrals play a big part. This is especially evident in our own industry as well as that of our clients—particularly in the oil & gas industry. If you asked most B2B businesses how they win most of their new business, they will say ‘by referral’.

A word about expats

Being a predominately expat community in the UAE (expats make up more than 90 percent of the UAE population), thousands of networks of like-minded professionals have been built up over the years, with regular meetings in the form of business councils, industry councils, social networks, business groups and more focused referral networking groups like BNI (Business Networking International). All referral marketing is essentially based on one common human value, summed up by BNI’s mantra: ‘Givers Gain’ or ‘what goes around, comes around’ or if you prefer ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’. Whichever way you choose to describe it, this principle undeniably works.