The importance of independent advising as democratisation of technology continues across the GCC
Marketers seek strategic advice, from a trustworthy source, on how to effectively deliver better business results. They want this advice to be independent and impartial with a level of transparency and visibility. However, when we spoke individually to a sample of 22 leading marketers from different sectors in the UAE, we found that the general consensus was they felt that they were not currently getting this from their vendor partners.
So, why is this a critical issue at the present time? In fact, this is more relevant than ever in today’s digitalised world, where there is a democratisation of technology happening in markets right across the GCC. Whilst access to these technologies is rapidly becoming accessible to more and more marketers. There isn’t the realisation of creative, media, PR and digital agencies making massive money on the technology, which they are selling. With the complexities of certain digital platforms and solutions which are being offered, some agencies corner their clients into spending large sums to run their digital activities. Generally under-cutting on the fees which they offer, whilst fleecing on technology costs.
Marketers are often offered off the shelf, one size fits all solutions, which do not cater to the direct needs of the marketer or fall short of adding to the bottom-line. This is demonstrated by the fact when agencies are asked to demonstrate the ROI from their endeavours, their answers lack less conviction than the recommendations which they initially gave.
This is not an issue that is affecting one type of marketer; it seems to be an issue affecting all marketers whether with big budgets or small, across all categories and sectors within the region. Those worst hit are local or governmental companies/ departments within in the GCC, who have not been able to rely on global offices cascading governance, to limit agency erroneous practices. As such, some agencies have taken advantage of this to make large margins at the expense of clients.
So, what do marketers need? In our opinion, they need independent strategic advice to overcome the complexities of a digitalised region. In this, they need a digital partner who will identify any risk to value delivery and provide recommendations for mitigating those risks. Essentially, marketers today need to be given the know-how and the tools in a simplified customised and open source environment to be able to do it themselves.