Coping With Seasonality In The UAE

Updated: November 5, 2019

November is here, and the new year is right around the corner. The UAE is now in full swing as online and offline shopping trends spike once more. Small, medium and large businesses alike are ramping up their marketing spends as consumers gear up for two months filled with long weekends and vacations. Add the Expo 2020 excitement to the mix and you’re looking at some great opportunities to grow your business. But with great business opportunity comes great competition.

Did You Pre-Heat The Oven?

Digital marketing is like baking a cake and you can’t expect your cake to come out picture-perfect if you didn’t preheat the oven.

At bfound, we deal with clients across dozens of industries across the UAE and we’ve noticed that staying visible online is not always a question of how much money you’re willing to spend. Businesses that engaged in sustained and value-driven social media advertising during the summer are reporting increased ROI without having to ramp up marketing budgets. In comparison, businesses that waited till November to launch their campaigns are facing a harder time getting through to their target audience.

Awareness, Interest, Desire Discounts & Action

The UAE market is hyper-competitive which is why consumers tend to jump at deals and discounts. With an 80% expat population, an average consumer who buys a shirt also tends to buy a pair of socks and/or a bag of chocolates for the kids back home. This is the perfect time to launch season-specific discounts, packages and deals.

Stop, Look & Listen

Listen to your consumers carefully during this time and respond as soon as possible. Staying on top of your customer reviews, responding to feedback and resolving your customers’ concerns during these 2 months is the perfect way to earn you customers’ trust and referrals. Face it, you’re going to need that steady inflow of referral customers during the spring break.

Get Help

Not sure where to start? Talk to the experts. Pick up the phone and call 800 236863 to talk to one of our experts. All consultations are free and we would love to show you how we’ve been helping businesses in your industry stay ahead of the curve.


Original Publication: October 6, 2019

The long Eid weekend is right around the corner and a significant share of businesses across the UAE are reporting a drop in their revenue figures as UAE residents fly off to enjoy their vacations. With an 80% expat population, businesses need to cope with seasonality quickly and effectively – using strategies that bring together cost-effective digital marketing tactics with good old business acumen.

Don’t Switch Off Your Advertising

During regular days, your ads have to compete with all of your competitors, but a lot of companies tend to switch off their online advertising during the holidays. The holiday season is your opportunity to grab the lion’s share of ad views. The drop in advert-noise is your opportunity to remind your audience about your unique selling propositions. Use this opportunity to put out a consistent message that is in line with the season. The message will not reach your entire target audience (since we’re assuming that most of them are traveling) but will definitely resonate with the part of the audience that views it.

We recommend using Google Ads to achieve this objective. Launch your campaigns at least 2 to 3 weeks before the low season hits in order to ensure that your ads have achieved maximum momentum when you need them the most.

Partner Up

Season-relevant discounts won’t work if your regular consumer segment is not looking to buy at all. One of the best ways to ride out seasonal drops in customers is to partner up with businesses that are on the opposite end of the spectrum. Ice that sold like crazy in the summer won’t continue to sell in the winter, no matter how much you discount it. But somebody buying Ginger Ale might be interested in signing up for a discount on ice. They might not need the ice today, but you just got a new lead; from a consumer segment that will be looking for cheap ice in the summer.

We recommend promoting tie-ups like these on social media – using rich visual content and clicks campaigns – to generate quick and effective hype. This can also be combined with some of the UAE’s more famous bargain deal marketplaces like Groupon, Etisalat Smiles, Entertainer, etc.

Focus On Subscription Based Services

While this may not be applicable for all businesses, services providers have the benefit of being able to cope with seasonal demand drops by offering subscription based services. Cleaning companies, for example, are able to offer (monthly, quarterly, etc.) cleaning subscriptions that continue to provide a consistent revenue stream.

The UAE’s real estate industry has already accustomed consumers to the practice of paying in post-dated cheques of large amounts. Collecting money will never be easy but a bit of smart product/service modeling can go a long way.

Announce Smart Season-Relevant Discounts

In addition to the regular email newsletters and the additional holiday season emails, launch and highlight discounts and packages designed just for the season.

Take a note out of the McDonald’s menu, where the company profits from the sides more than it does from the main course. Consumers only need to be incentivized enough to buy the burger. Give them a discounted burger to get them through your door and then let them choose their fries, drinks and desserts.

Financial Planning

Your approach to financial planning can vary according to the type of business and the nature of the industry, but we do recommend planning out a minimum of 4 months in advance to make sure that there is enough cushion to soften any unexpected blow.

The UAE is a market where businesses prefer to generate the digital share of their revenue from Google Ads rather than waiting 3 months for organic traffic to start rolling in.

Getting Started

These tactics may not always work in the short run but help to connect businesses with leads that have a high probability of converting in the future. Also, while we’ve curated these recommendations for use during low seasons, don’t hesitate to use them at other times during the year.
Not sure where to start? Give us a ring and we’ll come by to help you get the ball rolling.

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