9 Ways To Waste Your Marketing Budget in Saudi Arabia


In the past three years I was lucky enough to be able to deliver over a dozen of marketing workshops and tailored trainings. The professionals who have attended those sessions had almost same questions on how, what why, and where topics about digital marketing practice. What I have realized is that there are patterns for how people approach new knowledge fields in any industry. But what wasn’t  there obviously is the golden question, which is ( How do I do the wrong thing ? ), which everybody is afraid of. Of course nobody wants to waste their money in-vain, yet as marketers we tend to do it in one way or another (forgive me for generalizing this).

So I will share nine common amazing mistakes marketers do to run campaigns targeting the saudi market, and burn a lot of money:

The first way is to do a massive nation wide email and sms campaign to target millions of people, that you don’t know at all.You have just decided that you want to do this, because you have read that email and sms are still effective channels to convert. So you have asked your agency to buy you a random big database of people and you have blasted them with your creative and offers.

The second way is to be so trendy and buy a promoted trend on twitter, because it is the most active social channel in KSA . But fine if you run with no clear content effort to cover the topic of the hashtag in different formats, nor clear measurement approach to say if it worked or not. Just spend tens of thousands of cash on this trendy way of marketing with no clear objectives.

The third one is to buy a google display Impression based blast to reach millions of people with no prepared landing pages or funnels to measure the impact.
The fourth one is to spend at least a hundred thousand Riyals on an amazing creative display campaign covering multiple networks with no tagging and your website is not ready for mobile visitors.
The fifth one is to spend tons of money on search engine marketing using all the popular phrases and keywords even if they are not related to your industry or business.
The sixth one is to do a huge youtube campaign with an unrelated video content from the mother company in the US and blast everyone in Saudi Arabia with that instantly.because why not, Saudi Arabia consumes youtube too much.
The seventh is to use non GCC/Saudi models and actors for your commercials, to have a creative that’s like (a guy with blue eyes wearing a Thobe and Ghotra, and speaks levant accent imitating a GCC one). Then run the campaign in Saudi Arabia with full fledged execution.

The eighth is to spend too much on mobile display because you know that KSA has 170% mobile penetration and 73% smartphone penetration too. And your website is not mobile friendly nor you have mobile apps.

The ninth one is to use influencers from Instagram and snapchat heavily spending loads of money because everybody is doing it. And never care for objectives and measuring the outcome.

These are real examples of marketing activities that were run in KSA market by marketers locally or regionally, some of them were with big noise but dramatically flopped, others went unnoticed but with big amounts of money wasted. I am sure you have seen some or even different more, so if you did please share.

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