Since I’ve been a resident of the Kingdom of Bahrain for more than 5 years, I can attest to the fact that Bahrain is not exempt from the way technology keeps marketing professionals on their toes. On the continent, startups are booming, with Kuwait boasting a record 950 of them, followed by Saudi Arabia (770), and Bahrain (425). The rate of introduction of tech-enabled goods and services in Bahrain is astounding, with investment for tech startups dominating the chart and expanding four times more quickly than the global average. However, their experiences in teaching and advising imply that marketing professionals and the IT experts they support seem to be working separately without making use of the potential strength of a symbiotic connection.
It’s time for marketing professionals in Bahrain to understand how technology is changing the industry in ways that present challenges for the field’s future. Three ways that Bahrain’s marketing tactics are impacted by technology are highlighted by my findings.
First, technology in Bahrain surprisingly changes customer behavior and buying routes. For instance, mobile marketing has increased dramatically, and customers are progressively adopting the technology. The 5G era of hyper-connection began in 2019. It can handle many more technologies, including the Internet of Things (IoT), which powers intelligent technology, and is described as being 20 to 200 times faster than 4G. It is also advancing the technologies of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), which are currently acting as ground-breaking foundations for the future of marketing.
Customers in Bahrain have responded in three different ways to these trends. Customers want more individualized services, more innovative experiences, and the option to remain anonymous. Customers are choosing to withhold personal information or hide their identities more frequently thanks to technology. Another trend resulting from increased access to tech-enabled goods and services is the growing need for personalized and customized offers. Additionally, as consumers increasingly utilize goods and services in ways that differ from those that brand owners and marketers who work for them had originally intended, technology encourages creative consumption among consumers. Customers are developing new ways to use and make purchases, which marketers frequently miss. These revolutionary patterns change the purchasing journeys that call into question the profitability of conventional marketing strategies.
Second, in Bahrain, traditional methods to market are being enhanced rather than being replaced by technology. In informal markets, more than 6% of retail transactions in Bahrain take place. The most effective way to reach clients in Bahrain is still through mobile technology, which is the country’s primary consumer market. In Bahrain, mobile accounted for 53% of all digital advertising spending in 2020, and by 2023, it was anticipated to reach 60%. This threshold has already reached in Bahrain in 2021, and by 2023, it is anticipated that the share of mobile would rise to 57 percent. By providing platforms and channels like WhatsApp, Instagram, POS machines, and mobile money transfers that enable conventional distribution techniques in open-air markets, food stalls, and street vending, technology has made this paradox conceivable. Given this circumstance, it may be more flexible to consider marketing to consumers who shop at both contemporary and conventional retail establishments.
Third, tech is democratizing the marketing profession in Bahrain. Technology is providing customer-to-customer business platforms that make it possible to bypass marketers in the buying process. Customers are leading peer-to-peer product promotion without the support of marketing and advertising agencies in Bahrain. Essentially, technology is increasing the bargaining power of customers by making it easier for them to negotiate and secure better deals. As customers in Bahrain get better at playing the role of marketing professionals, marketers who do not rethink their input and stake in the marketing process will become extinct.
Sometimes technology is not a good idea. The subregions of Bahrain do not all utilize technology in the same way because of varying political, economic, and cultural factors. When improper investments are made, a company’s use of technology might harm its future. Therefore, being digital savvy does not ensure marketing professionals will be prepared for the future. Future-ready marketing professionals will be those who use technology wisely to manage consumer interactions. Here are four actions Bahraini marketers can do to get ready for a tech-driven future.
Build Coalitions to Manage Customer Demands
Bahrain’s marketing experts must stop combining all marketing-related tasks into a single role. Professionals in marketing can no longer do everything on their own. To carry out their duties, these experts must strategically collaborate with software developers, product engineers, technology vendors, and user experience managers. However, marketers must assign tasks to technology partners without ceding control. Marketing is evolving into a complex ecology with many different functions. Instead of playing every instrument by themselves, the future marketer will take on the role of an orchestra conductor.
Foster tech-based learning experiences
Marketing professionals are required to take part in internship programs at technological businesses. It will be simpler to comprehend product concepts and contribute to product design thanks to these immersive experiences. Opportunities for reverse mentoring should be included in the internship program so that marketing and technology professionals can assist each other as needed. To prepare professionals for the future, business schools and professional organisations must to update their marketing curricula.
Build New Capabilities to Manage Technologies
Attending training events is just one aspect of future preparation. To strategically manage technology, marketing professionals must make investments in new systems, processes, tools, and strategies. The infrastructure is needed by marketers to scale individualized offerings, control hyper-experiences, and educate more savvy consumers. For instance, Bahrain’s marketing strategy of the future will be heavily reliant on the software. Software-enabled consumer interactions will make it easier to precisely track and attribute customer data. Making sensible financial decisions is crucial because this change will demand some investment.
Manage Customer Privacy
Marketing professionals in Bahrain shouldn’t ignore the dangers of breaching client privacy as data privacy management becomes increasingly important. The upshot is that marketing professionals need to be aware of data protection laws and have processes in place for auditing compliance. Future marketing professionals in Bahrain will also need to possess a solid awareness of ethical concerns in the field.
Bahrain’s marketing specialists face an uncertain future. However, there is a greater likelihood of success for those that strategically build the skills necessary to handle technology in a way that delights the consumer.