The telecommunications sector has shown strong financial performances in Qatar and is well positioned to benefit from the economic growth and population boom. With a market population growing just over 50% in 4 years Qatar has shown that it is a potentially promising market. In the telecom sector mobile services have been the main driver of growth in sector revenues hence piling along huge disposable budgets for marketing and promotion. This has been clearly visible only since the new service provider Vodafone was awarded the license to come in and compete with the exclusive telecommunications provider since 1987 i. . Qtel. Competition with Vodafone has triggered the attention of Qtel to push harder in the marketing, promotion and media reach campaigns in order to take hold of as much possible the attention, and hence induce sales to the maximum achievable before the new service provider giant is ready to deploy its network. An effective marketing communication process nowadays in Qatar is to be able to create the right message and deliver it to the right prospect at the right time, using the right media.
Although this may sound simple, in a “yet to be competitive environment” with increasingly similar products and services, proliferation of media options, and complexity in segmenting audiences, it is very difficult to get all the elements of the communications process right especially in a market that lacks local exposure and has an outstanding international spotlight. So in order to differentiate between Qtel & Vodafone in such a small and yet promising environment, marketers must constantly refine and fine-tune their marketing communications strategies.
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Marketing communication in Qatar has undergone drastic changes over the last few years. In the past, marketers communicated using a limited number of marketing communication tools like advertising, sales promotions or sales personnel; the number of media options – like radio, television or print media – at their disposal is also limited. In the last decade or so the fragmentation of traditional media such as television and print, and the emergence of new or non-traditional media such as the Internet, have made marketing communications much more complex.
Today, the telecommunication sector in the region in specific GCC & MENA can no longer rely on a single marketing communication tool like advertising, personal selling or publicity. Instead, recognizing that there should be a perusal of innovative opportunities to build brands and ensure that all communication; whether internal or external; should be well aligned with corporate strategies, sales promotion campaigns, event sponsoring, customer feedback, media-reach and much more to make sure that the communication mix is effective in achieving a specific communication objective.
Though the marketing communication exercise in Qatar is still relatively new, sectors like Property Developers and Banking are trying to use the practices exploited in the neighboring Dubai as a success story and envision the subject from various perspectives by utilizing the strategies that marketers are currently using within their market space to integrate different marketing communication tools to present a single consistent image for a company or a brand.
To end here is my vision for communication with great impact: “If Vodafone is coming to Qatar and you paint a sign saying ‘Vodafone is having a promotion day at the City Center,’ that’s advertising. If you put the sign on the back of a Camel and walk it into the city, that’s promotion. If the Camel walks through the Sheikh’s flower bed, that’s publicity.
And if you get the Sheikh to laugh about it, that’s public relations. If the citizens of Doha go the city center, you show them the many Vodafone offers; explain how much less they’ll have spending money using the new mobile services at the booths, answer their questions and ultimately, they spend money buying, that’s sales. “