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Put yourself in her Choos

Put yourself in her Choos

Fashion blogger Bébhinn Kelly on how to tap the spending power of the Middle East’s Facebook fashionistas and online yummy mummies.

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April 27, 2010 9:15 by



Mattel’s newest Barbie is Computer Engineer Barbie. Mattel used social media to crowd source – and half a million voters decided on a 36”, 18”, 33” geek.

A UK-based “mommy blog”, Mumsnet.com, and it’s 1.2 million unique users recently forced the Campbell Lace Beta advertising agency to pull an outdoor advertising campaign deemed offensive to working mothers.

According to the Harvard Business Review, women control $20 trillion in annual consumer spending. Women represent a growth market that is bigger than India and China combined. The fact that I found it difficult to obtain statistics on the size of the women’s market in the Middle East or any information relating to how to market to this segment either online or offline speaks volumes in itself.

There is never a better time than a downturn to look for new markets and new sources of revenue, and the opportunities for marketing to women in this region are huge. The companies, brands or products effectively catering to this market are few and far between.

The reason I know this is because, on two separate occasions, I have been told by senior executives in advertising agencies in Dubai that few companies market to women effectively.

One such senior executive, a man, strongly implied that there was no need to market to women.

He was at the time advertising a food product aimed at women on a website which clearly states that two-thirds of its users are men. On my way out of the meeting – pink laptop under my arm – I resisted the urge to ask him if he knew any other offline “twits” I could unfollow, too.

Chauvinistic dinosaurs and twitter aside, some firms in the Middle East are slowly starting to leverage the ladies.

I spoke recently to the CEO of a large organization in Dubai, and I asked him why he was arranging women-only events to promote what could be seen as traditional products for men, and he said: “We have to; women control 80 per cent of all purchasing decisions.”

Where do I find these decision-makers?

A good place to start is online. Women the world over are reading blogs for work, entertainment recommendation and information, and the Middle East is no exception.

Susiesbigadventure.blogspot.com is a personal blog written by an American lady married to a Saudi Arabian and living in Jeddah. Despite being periodically blocked by the government, Susie’s blog receives up to 500 visits a day.



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