Regional B2B marketing leaders are confident that the marketing industry will bounce back amid economic uncertainty.
Despite around half of B2B marketing leaders globally saying their budgets have been impacted in some way due to current economic conditions, the majority (76%) remains optimistic about their marketing strategy over the next six months, according to a new study from LinkedIn.
When looking at the UAE and KSA markets, the focus on brand building is top of mind for over two-thirds (70% and 62% respectively) of senior B2B marketers, who say they will maintain or increase spending in this area in the next six months.
The most cited reasons are that B2B marketers believe a strong brand supports long-term sales (54%) and helps brands stay on top of mind for buyers (41%). Over a third (35%) say it helps them to attract talent. Even more so, 73% of senior marketing leaders in the UAE and KSA are confident that companies that have maintained or increased their marketing spend recover faster following periods of economic uncertainty.
LinkedIn’s global B2B Marketer Sentiment study, which surveyed 1,700+ B2B marketing leaders from across the world, finds that the picture of optimism is uneven, with B2B marketers in India feeling the most optimistic about their strategies (94%), followed by Saudi Arabia (92%) and the UAE (91%); whilst only 56% of marketers in the UK and 50% of marketers in Germany felt positive about their plans.
Businesses in the UAE and KSA have shown resilience in business performance amidst a backdrop of global uncertainty. While local businesses have faced challenges, it has also prompted them to factor in new considerations for the future such as integrating sustainability, technology, and data privacy into their respective marketing strategies.
Incorporating sustainability into wider B2B brand strategies
With COP27 taking place in Egypt this coming November and the following COP28 in the UAE in 2023, there has been a growing regional debate around the importance of incorporating green skills and sustainability across marketing efforts in the UAE and KSA.
When asked about campaign objectives in the next six months, the top priority for B2B marketers in the UAE is showcasing that the brands they represent are serious about sustainability (51%), followed closely by showing customers that these brands are helping out in that domain (50%). In a similar vein, marketers in Saudi Arabia also said sustainability is a priority (47%), followed closely by nurturing customer relationships (44%).
B2B marketers navigate data privacy and technology
When asked about the eventual tightening of data privacy regulations, KSA-based B2B marketers are most likely to review their marketing media mix (MMM) and partners (36%) to make more informed decisions around measuring the impact of their marketing campaigns. Over nine-tenths (94%) say that first-party data is important to their marketing strategy, and four-fifths (79%) say they are prepared for the eventual phasing out of third-party cookies. On the other hand, the biggest new tech-related challenge in the UAE is seen to be unlocking the potential of new technologies (25%) such as NFTs, the metaverse, and AI.
The research study strongly suggests that B2B marketers are keen to focus on elements that directly support each country’s broader economic ambition, especially as the UAE and KSA strive to become the next global digital hubs.
Diana Daou, Head of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions MENA, said in a statement, “Despite economic headwinds, it’s inspiring to see B2B marketers in the UAE and KSA remain optimistic about their strategies as they navigate uncertainty. Pausing ad spend can seem like a cost-saving measure, but savvy marketers know that linking their strategy to national visions and broader goals can lead to more success in the long term. In fact, recovering from a drop in memorability can be far more costly, whereas focusing efforts on brand building can be fruitful, especially as competitors pull back. The biggest opportunity for B2B marketers right now across the region is to invest in customer and internal stakeholder relationships, followed by rethinking the brand story, which is crucial to maintain relevance and secure future budgets. There is also a strong need to incorporate sustainability-driven marketing campaigns as this topic becomes more prevalent in the region.”
LinkedIn’s advice for B2B marketers navigating uncertainty