By Anja Petrovski, Marketing Director at Volkswagen Middle East
Ramadan is an opportune time for brands in all sectors across the region to strategically plan how they will be engaging with their consumers. To capitalize on this significant month, marketers aim to reach the community and attract consumers through storytelling and the development of engaging content in line with the true essence of the Holy Month. Ramadan is considered the Superbowl of the Middle East in terms of marketing, with brands allocating over a third of yearly marketing budgets to advertise during the month and marketers ramping up and transitioning their marketing activities to optimize engagement. Several industries have different creative approaches for marketing during Ramadan based on their audiences’ needs. For example, the media and entertainment industry invests in social media drama series’ and cooking content, while F&B and retail brands release bespoke collections for the month, and fashion brands collaborate with influencers to create look-books with iftar styles.
As with every other sector, Ramadan is a key moment for the regional automotive industry too. In fact, Ramadan is the most crucial period of the year for the industry. Recent research conducted by Teads shows that consumers anticipate Ramadan deals, with 80% of consumers holding off purchasing a new car to get a better deal in Ramadan, and over a quarter delaying purchasing a car for more than six months to get a better offer during Ramadan.
The research also shows that the consumption of Ramadan-related content (including Ramadan offers) rapidly increases three weeks before Ramadan and interest begins to peak five times greater than the 30-day period preceding Ramadan, hence it is crucial for marketers to jump on the opportunity and maximize the high interest from consumers.
To make the most of the sales opportunity during the month, the automotive industry uses these consumer trends strategically to reach their target audience and communications objectives. Automotive consumers tend to do their own research and make purchasing decisions prior to Ramadan; so, while brands in other industries focus on storytelling and developing engaging content to attract consumers, automotive brands focus on a unique and tactical marketing strategy by directly promoting and amplifying Ramadan deals offered in dealerships.
Automotive brands’ investment tends to increase in the out-of-home (OOH) channel during Ramadan to bring direct attention to the deals on offer and cut through the noise. Traditionally, Volkswagen Middle East focuses only on digital advertising to reach their target audience. However, during Ramadan, we strategically adjust our approach and invest in OOH advertising in key locations to push the Ramadan deals on offer at dealerships to an even wider audience and drive people to the showrooms.
While OOH advertising plays a big role in Ramadan automotive marketing, we cannot ignore direct digital advertising and retargeting that is also focused on a more tactical approach. Customers exposed to the brand and products are served advertisements highlighting reduced price points and added benefits such as extra years of service and warranty offers.
Rather than investing in upper or middle funnel marketing approaches that focus on building brand awareness and customer loyalty in a creative manner, this tactical and straightforward marketing approach is particularly beneficial during Ramadan as it provides consumers with exactly what they are looking for and helps achieve a higher return on investment (ROI).
To maximize the benefits of this critical month, it is key for marketers to understand their target audience’s needs and wants during Ramadan. Through studying the audience’s needs and looking into underlying consumer insights, Volkswagen takes this tailored, more tactical approach to meet the customer’s specific requirements at this time. By strategically delivering the key messages directly linked to the exceptional offers available during the month, brands have an opportunity to stand out and achieve their marketing objectives and bottom line goals.