Market research: The first step in ensuring success in the Middle East

Before starting or expanding a business in the Middle East, one of the first things to do is conduct market research. Market research will put you into an advantageous position and guarantees a good start especially for new and small businesses wherein the first few months are considered crucial. The question is how to conduct market research in the Middle East with its huge, diverse and fast evolving market? There are various factors to consider in successfully conducting market research in the Middle East, but here is a list of the important ones.

Segmentation for better market. With a big customer base, market research companies in the Middle East can understand better what the customers need if they break them down into segments. Dividing the Middle East market based on demographics, needs, priorities, common interests, and other behavioral criteria, will help tailor products, sales, and marketing strategies accordingly. Remember that in marketing, a generic message is weak compared to a message targeted to a specific group. It also helps to have a local in your market research team because they understand the market and they can provide insights from a local point of view.

Data is the key. A market research team uses various tools and methods to generate data such as social media, surveys, and questionnaires, among others. Studies that provide deep insights and analysis on established data as part of macro level research offer a comprehensive perspective. Macro level market research can help identify where a business fits considering the diverse and complex nature of Middle East markets.

In addition, leveraging qualitative and quantitative data will determine customers’ preferences, trends to watch out, potential competitors, as well as align your resources properly. For example, the Middle East is one of the regions with high social media users. This could be advantageous for market research with all the data available online for various market groups. Patience is needed in research. With a new idea or product in mind, sometimes the urge to implement them all is strong. Before doing too much and too quickly, research and see if they are being sought or effective in the local market.

There is value in knowing your competitors. This is a key part of market research as it will give you valuable information about what is out there, what do they offer, how do they do it, and at what cost. This is particularly important for market research companies in Dubai as this is a competitive consumer market. Dubai is packed with international luxurious brands and knowing which segment of the market is attracted to these brands is crucial if the business plan is for fashion and retail.

While the internet, particularly social media platforms, provides an overview of target market and groups, offline surveys and engagements are still very much relevant. Market research, when done right, will give the business plan a strong start.