Changing world, changing people… and the ever-changing face of customer intelligence. Indubitably, one of the biggest assets of globalization is knowledge-sharing.

Over the years, as foreign products and services have made their way to the Gulf, the global knowledge that flowed along has shaped the way even local companies do business. After all, do they want to lose the global customer coming their way?

But, the modern business environment has its challenges. It is great to deploy a stream of customer engagement methods, speaking from a company’s marketing and branding perspective, but with multiple platforms functioning simultaneously -direct brand awareness campaigns, social media, indirect marketing campaigns etc.- there is a potential risk of overlooking one of the greatest assets that companies attain in the process, due to the sheer volume of data coming in. Customer intelligence.

Data is good, but data is useful when streamlined and organized. Customer intelligence is priceless, but to be able to turn that intelligence into a balance sheet highlight, it needs to be structured, and secondly, aligned with overall strategy.

The Great Gulf Challenge: Consumer Diversity

Take the UAE’s example. A rapidly growing and evolving sales hub, a country whose natives outdo many other nations in terms of purchasing power; and moreover, a consumer landscape that plays host to millions of tourists and expats every year.

In such a diverse environment, with constantly shifting consumer demographics, the most viable method of gathering customer intelligence is the point of direct consumer contact, as compared to other barometers such as social media or online campaigns. In such environments, the priceless and critical information that an on-ground survey can provide, cannot be paralleled by another platform.

So, what does the bigger picture say? In the Gulf ecosystem, customer intelligence is best gathered by getting down in the trenches, instead of relying on indirect methods.

Turning Data to Sales

Once you have that critical intelligence that completes your Middle East marketing puzzle, what now? Focus on using that customer intelligence to regionalize your efforts.

One of the key mistakes that one can make in the Gulf is not using customer intelligence as a precursor to regionalizing constantly. A host of foreign businesses have faced problems, because while they understood the customer to the extent of bringing the right product to the market, the level of focus sort of weaned away when it came to positioning that product brand to native consumer psyche.

In today’s world, customer intelligence has become to marketing efforts what a sail is to a ship. The better you adjust according to conditions, the easier and farther you sail ahead.