Ramadan Rush : Ramadan Marketing Strategies Without forgetting the spirit of the seasonlmwsadmin
In approximately a month from now, the Muslim calendar will enter the month of Ramadan. Ramadan 2017, will take place starting May 26th and end June 25th, 2017. The Eid Al-Fitr will take place after this period. Ramadan marks a month of austerity for observant Muslims. Abstaining from food or water from sunrise to sunset, families gather at night to break their fast — and many people stay awake until the early morning, relaxing and shopping both at brick-and-mortar outlets and online.
Indeed, many Muslim countries experience a dramatic increase in online shopping during Ramadan, a phenomenon known as the “Ramadan Rush,” as well as a boost in charitable donations. Traditions that spur consumerism during Ramadan and preparations for Eid Al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan, drive this trend.
In countries where Muslims are the majority, as digital media convergences with the rise of the engaged Muslim consumers, brands are increasingly recognizing the need to address and craft campaigns to this emerging market, particularly, during Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr.
Ramadan is unlike any other time of the year in the Muslim world. It affects almost every aspect of people’s lives and online shopping via digital marketing is no exception.
Performance marketing technology company Criteo has released data to help ecommerce businesses and brands make the most of Ramadan online shopping opportunities. Criteo’s data also revealed that Ramadan traditions influence consumers’ behaviour throughout the day. To engage with consumers, brands need to know when they are most active online. During the fasting period in the day, ecommerce transactions were lower at 71 per cent, compared to 76 per cent for the period prior to Ramadan. However, after breaking fast, there is an increase in ecommerce sales to 29 per cent, from 24 per cent pre-Ramadan, representing a timely opportunity to reach out to consumers.
“The Islamic holy month is marked by festivities that involve redecorating homes, gift giving or wearing new clothes to welcome visiting friends and relatives. Rising smartphone adoption and more time spent at home as Muslims break their fast together, means it becomes more convenient if essential items are purchased online. During this period, brands must ensure that they are helping consumers sift through online product inventories to discover what they want and need, by delivering personalized and relevant content,” said Yuko Saito, Managing Director, Criteo Southeast Asia.
These are some Ramadan marketing strategies for brands to keep in mind during Ramadan
1. Understand the importance of Ramadan
Recognise that Ramadan is a unique time for Muslims all over the world, and that buying behaviour increases and changes during this month. Products such as food, clothes, electronics, and jewelery are in particular demand.
2. The Importance of Digital and Mobile During Ramadan in 2017
Google recently published data that clearly shows that people across the MENA region spend more time online, use their smartphones more and watch more Youtube videos during Ramadan. Despite this Google says most marketers in the MENA region aren’t taking advantage of this opportunity. Instead these brands continue to compete for a limited amount of space in traditional media outlets like TV and print. The opportunity in digital is clear for brands who act now.
3. Get Aggressive On Mobile
Smartphones have become the first point of brand interaction or product discovery for many consumers. During Ramadan, consumers will make more purchases through their mobile devices than usual. Weekends and early morning hours will witness a peak in mobile traffic, which will also reflect in mobile sales. Make sure you are prepared for the mobile consumers. A fully responsive and optimized website for mobile web is an absolute requirement, and a transaction-oriented mobile app is a big plus. Additionally, digital marketing activities should follow a ‘mobile first’ approach in order to successfully address the valuable mobile audience.
Think of the following:
– 80% of people are on their smartphones while watching TV – and more people watch TV during Ramadan, so align your strategies especially on social media
– The timing of your ads. Focus on the evening if you can schedule.
– YouTube advertising gets more competitive – how can you better target during peak periods
– Is your website responsive? If not, you might be losing out
4. Cross Device Tracking
Consumers make use of several devices during their path to purchase, switching from their smartphone, to a PC, to a tablet, and back to the smartphone again. During Ramadan, this purchase behavior changes even more, with consumers spending less time in front of their PCs, and more with their mobile devices. If brands don’t have a reliable way of tracking weekend mobile shoppers across their different devices, they may address users with messages which are most likely no longer interesting for them, thus missing out on sales.
5. Differentiate From Competition
As purchase intent surges, the competition among brands intensifies in correspondence – and increased digital marketing budgets are a key driver to capitalize on this interest. No matter what industry you operate in, invest in ecommerce Ramadan marketing strategies to set your brand apart from competitors. Proposing special offers during Ramadan may be a good way to break through the clutter.
6. Specify Campaign Management
Not all verticals are affected during Ramadan, and some categories are more in the focus than others. For example, the fashion industry benefits significantly during Ramadan, as consumers flock to purchase new clothes for their kids. Test what works best for your product categories, especially if you work within the travel industry: Wait for the most appropriate times for packages, hotels, flights and market correspondent offers. It is important to maintain the momentum even after Ramadan, as individuals are still going on holiday.
7. Digital Impact On Physical
According to recent report by Ovum and Criteo, offline sales can be pushed through digital commerce as well, as consumers are more likely to buy a product or service when they have a better understanding of a brand’s offering through their digital channels. Don’t assume visitors to your shop are simply show-rooming when they are using their smartphones in-store; it is very likely they are checking ratings, further information and more.
8. Brands that connect win!
Specific images are associated with Ramadan, such as tea pots, crescents, dates and lanterns. You will find the major brands associating themselves with these images as a way of cutting through the clutter and creating associations with the brand. For instance, take a look at how Burger King took on the crescent during their Ramadan campaign:
Taking these images through your advertising, from offline to online, from Twitter to Organic Search, will reinforce your message. The more integrated you can be across the whole experience (remember, people frequently have at least two devices in front of them, if you count a TV as a device.)
9. Search Trends Change
Stay on top of search trends and build content that peaks specifically during Ramadan. Promote your products and services through effective Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Social Media Optimisation, and offline marketing. Use Analytics to understand the consumption behaviour of your Muslim consumers and to calculate the Return on Investment (ROI).
One of the most popular search terms in the UAE, peaking during Ramadan, is “Why do Genies hate dates”.
Why indeed? Well, if you can answer the question, you have a pretty good chance of ranking well. It i a little bit “Britney Spears” (i.e. inserting a keyword that’s nothing to do with you in order to rank, a strategy dating back to circa 1999), but using search trends can lead to some interesting discoveries.
And by the way, if you were interested, we don’t know why genies hate dates, but legend has it that the Djinn are creatures in Arabian folklore who hate dates (not the type you get on Match.com, the ones you eat) and people use dates to protect themselves against the Djinn. 🙂
10. Use social media effectively
Create greater engagement with Muslims customers as they spend more time on social networking platforms during the holy month compared to other months of the year. It is reported that in the Middle East the use of social media increases by 30 per cent during Ramadan.
Networking activities happen during Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr. Fast-breaking gatherings, religious activities in mosques, social bazaars and the Eid Al-Fitr holiday exodus facilitate information exchanges. On the journey to their hometowns, people bring souvenirs for family and friends. There, people catch up and exchange information about activities in cities via offline gathering and through social media.
11. Give more
Ramadan is about charity, so aligning yourself with a charity is a good idea, not just for marketing, but because it is A GOOD IDEA. Giving away some of your knowledge is always a good thing – Betty Crocker’s Ramadan Recipes, for instance, earned over thousand views last year.
The campaign is a great example of how to retain attention during the holy month, with a recipe every day, and how to align a brand with local sensitivities. Betty Crocker also know that search traffic for ‘recipes’ rises during Ramadan as people celebrate together more.
12. Be respectful
You want to attract the attention of your Muslim customers but by trying to have a catchy Ramadan campaign, some brands may create something or say something that Muslims may find offensive. Brands should be respectful to the Muslim religion and culture in all their Ramadan marketing strategies and campaigns. If you are a business thinking about venturing into this market without cultural awareness it is recommended to seek advice from the Muslim community. Your local mosque is a good place to start.
Ramadan marketing strategies boils down to the feasibility of reaching out to this demographic.
Reaching out to this niche through digital marketing and social media with engaging content that resonates is another great way to stay connected. A great starting point, though, is to seek a better understanding of the diversity of Muslim culture.
In conclusion, successful brands understand that Ramadan can be a very lucrative season when Ramadan marketing strategies are executed properly for the right products and services. These brands know their target audience, respect their beliefs, and work to develop creative campaigns that align with the theme of Ramadan while driving new interest in their offerings.