Masters at Marketing: What We Can Learn from Dubai


This month saw the start of the Dubai Expo 2020. For those considering expanding their business to this lucrative corner of the world, the event is a display of both the opportunities available and the level of sophistication that you need to compete in this arena, especially when it comes to marketing. 

What is the Dubai Expo 2020? 

The Dubai Expo 2020 is the first world expo held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA). It began on 1st October 2021 (postponed due to the pandemic) and will run until 31st March 2022. Its purpose is to

"Be an opportunity for people to connect from different corners of the world, to experience the best of art, culture, geography, science, technology, innovation and invention and to set into motion millions of new thoughts and ideas that will make a lasting impact in our lives."

A few facts to give you a sense of the scale of the event:

  • The expo site covers 1083 acres, located between the cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi
  • The theme is "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future"
  • It has three thematic pavilions based on opportunity, mobility and sustainability 
  • A record 192 countries are represented at the event

Our experience of this global marketing event

Our marketing experts, including Rasha Ezzeddine, attended the Expo last week, and despite the challenges of the pandemic, it is true to traditional Dubai form. A feast for the senses, as a marketing exercise, it captures its audience at every touchpoint. From the moment you book your tickets online to post-visit communications, their marketing mastery is without question.
From the start, the event seeks to address how people will feel, breaking down barriers to attendance and ensuring engagement from visitors before, during and after. Attendance is made easy. 
For example, everyone flying to Dubai with Emirates during Expo 2020 will receive a complimentary Expo 2020 Dubai day pass. The parking, public transport and shuttles to and from the pavilions have been seamlessly organised. There's no arriving feeling flustered and irritable. If you want to present yourself on the world stage and show what Dubai is all about, this is the way to do it.
You enter into the pavilions, and you're greeted with a multi-sensory experience - scent, taste, sound, sight - if Disney weren't the most magical place in the world, then this probably would be. The staff are well trained and friendly (they had 30,000 people volunteer for the event), catering to all potential scenarios. 
Individual stands are stimulating and inspiring. For example, the UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 is inspired by the late scientist Stephen Hawking's 'breakthrough message' project. Highlighting artificial intelligence and the space sector, it invites visitors to contribute any word, all of which will then be put together into the world's longest poem, designed to communicate with another planet.
Following the event, they are seamless in their follow up - asking questions about your experience, saying thank you for attending and giving you more reasons to come back - whether it's multi-entry offers or updated events and activities. They're very clear about their objective - to market Dubai on the world stage.

What can you learn about marketing and market expansion from the Dubai Expo 2020?

For visiting business leaders and marketing experts, what the Dubai Expo 2020 teaches us about marketing and market expansion in Dubai is:

What can you learn about marketing?

  • This is a part of the world that's at the cutting edge of marketing and experience
  • Marketing is more and more about the experience and a 360-degree approach
  • It's about being completely clear about your objectives before, during and after the primary consumer interaction

What can you learn about market expansion into Dubai?

  • This is the level to which you are competing and expected to operate in this market
  • It is a market that wants to engage with overseas businesses
  • They want to share knowledge and support businesses expanding into and out of Dubai
  • There are opportunities here

Dubai Expo 2020 is a fantastic event to be launching us back into a post-pandemic world. Its emphasis on sustainability, growth, inclusivity, communication, excellence and global community is the epitome of business and marketing today. It's a lesson we can all learn from to improve market penetration and market share for your product or service. For those seeking to grow their business overseas, consider this inspiration. 

If you would like to talk about expanding your business, our team of marketing consultants can help provide marketing strategy  or market expansion strategy and support to meet your goals and objectives. Contact us for more information.

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