Marketing Management Critique Essay
1. Marketing Plan Outline
1.1 Corporate Mission:
To transform Emaar into a one-stop, global solution provider for lifestyle, including homes, work, play, leisure, retail, health, education, finance, industry and more. (www.emaar.com.ae)
1.2 Corporate Objectives:
To become one of the most valuable lifestyle real estate developers in the world beyond real estate development.
Adopt a strategy of business segmentation to create different business clusters functioning as different growth engines.
1.3 Market Overview:
Saudi Arabia’s real estate market is relatively underdeveloped and its expanding population, a lack of affordable housing and few home financing options has seen significant demand build up. The Kingdom faces housing demands of over 1.3mn housing units by 2015 (National Commercial Bank Capital Research Department 2008, p11).
The markets relative infancy has also shielded it from the worst of the global financial crisis leaving it economically stable compared to its neighbors in the Gulf (The PRS Group, Inc. 2010. P4)
In the midst of all the political upheaval in the Arab world; the Kingdom has taken a pre-emptive approach and recently announced further benefits for its people, such as interest free housing loans and a bigger budget for infrastructural development amongst many others (http://www.us-sabc.org). So far the Kingdom has not seen any major uprising from the population; however the situation is unpredictable and can change without warning (www.ft.com).
Jeddah Gate (JG) project establishes a new and innovative way of thinking about urban cities and living. The layout of the project deviates from the traditional concepts of residential complexes and introduces a community residence aspect for the first time in Saudi Arabia; where people can live, work and play in one location (www.emaarme.com.sa).
Main features of the JG community: 550, 000 sq. m. total area, 6000 residential units, 75000 sq. m of retail space, 230,000sq.m… commercial space and Schools & Public Facilities (www.emaarme.com.sa).
1.3.3 Customer Target:
1.4 .Marketing Mission:
In 2011-2012 Jeddah Gate will focus on communicating the USP of work, live and play within the community; to increase customer awareness, increase traffic at sales center and help in generating sales. (Jeddah Gate Marketing Plan 2011)
1.5 Marketing Objectives 2011-2012:
Leverage the concept of live, work and play and growth of Jeddah Gate as a project, as a community and as a symbol of success in all aspects of ATL & BTL communications.
To generate 240+ in target market registered traffic every month and increase sales conversion ratio above 2% (Registered traffic is: sales center walk in, calls to call center, online registration, event attendance).
Coordinate with Sales team to achieve the 2011-2012 sales & revenue targets:
1.6 IMC Campaign 2011-2012:
1.7 Budget 2011:
Closely monitor the effects of the marketing campaigns through keeping track of the rate of traffic at the JG sales center, incoming calls for information in the call center and conduct professional research to evaluate the level of awareness created.
2. Critical Evaluation of the Marketing Plan
2.1Saudi Political Situation:
The political environment in Saudi has been quite stable over the years, being a purely monarchical government no serious political unrest has occurred (The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2010 p3).
A stable political environment has helped the country prosper; according to The Global Competitive report (2010-2011 p37) conducted by the World Economic Forum, Saudi Arabia has risen to the second highest place in the MENA (Middle East & Africa) region in terms of global competitive advantage due to several economic initiatives undertaken by the regime such as improvements to the institutional framework, a stronger corporate governance framework, investing in the private sector and reforming legal issues (Mohamed A Ramady 2010 p3) .
The current political upheaval in the MENA region cannot be ignored; so far Saudi Arabia has witnessed very minor protests by a minority of the population, however the risk of serious political unrest in Saudi is not highly probable due to the strict anti-protest laws in place by the government (http://www.ft.com )
Keeping the above in mind it can be assumed that the current Saudi political environment is the optimum situation in which a real estate development company such as Emaar Middle East can grow and be successful. The planned development projects of Emaar such as Jeddah Gate will receive full governmental support and backing making it easier to operate i.e. getting quicker building permits than usual, land deeds and financial backing which will help in generating revenue.
2.2 Saudi Economical Situation:
By virtue of its size and available resources, Saudi Arabia is the largest economy in the GCC that is still relatively untapped. The main source of the Saudi economy is oil, however in the current years, one of the key economic objectives of the government is to diversify the economy and reduce dependency on revenue generated by only oil (Datamonitor 2008 p15).
With the economy going strong; the government has injected the revenues generated by oil back into the country, with public spending focusing on education, housing and social measures (Global Investment House 2011 p1-6).
Keeping in mind the growing population, changing demographics, larger personal disposable income and growing housing demand of over 190,000 units per year (National Commercial Bank Capital Research Department 2008, p11), the funding allocation for housing has been given a higher priority. In August 2010 the government announced a five year $385bn budget to strengthen the country’s infrastructure and real estate projects (www.oxfordbusinessgroup.com).
A new pending mortgage law will enable Saudis to obtain mortgages long term loans with very low interest rates. When this law is passed it is believed that the demand for housing will further increase and open the market to a wider section of the population in the Kingdom (http://arabnews.com).
The Jeddah Gate project will greatly benefit from the current and future demand in housing, the economic boom and the upcoming new mortgage law; especially since it offers a product that is unique to the market and more people will be financially able to purchase a home.
2.3 Saudi Social Environment:
The Saudi society is conservative and very traditional. However, considering that nearly 70% of the Saudi population is below the age of 30, the trend is slowly changing towards a more modern outlook without losing sight of religion and culture (Colliers International 2009 p6)
The Saudi people tend to be very private; because of this they prefer living in villas rather than apartments. Nevertheless, the younger generation is more open to purchasing an apartment to live in than the older generation (Colliers International 2009 p28).
The Jeddah Gate project needs to clearly understand the needs and wants of this young generation and ensure that the marketing strategy undertaken is in line with those needs and wants, because by fulfilling the needs of the consumers, the Jeddah Gate project will be able to create trust and loyalty amongst the Saudi consumers as well as generating revenues.
2.4 Saudi Technological advancements:
Since 2000 the Saudi government has started giving importance to the science and technological advancements in the country. A new science and technology policy has been placed for 2001-2020 which helps in the growth of technology in Saudi. (Datamonitor 2008 p21). The government’s financial position provides it with the advantage to invest in the required technological advancement, a good example would be the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology which was established in 2009 and has the vision of becoming the icon of aiding the advancement of technology not only in Saudi Arabia but in the world. (http://www.kaust.edu.sa)
Real estate sector is also indulging in technological advancements and Emaar is the pioneer of high tech projects such as Jeddah gate. The JG project provides its customers “Smart Homes” which are technologically advanced and allow the residents to use the Building Automation System where they can set the ambience of their residential or business units including curtains, intercom, surrounding sound system and other features, with the click of a remote (http://www.ameinfo.com).
The marketing team needs to incorporate this advanced technological feature in the communication section of their marketing plan to attract potential tech-savvy customers.
2.5 Saudi Legislative Scenario:
The legal system in Saudi is Shair’ah based i.e. Islamic Law. However, in the recent years the Saudi government has taken steps to reform certain aspects of the legal system, especially related to the business world and foreign investment. Even though certain laws are reformed the execution process is slow in comparison to other countries in the GCC, making it hard for companies to obtain the required licenses on time, causing delay and financial loss in some cases (Mohamed A Ramady 2010 p3&4).
The Jeddah Gate project can be affected by some legal delays such as obtaining land deeds and or building permissions. These delays should be preempted by the team working on the strategy and be taken into consideration when communicating with the customer to ensure that all customer expectations are met without creating any dissatisfaction.
2.6 Environmental Awareness in Saudi:
Saudi Arabia started addressing environmental issues seriously after the 1980, when the country’s industry had started to grow. Most of the environmental concerns addressed were related to the conservation of biodiversity and protection of wildlife (Datamonitor 2008 p26).
The proper implementation of environmental plans, along with the proposed education and awareness-raising programs, will encourage the growth of sustainability conciseness in the Kingdom (Datamonitor 2008 p26)
As for the real estate sector, the green building concept is fairly new. The Green Building Council has been set up in 2009 to promote and facilitate the green building practice in Saudi Arabia (http://www.saudigbc). However, currently most of the mega projects in Saudi, including Jeddah Gate are not practicing green building concepts.
2.7 The Jeddah Gate Customer:
2.7.1 Liberal Elite:
Groups of wealthy Saudi families connected through interactive social networks. Western educated and influenced, this group share experiences and follow the same purchasing trends. They are well traveled, cultured and sophisticated and part of the see and be seen crowed (Colliers International 2009 p35). This group can be considered the trend setters, opinion leaders and early adopters (http://www.rogerclarke.com) in the market .This is the primary target for the Jeddah Gate project, since the liberal elite will be able to relate better to the community living concept of freedom and modernity.
Groups of wealthy individuals who understand the benefits of investing in Saudi real estate, they would want to be a part of the upward trend of Saudi real estate market. Western educated and influenced, this group is very business savvy (Colliers International 2009 p36). This target audience should be approached for the Jeddah Gate project; however the marketing communication and sales pitch should be business focused with facts and figures explaining the return on investment.
2.8 Competitor Threats:
Ironically, the only direct competition a project like Jeddah Gate faces is from other projects being constructed by Emaar in other cities of Saudi Arabia such as the Khobar Lakes project in the Eastern province of Saudi (Jeddah Gate Marketing Plan). Nevertheless, Emaar should never lose sight of the indirect competitions i.e. singular residential towers etc… and always monitor the growth of these projects so that they are able to counter any decrease in sales due to competition.
As the housing demand grows Emaar has to make themselves aware of any new projects that may come up in the future, in order to able to take preemptive action to remain the first property developer in the mind of the customers.
2.9 Jeddah Gate SWOT:
3. Impact of Technology and New Media
3.1 The rise of technology and new media in Saudi:
Compared to its neighbors in the Gulf, Saudi Arabia accepted the advent of new media much later. Internet was officially introduced in 1999 and had limited usage (http://www.internet.gov.sa). This was mainly due to the overall cultural restrictions of the society where the conservatives in the country felt that the easy access of all sorts of information may be a source of corruption for the young generation (http://opennet.net). Nevertheless, when internet with restrictions i.e. blocked adult websites, online casinos etc… was finally introduced to the Saudi market the usage grew at a very rapid pace (http://www.businessweek.com).
3.2 Growth of the internet in Saudi:
The usage of internet is rapidly growing in Saudi Arabia. In 2010 38.1% of the population was using the internet and still growing. (http://www.internetworldstats.com).
Considering the young population of Saudi, it’s no surprise that social communities such as Facebook and Twitter are highly popular. In August 2010 there were 2,575,740 Facebook users in the Kingdom and growing rapidly. (http://www.internetworldstats.com)
Also a new trend of online shopping has been emerging in the recent years. Many Saudis go to websites such as Amazon to fulfill their retail needs; they book hotels, buy their tickets online (http://www.ameinfo.com).
The internet is also used for entertainment purposes i.e. websites such as YouTube, gaming websites, music downloads etc… are quite popular. In addition, Saudis use the internet to seek information through sites such as Google, yahoo etc. … (http://www.ameinfo.com )
3.3 Impact of technology and new media on Emaar’s future marketing plans:
Keeping the above in mind, it can be assumed that the future of internet and social media will be very bright and be one of the primary ways to interact with young Saudi consumers.
Emaar must consider this rising trend in their future marketing strategies. Emaar will have to incorporate on a larger scale the use of web related marketing campaigns, in addition they would need to revamp their website to allow customers to view the product/project online and have the option of booking an apartment or villa online by making an initial web payment.
Since the access of both positive and negative information on the web is easily available, Emaar must also in the future, look into web PR campaigns e.g. set up an Emaar blog which would counter any negative information pertaining to the project or company and promote positive news about the project and company.
Using web related marketing tools will help Emaar in communicating with the customers quicker and to a larger audience. In addition if sales are conducted through web marketing which is much cheaper than above the line marketing campaigns, the return on investment would be significantly higher.
It can be assumed that the internet is the future and if Emaar fails to utilize this growing phenomenon and communicate with the customers through the medium they relate too then Emaar will be losing potential customer and revenue.
Since the 1992 Earth Summit, there has been a rapid growth in awareness towards the need to address issues of sustainability (www.developmenteducationreview.com). In developed countries sustainability consciousness is on a constant growth trend, where more and more companies have to adhere to the demands of the society and be more active when it comes to sustainability (Ali M. Al-Yamiand A.D.F. Price. 2009, p109).
Keeping in mind global sustainability consciousness and the spread of awareness throughout the world, it can be assumed that it is only a matter of time when sustainability will take an important role in the Middle East as a whole and in Saudi Arabia in particular.
In fact, the Saudi government has created a preliminary guide for building standards that they intend to circulate over the next two years. The objective of the proposed standards guide is to reduce the cost of construction, power, and water consumptions and extend the age of current buildings (Jesse Lapierre. 2009, p2). Hence we can gather that the future of green buildings in the Kingdom is promising and should be taken into consideration for all upcoming projects.
In relation to sustainability in real estate sector, throughout the world a number of countries now practice the principles of sustainable construction. The reason for this is that Green Buildings can provide financial benefits such as energy savings, water savings, reduced waste etc… (Gregory H. Kats. 2003, p3). In addition, for the real estate developers Green Buildings can generate revenues through higher selling price/rents and lower operation costs (http://sustainablecitiescollective.com).
Even though Emaar has been a part of some charity related programs and follows very strict ethics standards. However, currently corporate social responsibility (CSR) does not play a significant role in Emaar’s marketing strategies especially for the projects in Saudi. If we look at the current triple bottom line (Andrew W. Savitz, Karl Weber 2006) plan for Emaar in Saudi, it can be noted that, the main focus is on the profit and then the people, whereas the planet is not as seriously considered.
Emaar being the largest real estate developer in the GCC should aim to be the pioneer in creating awareness about CSR and striving towards green building for all future projects in Saudi. Being the first developer to be CSR conscious would provide Emaar with an edge over future competitors, because they can use this opportunity for PR, use it as a unique selling point, and show the Saudi consumer that Emaar is a company that cares about the planet.
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