Marketing a Business in Egypt
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Marketing a Business in Egypt
The international transition of a business, like preparing to set up in Egypt, is more than just costs and procedures. It's more cultural acclimatisation than calculatory acumen. It's making sure your product or service fits the inclinations and idiosyncrasies of a nation; finding a way to culturalise your business in order to reap the same results your business has achieved domestically. This is accomplished through one simple step: effective marketing in Egypt.
Marketing your business on indigenous soil is an art-form in itself; attempting to do it in Egypt is nigh-on miraculous. Countries may be becoming more heterogeneous, but the foundations of a culture rarely budge for anything: their sensitivities, traditions, humour, discourses, protocols are essentially unchanging and stubbornly unaccommodating. Therefore, the identity of your product or service needs to seamlessly fashion itself upon a nation, not the other way around, shoehorned in, hoping for the best.
Advertising in Egypt
Advertising in the Egyptian market has become easier since the liberalisation of the economy brought to the extension of the private sector. The advertising sector is quite advanced in surprisingly competitive British exporters are advised to consult their advertising agents before embarking on an advertising campaign.
Strategically speaking, well-placed newspaper/magazine advertisements are the best solution, as literate Egyptians read newspapers voraciously. Also television and radio are watched by most Egyptians, literate or not. They are under government control and they are mainly used for consumer goods.
The arrival of satellite television has revolutionised viewing and possible advertising possibilities, where largely uncensored western viewing in a variety of languages is available. There are daily English language programmes on the local channels, both on television and radio. Most cinemas welcome advertising. Roadside billboards and flashing neon signs on building roofs abound in Egypt.
Print Advertising and Direct Mail are not widely used in Egypt, although "junk mail" advertisements, faxed advertisements, and messenger/courier-delivered direct mail campaigns are in operation.
Sales Promotion in Egypt
Trade shows are a valuable point of distribution for advertising material, sales literature and samples. The basic principles of trade literature are the same as in the UK. Design should be dramatic but inviting, simple and easy to follow. The style should be in keeping with the product. All commercial correspondence in Egypt should be in Arabic, or bilingual (English and Arabic). Avoid illustrations which may cause offence among Islamic people.
Cultural sensitivity and understanding of protocol is paramount to effective marketing. The intricacies of a nation its beliefs, even its superstitions can make or break your business. Know the market; immerse yourself in it. Never assume your marketing strategy will be transplantable to a foreign country. There is only a slim chance language will translate well. Anglophonic countries may be susceptible, but if your product or service plays on a quintessentially British characteristic or joke the chances are, it will not be well received.
As for other countries, don't bank on using the same strap-lines or gimmicks. Unless they are perfectly transitional, your product or service could suffer especially if it relies on humour.
Unless you are certain your product or service can sell itself on indigenous merits, it is probably wise to revise its selling-points for a foreign market. As always, however, only your own fastidious research can conclude this.
If you are marketing in Egypt, remember you are dealing with an Islamic country. Islam is practised by the majority of Egyptians and governs their personal, political, economic and legal lives. Among certain obligations for Muslims are to pray five times a day - at dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset, and evening. The exact time is listed in the local newspaper each day. Friday is the Muslim holy day. Everything is closed. Many companies also close on Thursday, making the weekend Thursday and Friday.
During the holy month of Ramadan all Muslims must fast from dawn to dusk and are only permitted to work six hours per day. Fasting includes no eating, drinking, cigarette smoking, or gum chewing. In general, things happen more slowly during Ramadan. Many businesses operate on a reduced schedule. Shops may be open and closed at unusual times.
The family is the most significant unit of Egyptian society, which means the individual is always subordinate to the family, and nepotism is viewed positively, since it is patronage of one's family. An individual's honour is intricately entwined with the reputation and honour of everyone in their family.
Honour is the most important facet of interpersonal relationships. Respect and esteem for people is both a right and an obligation. Honour requires that Egyptians demonstrate hospitality to friends and guests dictates that people dress as well as their financial circumstances allow, and show proper respect and deference to their elders and those in authority. A man's word is considered his bond and to go back on your word is to bring dishonour.
The Egyptian society is structured in social classes, with little social mobility. Classes determines power and position. Status is defined more by family background than by absolute wealth.
Egyptians are in general very conservative about sex and women. Western business women in the country should show as little of their body as possible, otherwise it could be considered an offence. Also avoid eye contact with any males, unless they are business associates or well know. It may be useful to wear a wedding ring, which may help to discourage unwanted attention.