(MENAFN - The Peninsula) By Lani Rose R Dizon I The Peninsula
Doha: Businesses in Qatar need to establish a strong online presence and failing to do so may cost them significant losses in business opportunities, an expert in digital marketing has said.
Talking to The Peninsula recently on the sidelines of a session organised by the Digital Transformation of Small & Medium Business Enterprises (DTSME) where he was the speaker, New Waves Qatar Founder and CEO, Ahmed M Hassan, said investing in digital marketing is a wise strategy and should be part of every company's operational plan.
It may be noted that the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC) has launched the DTSME last year to help SMEs in advancing their businesses by using technology, as well as in order to support the country's digital transformation. More than 5,000 SMEs are expected to benefit from the programme by the end of this year.
Hassan added: 'We need to develop the awareness among entrepreneurs here that it is a must to have a strong web presence, and it's not a choice. If they do it late, they may have to spend more on traditional marketing, lag behind competitors and suffer from losing their market share. The smart way to use digital marketing is to use the platform to reach the right customers with the right message.
Speaking about industries in Qatar which already have a growing online presence, Hassan said food businesses such as restaurants are starting to develop their own web presence. Others join more popular online brands such as Talabat to reach more customers. Clothing and accessories businesses are also establishing their online stores, especially amidst growing competition from the international market.
In the medical field, digital marketing is definitely growing compared to three years ago. However, construction and real estate businesses need to further develop their online presence. Many companies in these industries still don't have digital marketing strategies and spend huge amounts of money on advertisements just to announce their activities.
'Digitalising SMEs will also boost Qatar's digital economy. Once they go online, businesses will have more market share. All of us use technology daily in different ways. And it's now easier for every business to reach their target customers through Google and other social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, WhatsApp, and YouTube among others. Compared to traditional marketing, digital marketing is cost-effective, he added.
Hassan started his web design and digital marketing agency in Doha in 2016 and credits the success of his business to the company's strong online presence. To date, New Waves has over 170 clients including government organisations and big companies in Qatar.
He said: 'Right now, we're also getting international queries from the US, Switzerland, and other Arab countries as well just because of our strong online presence. Previously, we also did a digital marketing campaign for a Qatari company which manufactures medical devices for diabetic patients. Today, the company has developed many business connections, not only in Qatar, but from other countries as well, such as Korea. What if they didn't have a web presence? They might have lost a lot of opportunities.