Magazine article Marketing

OPINION: Marketing Society - Understanding Islamic Market Well Worthwhile

Magazine article Marketing

OPINION: Marketing Society - Understanding Islamic Market Well Worthwhile

Article excerpt

After the Vietnam War, a Vietnamese general met up with a US general.

'You know, your army never actually beat us on the battlefield,' said the American to his past opponent. The Vietnamese general replied: 'I know. We didn't have to.'

The al-Qaeda threat has created a similar predicament for Western security and intelligence forces. Amazing technology and huge resources can be brought to bear but, as Vietnam illustrated, going to war with an opponent that doesn't see the world in the same way can easily nullify superior firepower.

The same is true in the more mundane world of marketing in Islamic countries.

For example, applying a direct mail campaign based on Western assumptions in Saudi Arabia would guarantee failure. Not only would the technology not work (no postcodes or databases), but any letter addressed to a women may well be opened by the male head of the household, who could be extremely angry that an unknown person has directly contacted his wife, daughter, sister or mother. There goes that warm positive feeling the consumer had for your brand.

The issue is, of course, more than having a detailed knowledge of direct mailing systems or of Muslim matters; it is about our own unquestioned assumptions on human behaviour. Psychologist James Hillman summed it up well, saying: 'The ideas we have, but don't know we have, have us.'

We often feel smugly superior when we hear a US tourist lost in Paris exclaim: 'Those French. They have a different word for everything.' But try replacing our Western protestant work ethic with the Arab mercantile culture - then combine it with the behavioural conformity required of Islam. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.