Conference underlines SMBs role in revenues
Dubai, June 13, 2009
Only 15 per cent of public relations (PR) revenues come from SMBs in GCC, though they control 80 per cent of projects, said a marketing expert at a recently held consultants’ conference.
The 1st International Consultants Conference took place on June 1 and 2 at the Grand Hyatt Dubai.
GCC small and medium businesses (SMBs) need to look at PR ( more seriously, rather than merely as a tick box in their marketing strategies, according Firas Sleem, director, UAE office, Virtue PR and Marketing Communications.
“Most SMBs in the Gulf are still not linking PR to their long-term business goals. Though these companies form the backbone of the GCC businesses, they are a long way from effectively leveraging PR for boosting their marketing strategies,” said Sleem.
“In the Middle East, there is no clear definition for SMBs. Some classify them on headcount, others on turnover but still we don’t know the limits of either criteria,” Sleem added.
“European Union has started to standardize the concept. Its current definition categorizes companies with fewer than 50 employees as "small", and those with fewer than 250 as "medium". We in the Middle East have to have our own criteria for SMBs.”
According to the planning and economy department in Abu Dhabi, SMBs constitute 94 percent of the total projects in UAE, followed by 92 per cent in Bahrain, Oman and Qatar, 78 per cent in Kuwait and 75 per cent in Saudi Arabia.
Sleem added: “SMBs in the region don’t seem to differentiate between advertising and PR. As businesses grow, PR expenditure is gradually growing, but the general trend among SMBs is to club PR and advertising, instead of looking at them as two separate marketing disciplines.”
The conference concluded that SMBs were not as seriously affected by the crisis as the large enterprises because they have greater flexibility in taking prompt decisions.
The conference threw light on the relationship between multinational agencies versus local agencies, private versus government sector expenditure on consultancy, GCC versus Levant as well as seconding consultants versus full timer employees' formula and fees of consultancies at the time of budget cut off. – TradeArabia News Service