Question 1

Based on the case study, select one country in the Arab world and critically analyze the market demographics, then select a lucrative market segment and for that segment argue a case for a product offering based on the internet usage that delivers some value to the customer.

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In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the population is 28,160,273 people with immigrants making up over 30% of the population (Index Mundi, 2017). Many expatriates from other countries come to work in the KSA, in fields like health care and IT, but the KSA is currently promoting a Saudization initiative which is designed to get more native Saudis educated, trained and into the workforce (Al-Dosary, 2005). 19% of consumers are aged 15-24 (nearly equally divided between males and females) and 46% are between the ages of 25-54. The median age is 27 and 83% of the population is urbanized.

The prime segment to target is the 15-24 year-old market segment, as this is nearly 20% of the Saudi population. This segment would benefit from a product like fiber-optics Internet (high-speed Internet), which is the next step forward in high-speed Internet. It is reported by Reuters (2017) that Saudi Telecom has indeed signed on to Saudi’s fiber upgrade. The upgrade will allow Saudi Telecom to connect 1.3 million housing units with fiber-optic lines (Reuters, 2017). Having access to high-speed Internet is important in the Digital Age as so much information is shared via the Internet today and so much video and music is streamed online. Without high-speed Internet, one’s browsing experience can be frustrated. This access will allow this segment to obtain online education more easily, and since education is needed now more than ever among Saudi’s in order for Saudization to work, this product is perfect for this young segment.

One of the barriers to selling fiber optics Internet to consumers has been the lack of infrastructure and the cost of installation. With Saudi Telecom committing to the upgrade, this barrier is no longer an issue. The better quality streams and faster service will be attractive to the core Internet users in the country.

Thanks to this upgrade, Saudis can now have more access to online education. Online education is a great way for Saudis who may not be able to travel to other regions for campus-based classes to receive the education they need to get a job in the fields that the KSA is currently trying to fill with native Saudis. Online education is a great product that Saudis should take advantage of, as it is cheaper that campus-based education and provides access to the material that students need to gain the skills and degrees necessary for finding employment in the KSA (Haynie, 2015).

Online education is the best way forward for native Saudis looking to obtain a position in fields where many expatriates are being rotated out. Because of the KSA’s geographical obstacles to education, online education is a great and inexpensive way to obtaining the skills and training needed. With the arrival of fiber optics Internet thanks to Saudi Telecom, more people

Question 2

Critically evaluate the unique positioning that you will offer to your customers based on what you know about the behavior of your selected segment in the Arab world. Present a case with practical examples that in your opinion how does the launch of Maren could affect the business of the Microscoft in the Arab world.

Based on the behavior of the selected segment of consumers in the KSA, a case with practical examples would be using the Internet for online schooling, which can be a way to facilitate education and the implementation of Saudization. As many students, especially women cannot leave the home to attend classes in another region (especially true for nursing students), online education via fiber optics Internet service can really help strengthen the country’s development (Appana, 2008). As McCutcheon and Traynor (2015) show, online education is helpful in providing nursing students with the clinical skills they need to succeed in the field. For a country committed to Saudization of a field that is primarily serviced by expatriates, online education via fiber optics is an incredibly good way to get the education Saudis need at a cheaper rate and in a more accessible and flexible manner.

In the KSA, young men and women (especially women) have responsibilities in the home and to their families. They are not always able to make the long voyages to specialized schools to receive education and training for their selected fields. This is especially the case for nursing, as there are only a handful of accredited nursing colleges in the KSA. Online education would appeal to this segment, especially when it comes to nursing, because there are so few Saudi nurses working in the KSA. There is a need for more and marketing online education to this segment would be a good way to move the product.

Likewise, the launch of Maren could affect the business of Microsoft in the Arab world by helping the Arab population in the KSA to more effectively use keyboards on their computers to write in their own language while they are doing their distance-learning courses online. It is actually a great fit for students in the segment population—a keyboard that allows them to type in Arabish and have it come out on their documents as Arabic. It is just the thing that students need to succeed in their academic careers as online education becomes more popular in the KSA. Thus Maren is a perfect product that is coming at just the right time for Saudi students who can finally obtain the type of education they need thanks to the help of fiber optics and Microsoft’s Maren, which will allow them to type in their own native language.

2 Arabic BlackBerry

Question 1

Compare and contrast the positive and negative consumer attitudes towards a brand like

BlackBery might develop and critically analyze the role the BlackBerry appears to be

playing in the development of mobile handset market in the Arab world?

Many of the positive attitudes towards a brand like BlackBerry stem from its utility and its ability to use “push email” instead having to “pull emails” from a network. This gives the BlackBerry and its users more mobility and functionality when they are out in the field. The BlackBerry also enables Arab users to communicate in their own Arab language, sending emails in the words they know and use in everyday life, which is another major benefit.

Additionally, the vendors, network providers and businesses are mostly all already invested in the push email system that BlackBerry utilizes, so there is no question of having to swap out one system for another or for infrastructural upgrades to take place. The groundwork is already there and most of the stakeholders in workplace communications are currently on board.

However, the one main negagtive of the BlackBerry is that too few people seem to know about it. It is somewhat of a relic of earlier days in mobile phone communications. Today’s mobile phone users know of the iPhone, which is the symbol of status and functionality in today’s world. The reality, of course, is that the BlackBerry has greater utility and functionality and meets many of the demands of the on-the-go worker in today’s fast paced world. Additionally, the devices themselves are expensive and this can be viewed as a negative factor for consumers, who, if they are going to pay for a costly item will pay for an item that has more status so that they can show it off. The BlackBerry does not have the hipness factor that an iPhone can command, though there are certainly more than a dozen reasons the BlackBerry beats a head to head contest with the iPhone every time (Legget, 2013). BlackBerry’s push email service is one of the main reasons it is better than its competitors, but a lot of consumers are unfamiliar with the technology and are not aware of the brand. It does not have the same kind of brand appeal that competitors have and it has to work on this to make it happen.


Question 2

Critically evaluate the decision process that buyers of a typical push email device go

through before purchasing the device. Quantify and illustrate the concept of aspirational

groups to the BlackBerry brand and argue if marketers should have boundaries with

regard to this concept?

The decision process that buyers of a typical push email device go through before purchasing the device include considerations about cost, usefulness, utility, and effectiveness. The buyers will look at the features of the device and determine if it meets their needs. They will also look at it from a work-related point of view: is it an acceptable device for their work? They will ask this question and want to know that they can use it securely and safely and that it provides them with the greatest functionality. They will also want to know the price. What is the price of this device and will it add to the person’s status? Status is very important when consumers make a big purchase, because the types of tools that a person uses says a lot about the person to others, and if one is taken by others as foolish or out of the loop it will reflect badly on the business and give the impression to others that the user is not up to date or very intelligent when it comes to technology. So the consumer will definitely consider the status of the device and whether it is acceptable to use in public or even if it is respected by others as a good device.

Aspirational groups can be of some benefit by the fact that they can determine whether the product is trending, and if it is trending that means its status in public is growing and becoming more accepted and respected. This will have an impact on consumers who will want to be identified with the popular trend and will shift their consumption over to the BlackBerry from competitors. Marketers will be able to more effectively advertise for the devise based on what the aspirational groups are showing and, for this reason, there should be no boundaries for the marketers.

The reason there should be no boundaries is that marketers have as their objective to get the product before the eyes of target consumers and to make it look as appealing as possible so that the target will want to buy it. In order to perform, marketers must be able to understand the target, anticipate their behaviors, their buying patterns, the way they think, shop and behave so that they will know how to appeal to them. The target is likely, moreover, to consist of a diverse set of people—not just one kind of people, so having a broad basis of appeal or a common appeal to the target will be necessary. Finding that right approach can be tricky and if there are boundaries on what a marketer can and cannot do, it limits his functionality. The marketer should be able to embrace every possible means of advancing the product to the consumer.

Aspirational groups can help BlackBerry by supporting the brand and making stand out to the public in a way that truly pops. Because the consumers are not very well familiar with the brand there is a need for it to be highlighted and for its status to be enhanced—otherwise it is unlikely to find much footing in the market. It is essential that products be able to differentiate themselves from their competitors otherwise they are unlikely to stand out and draw attention to themselves (Trout, Rivkin, 2006). BlackBerry is certainly able to stand out, but it has not drawn much attention to itself in recent years because it does not come with all the splash and hype that some other competitors bring. There has to be a way for BlackBerry to tap into the zeitgeist and represent it in its product so that product can have appeal to the target market. The fact that the Digital Age is here to stay and that technology is revolutionizing the way the world works and itself is being constantly revolutionized indicates that companies must stay at the forefront of development. This is why aspirational groups can help because they are there at the fore to show what is happening and how things are trending. If they can assist marketers in making the product appealing to the target market then they should be used.


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