3 Tips for Marketing to Muslims and Not Get The Cold Shoulder

At the time of writing this post, Ramadan is just around the corner. Businesses, both Muslim-owned and not, know that this is a time when a large part of the population will be more prone to buying stuff. Yes, it is a time of spirituality and prayer, but it is also a time of festivity – which means consuming more.

According to Oglivly Noor – an Islamic Branding entity –  shopping centers in the UK witness about a 47% increase in revenue, while supermarkets enjoy multimillion-pound incremental value. While most brands are aware of the potential, most efforts fall short of even being presentable.

So what’s the first mistake that most brands out there are making? How about the obvious: focusing marketing efforts only on Ramadan? Let’s make that our first tip.

1 Create a Strategy for Marketing to Muslims Beyond Ramadan

Unfortunately, we see both Muslim-owned and mainstream businesses make this enormous blunder. Muslims are not Muslims just during Ramadan. Even better yet; Muslims are not consumers only during Ramadan. If you are a business and your only strategy is to bombard Muslims with advertisements during Ramadan, you are doing the bare minimum. You are like the loud aunt that people see only during weddings because she knows there is free Biryani and Falooda. No one likes that. 

You could be making more during Ramadan and outside of Ramadan if you build a relationship with the Muslim audience throughout the year. You should, of course, ramp up your efforts during Ramadan to capitalize on the increased consumer buying behavior.

How to Create a Marketing Strategy for Muslim Consumers You Ask

The fastest way for you to start creating and implementing a marketing strategy for Muslim consumers is by using  Dinar Standard’s 4-Step Muslim Market Strategy which is summarized in the graph below.

Marketing Strategy for Muslim Consumers
Marketing Strategy for Muslim Consumers

Once you have this on lock, you may expand your strategy. However, you shouldn’t just stop there. You also need to find experts in the field who have the skillset, tools, and experience to help you execute your strategy effectively.

2 Learn from Others

The diversity within the Muslim population can be an opportunity or a hurdle, depending on whether you took the time to understand it. We’ve seen some big brands end up on extreme sides when it comes to connecting with Muslim audiences or getting the cold shoulder. So be always on the lookout and see what others are doing right or getting wrong. For starters, I used two examples, one good and one bad for you.

How Tesco Stole Christmas

How not to advertise to Muslims - Tesco
How not to advertise to Muslims – Tesco

During Christmas 2017 Tesco supermarkets launched a Christmas TV advertisement featuring different families. In order to represent Britain’s diversity, one of the families featured was Muslim. This obviously pissed off both Islamophobes and the very conservative Muslims at the same time.

What’s strange is that even though in the year prior to the advertisement campaign, Tesco had made 43 million dollars during Ramadan alone, there was no advertising campaign ran during Ramadan featuring Muslims. 

Where they went wrong: The ad made sense, it was about diversity and including everyone, but it ended up annoying both Muslims and those who are allergic to anyone who looks like a Muslim. Hurrah, to diversity, but then what? Tesco does not sell Halal turkey by the way, not even during Christmas.

Tesco did well in acknowledging Muslims but messed up when ignoring their needs for the very product it’s using them to advertise.

Lesson: Make sure you are advertising to Muslims because you care about their needs. Do not do it just for the sake of diversity and inclusion. It will look like tokenism and exploitation in order to sell to another audience that does not include them.

Halal Paint – Nailed It

HALALPAINT a great example of marketing to Muslims
HALALPAINT a great example of marketing to Muslims

Orly had launched a nail polish line called Breathable, it caught the eye of a young Muslim entrepreneur. She had been struggling with nail polish because water could not penetrate through to the nails and that meant that she could not perform ablution before prayer without first removing the nail polish and when done praying,, applying it again. Try doing that five times a day,

Breathable’s unique formula allows oxygen and moisture to reach the nail, so wearing the polish does not interfere with the ablution that Muslims make before prayer. Muslim Girl (our heroine’s company) launched Halal Paint, a limited edition halal nail polish in collaboration with Orly. It offers a wide range of moisture-permeable, halal-certified shades.

What they did so well: Muslim Girl understood the needs of Muslim women and the pain points that nail polish brought about. She saw an opportunity in Orly’s new Breathable line as the solution as there were few options on the market and the color selections were really limited.

Orly was not looking to target Muslim women, but it was THE solution for a huge audience that had very little options. Muslim Girl had this audience captive, and so they collaborated. With Orly’s perfect product and Muslim Girl’s huge audience, it was a match made in heaven.

Lesson: Make sure you have a product-market fit and involve the right people. When it comes to involving the right people it also means getting experts on board to help you navigate the Muslim audience landscape.

3 Get Experts on Board

Committing to target Muslim audiences with relevant and effective messaging throughout the year can be a daunting task. Especially if you want to do it properly. This is why you should get the right people working for you in-house but also work with external experts like those who specialize in advertising to Muslim consumers.

Experts Will Help You Move Beyond The Immigrant Stereotypes

In one of our articles, ‘6 reasons Why Businesses Targeting Muslims Will Thrive in 2020 and Beyond’ we highlighted that out of the 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, about 66% are under the age of 30. In the United Kingdom, for example, half of the Muslim population is under the age of 30. This group of predominantly second- and third-generation Brits is becoming more conscious of their Islamic identity, yet at the same time does not relate to immigrant stereotype messages (they actually act as a repellent). As advertising experts here at Muslim Ad Network, one of the ineffective ways we see people using Display Ads is by using images with deep green palettes resembling the Pakistani flag and Arab lanterns to invoke the spirit of being a Muslim. I am not saying you should never use them but that should not be your go-to image every time you create a banner.

I know, it can be hard to find the right strategy for your marketing and advertising and that is why you should get help from experts.

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