DAFZA expands global sales with a full funnel B2B content marketing strategy built by Clipatize

Over $20 billion in trade flows through the Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA) in a mere 6 months. The economic freezone offers multiple benefits for businesses, including lower corporate tax rates, and ease of legal operation in Dubai. But with a long and complex agreement process that can take up to a year to close, they needed a reliable way to reach and retain long-term leads online. The DAFZA board selected Clipatize to develop a titanic content marketing strategy that could build and nurture their B2B customers’ journey, in a big and creative way.

Introducing the Gateway to the Middle East

The Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA) has become one of the Gulf’s largest hubs of global trade, headquartering nearly 2,000 multinational enterprises. Its proximity to the busiest airport in the world, DXB, makes DAFZA a highly strategic location for both foreign and domestic brands to base their global expansion. DAFZA’s ambition is to build a leading freezone in support of a knowledge-based economy. To maintain their double-digit growth (annual growth rate of CAGR 27 percent), the board has moved to invest in educational growth strategies, framed into the B2B customer journey process developed by Clipatize.

Our work as their B2B digital marketing agency, was to unlock the “Gateway to the Middle East” program by delivering large-scale content marketing strategy and production, by nurturing buyers across the complex B2B buying process.

A full funnel approach to digital B2B marketing

The end-to-end B2B customer journey is the optimal way to generate leads and increase pipeline velocity. Every forward-thinking business, no matter what stage or size, needs a digital customer journey funnel to capture potential leads online, nurture them, and finally, convert them into clients. Clipatize knew that DAFZA could reach the all stages of the funnel simultaneously, with a strategy designed around the following key action points:

  • Building Awareness
    DAFZA needed to reach new audiences and build brand reputation
    with 20-40% greater ‘new-to-brand’ visitors, compared to traditional targeting methods.

  • Generating Interest
    By tailoring content engagement and showing the key benefits of choosing DAFZA over competitors, the Clipatize strategy measured by longer page views and increased downloads

  • Drive Consideration
    Once visitors are familiar with DAFZA, near-to-brand engagement efforts
    would lead to more education around offering and more meetings booked and more deals closed, compared to having no funnel approach.

  • Encouraging Decisions
    For the final batch of high-value leads who were deep in the funnel, highly tailored call to actions and dedicated landing pages were served through omnichannel communications.

  • Measuring & Automating
    By tracking business KPIs, Clipatize could optimize the campaign at key intervals to drive spending where needed, and automation tools made it possible to continuously deliver results 

Follow the customer, and results will follow

The goal of the project was to increase DAFZA’s presence online wherever their customers are. B2B sales cycles are long, but when driven by actionable content and quality information, brands can use the long pathway to establish topical authority, and nurture their audience.

With this in mind, Clipatize teams set out to deliver a content strategy that could attract global brands to consider DAFZA as their base of operations in Dubai. The strategy was designed to leave no part of the funnel behind. We tailored enticing and educational content to those early in the journey, and retained engaged leads with retargeting, email drips, and marketing automation strategies. 

In a nutshell, the overall content strategy led us through the following steps:

  1. Analyze buyer personas and competitor offerings
  2. Develop value proposition and key messaging
  3. Visualize each stage of customer journey from acquisition through development
  4. Create content targeting Automotive, Healthcare, Manufacturing, and Service industries
  5. Run lead generation and social media campaigns on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook
  6. Nurture engagement with email, retargeting and remarketing automation strategies
  7. Provide lead scoring logic to identify a sales-ready lead can be passed over to sales

Full funnel customer journey overview

Content marketing as a growth strategy

Content marketing can mean a lot of things depending on who you ask. It’s not as simple as writing a blog post, or creating a video and posting it. Brands that recognize the need for content, may not realize that the content created needs to have a strategy behind it for optimal results.

And nothing generates traffic like great content. 

So the strategy included research for personas, defining the target audience and building a plan that hits the center of the target. 

Our engagement began with a robust strategy with well-defined goals. From there, we could begin to produce content knowing how each piece would fit into the overall journey management efforts. This combination of growth-focused performance marketing, and quality content creation, helped Clipatize create assets that could better inform, engage and convert the global audience for DAFZA. Every piece of content developed could be repurposed for thought leadership posts, email marketing, social media, and sales enablement. Likewise, every bit of content led to high-power links with strong call to actions and

Here are some of the content categories we created, along with how they could be strategically leveraged:

Ebooks

‘The Complete Guide to Doing Business in Dubai’ contains everything one needs to know about establishing legal operations in Dubai economic free zones in general. 

Offer high-value downloadables

→ Share DAFZA customer results

→ Convince to book a meeting

Videos

DAFZA’s animated content is a great way to engage top-of-the-funnel, new-to-brand users and increase page views for stronger brand interactions.

→ Keep users on website

→ Explain offering rapidly

→ Build early trust with audience

 

Knowledge Articles & Posts

Topical expertise is one of the most prominent conversion tools, especially on platforms like LinkedIn. Our plan delivered long-form blog content.

→ Increase spheres of influence

→ Stand out among competitors

→ Inform target segments

Targeted Landing Pages

Creating multiple landing pages allowed us to target specific segments and offer tailored value to each one, converting specific user groups and responsive design for mobile screens.

→ Convince to book a meeting

→ Boost Google Indexing

→ Create touchpoints for tailored segmentation & conversion

Press Releases

Press releases are an influential part of enterprise-level marketing strategies, as it can indirectly lead to improved trust and brand recognition among B2B buyers who rely on industry opinion.

→ Build groups for retargeting

→ Boost rank keywords

→ Solicit backlinks

Images & Banners

Press releases are an influential part of enterprise-level marketing strategies, as it can indirectly lead to improved trust and brand recognition among B2B buyers who rely on industry opinion.

→ Generate traffic

→ Omnichannel retargeting (desktop & mobile)

→ Increase brand recognition

Marketing Automation

We designed automated email drips with smart workflows that help DAFZA keep in touch with their audience—but in a personalized and targeted way, triggering only during specific events, or time periods, and divided by segment.

→ Establish long-term lead generation

→ Gain and nurture subscribes

→ Foster customer loyalty and trust

The Outcome: DAFZA Differentiates Against Competitors

In the year-long campaign to broaden DAFZA’s horizons, lead nurturing came down to a process of smart content strategy, developing relationships, and educating audiences, through every stage of the funnel—and ultimately, to residency.

Since the project concluded with Clipatize, DAFZA has continued to achieve a year-on-year rise in registered companies. DAFZA has also increased their growth budget as a result of progressive successes. In a recent post, Dr Mohammed Al Zarooni, director general of DAFZA, said DAFZA’s foreign trade growth in 2018 was a “clear indication that we are adopting the right strategies. He also highlighted the importance of strategic targeted marketing campaigns implemented during the past year, which has proven DAFZA’s ability to attract businesses, retain them and act as a catalyst for their growth.” 

Clipatize was successful in developing a strategy to reach the best leads online, slowly nurture these prospective customers, and help them make thoughtful buying decisions.

To top things off, below are a few of the results we’re happiest with!

  • Standing out amongst heavy competition

DAFZA has extensive competition in Dubai, including economic free zones like JAFZA, DMCC, TECOM Group, Dubai Healthcare City and Dubai Silicon Oasis. Each one provides similar advantages, including infrastructure to the large global companies, values of price, industry specialization and location. The small differences in messaging, content creation, and thought leadership set them apart from the competition.

  • Pipeline Acceleration

A long sales cycle is time-consuming and often involves a lot of company resources. That’s why the Clipatize teams were honed in on optimizing and improving marketing activities during the project. DAFZA gained accelerated deal-making and shortened their traditional sales cycle, as customers had already consumed or followed relevant content before the first meeting. 

  • Massive B2B strategy and customer journey execution

One might think that a large scale enterprise would need a huge agency to deliver meaningful results, especially for a massive project spanning 12 months. But the DAFZA project shows that boutique agencies specialized in both strategic and production areas can deliver enterprise-grade outcomes, while remaining agile and quick to optimize for changing conditions.

  • Learning new, omnichannel, automated content strategies

We were able to deploy new technologies in email and remarketing that enabled DAFZA’s content to flow through an automated multichannel outreach process. Our teams learned a lot in fine-tuning these tools, which we have deployed in other customer projects.

 

“We’ve cooperated with DAFZA since 2016 to support their early stage content production. In 2018, the partnership grew to include leading their digital funnel strategies. With heightened B2B content strategy, and marketing automation for lead management, we’ve been able to better shape their customer journeys online. It’s exciting to be part of DAFZA’s rapid growth over the many years at the intersection of design, content creation, performance marketing, and data-driven lead generation.”

Jakub Lebuda CEO of Clipatize

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