Muslim Marketing: Three Stories We Can Learn From

Marketing to Muslims

Here at Muslim Ad Network, we have talked extensively about marketing to Muslim consumers. In this article, we wanted to highlight three different stories that could motivate you when you find that your efforts to market to Muslims do not work.

The first and the third have been adjusted to better suit our audience: you. The second one has been left in its original form.

Marketing to Muslim Consumers Knows no Shortcuts

Zakiyya owns an independent mid-size, Islamic -based insurance firm in Wichita, Kansas. Competition from mainstream insurance companies was fierce. Muslims knew much more about the well-established insurance firms as they had a longer marketing reach.

She began looking for better ways to target her modest advertising budget. Sitting in the mosque one day during the Eid festival, she looked around and thought there had to be a way to reach people just like her with information about her product. 

Feeling a bit guilty for daydreaming about his job during Eid prayers, she nonetheless made a mental note to call the mosque committee to see what it would cost to place a banner ad on the mosque’s website and prayer app. Perhaps if this worked she could approach other mosque committees in Kansas and then more states.

She was shocked and disappointed to learn that the committee had a policy forbidding advertising on its web site or on any of its resources and assets.

Later on, she had an idea: “Maybe I could teach a free one-day seminar on halal insurance.” She called the chairman of the committee, who loved the idea. Four weeks later Zakiyya was in a conference hall explaining halal insurance to 200 Muslim consumers.

Even though Zakiyya and her family were active in the Muslim community, she didn’t fully understand the challenges she would face marketing to fellow Muslims. 

Related: 7 Hard Truths You Will Face When Targeting Muslim Audiences

Marketing your halal product or service to Muslims needs proper planning so that they do not feel like your sole motivation is to capitalize on the fast-growing Muslim consumer market. 

With the global halal economy expected to reach $3 trillion in 2023, the opportunities are plenty. However, just like in the example above, you might need to be creative when it comes to the angle you use for your messaging.

In the example above, Zakiyya needed to come from an entirely different angle. She had to switch her approach from banner advertising to giving her Muslim target audience a free seminar on Halal insurance.

Don’t Do What Coca-Cola Did- Ask Muslims What They Want

Any attempt to force Muslim consumers to buy your product, or exploit them in any way will definitely backfire. Take a generic example of a mainstream brand like Coca-Cola. 

Coca-Cola tried to force “New Coke” on their consumers in 1985. They secretly worked on a new formula to replace the most popular cola beverage in the world. On the 23rd of April, they launched ‘New Coke’ with a massive television and print ad campaign. The campaign was flatly rejected by consumers. 

Sales of the new beverage did not do well and die-hard Coca-Cola fans began paying up to $30 a case for the old coke and hoarding as much as they could. They wanted to get their hands on as much old coke as possible, fearing it would never again be available. Less than three months later, on July 11, Coca-Cola pulled the plug on its new product, replacing it on store shelves with the old.

The Coca-Cola marketers failed to ask the critical question of its consumers: “Do you want a new coke?”

As mentioned in some of the previous articles, successful marketing always begins with understanding the Muslim consumer, their pains, and their buyer-journey.

This information which you will base on first-hand knowledge of your Muslim customer, 3rd-party research, and surveys/direct interviews/focus groups should be integrated into your online marketing mix for Muslim consumers.

Do the Legwork and Know What Triggers Muslim Consumers

The vegan restaurant in Birmingham, Green Yummy, had a hunch they could entice Muslims to become regular customers. They had done their research and had seen promising demographics.

There were 301,000 Muslims in Birmingham in 2018, making up 27% of the local population. The number of Muslims had risen by 21% from 249,000 in 2011.

Source:Birminghammail.co.uk

They advertised to Muslims, stressing that they would not have to worry about the food being halal as it was purely vegan. All of this fell on deaf ears. Mind you, many Muslims love their meat.

After several different failed attempts, they hired a marketing manager and for the next three months never saw him at the office. He was too busy knocking on the doors of Muslim consumers, asking them about what would motivate them to eat at a vegan restaurant if at all.

Talking to the more knowledgeable Muslims, he found out that Muhammad (peace be upon him), maintained a diet that was mostly plant-based. He only ate meat occasionally. This was the aha moment that he was looking forward to when he embarked on his door-to-door research journey.

Since even the most casual Muslim understands and loves to associate themselves with the sunnah (prophetic ways), he went back and hired a Muslim advertising company to help him use this angle to motivate Muslims to eat at Green Yummy.

Conclusion

We may conclude from the stories above that when marketing to Muslims, make sure you are not taking shortcuts that may not work. Don’t forget to ask your Muslim target audience if what you want to offer is something they want to buy. And definitely, do not be lazy when it comes to talking and understanding what motivates your Muslim audience to take action.

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