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Annette Fernandes attended the Business Marketing Association’s road show event Go & Grow in London last year, watching the launch of BMA London as she interacted with peers and shared best practices. She wanted to bring that kind of networking opportunity home with her to Dubai, where she serves as client services director of Fifth Ring Marketing. The global agency specializes in b-to-b communications.
In March, she and a team of b-to-b peers launched BMA Middle East, the association’s third international chapter. Fernandes serves as de facto president during the launch phase.
The group will host its first event on May 1. Organizers have invited potential members from top corporations to network and hear a pre-recorded presentation by Eduardo Conrado, national board chairman and senior VP-marketing and IT at Motorola Solutions.
Business marketing professionals in the region have not previously had an organized forum in which to interact, Fernandes wrote in an email. “B-to-b communications in the Middle East still trails behind the rest of the world. I personally want to contribute to advancing b-to-b marketing in this region. With BMA providing the platform, I'm positive we can make a big impact.”
When Fernandes went to the London Go & Grow event, she already had initiated a conversation about a Middle East chapter launch with Tom Stein. The president of SteinIAS Americas is the national BMA board member who spearheaded the global road show series. The series traveled to Beijing and London. It inspired marketers in several regions to initiate conversations about forming local chapters, Stein said.
“There is a growing global b-to-b community that BMA should connect,” Stein said. “The association really is becoming the big tent that the b-to-b community can get under.”
The Middle East chapter launch event will be held at the Media One Hotel in Dubai and will target an exclusive crowd of corporate marketers. Chapter organizers expect membership to grow as they roll out their events program. A Go & Grow event scheduled to take place in the city in October should help boost membership as well.
Fernandes expects interest in the association to spread across the region. “The association will no doubt grow initially through a core membership based in Dubai,” she wrote. “It is our desire to attract other emirates and [marketers residing in countries from] across the Gulf Cooperation Council and Middle East and perhaps even North Africa. I suspect, in time, Middle East will separate into a number of different chapters.”
The Middle East chapter will focus on educational programming that raises awareness of b-to-b marketing, Fernandes wrote. “It will provide a unique environment for b-to-b professionals to mix, share, discuss and debate issues that we all face, some of which will be specific to doing business in the Middle East. It will allow agencies, corporates and suppliers to communicate without the pressure of wanting to win and pitch for business.”
The chapter will launch its website in late May.
Marketers interested in becoming members can join the organization here.
An introductory membership rate of AED 450, or $123, is available through June 20. Contact Rana Said, VP-memberships at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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