In 2012, ACCUCOMS produced a white paper that outlined the opportunities and challenges for publishers in the MENA region. Results included the importance of job creation and economic diversification for a young and dynamic population. The largest growth market for publishers in the Middle East is education (academic as well as secondary and English Language Teaching).
ACCUCOMS currently represents eleven publishers in the MENA region. In addition to sales and conference representation, ACCUCOMS offers publishers solutions for customer service and marketing. To manage growing demand in the MENA region, in April 2013, ACCUCOMShired Eyad Mohammad as Regional Sales Manager. Eyad has previously worked for Orange and Aramex, and he is based in Amman, Jordan.
“ACCUCOMS has developed its publisher services in the Middle East and North Africa gradually, based on increasing demand,” said Simon Boisseau, Director Institutional Sales at ACCUCOMS. “We have established a solid network of libraries, consortia and research institutes. In Eyad we have found the perfect person to continue developing publishers’ business in the MENA region, and we are confident that we will continue to produce excellent results for publishers in this region.”
During the past three months ACCUCOMS has increased the activity in MENA, consolidating its presence in the area with three important publishers: Radiological Society of North America, The Geological Society of London, and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. In view of these successes, Eyad Mohammed was asked how ACCUCOMS can help publishers to benefit from the ongoing and expected business growth in MENA.
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What are the opportunities for publishers interested in expanding their business in the MENA region?
EM: The Middle East and North Africa region is a large market including 24 countries and a population of 350 million. While some countries base their wealth on abundant oil and gas resources, others count a large population with more than 60% youth under 30 years of age. Chances for publishers lie in the increased regional focus on economic diversification and job creation in the private sector, which ultimately depend on high level education and skills.
What is the added value of ACCUCOMS’ representation services in the area, and are the main obstacles encountered so far?
EM: Being close to customers, visiting them on regular bases, talking their language, and understanding their cultures is of great value to companies aiming at consolidating and expanding their business. This is the case of ACCUCOMS in MENA, a diverse and complex region. As far as obstacles are concerned, these are mostly represented by a legacy of agents protective of their relationship with end users and preventing direct communication between publishers and libraries.
What is your approach to new sales, and how do you make sure publishers are pro-actively represented considered the geographical extension and the socio-political diversity of the MENA region?
EM: After doing our homework and understanding region specific mechanisms, we started immediately attending major regional conferences such as SLA-AGC (Abu Dhabi 23-25 April) and meeting decision makers, university delegates, and librarians. In addition to that, we have planned a series of ongoing business trips across the region to create direct contact with existing and prospect end users, or by means of agents where necessary. With a clear management vision we are currently planning on opening a ACCUCOMS MENA Office with sales representatives assigned to different sub-regions, and a dedicated customer service team for marketing, telemarketing, and other after-sales activities.
How do you manage relations between publishers and libraries/consortia?
EM: Understanding publishers’ culture and products as much as libraries’ needs is the key to success in our field of business. ACCUCOMS’s goal is that to bridge the gap between both parties and our increasing business in the MENA region says it all on the quality of our efforts and dedication. Offering tailor made solutions around libraries’ and consortia’s particular needs, increasing product awareness and studies prices are ACCUCOMS’ way to make sure publishers are able to secure customer retention, increase usage of their products, and expand their business.