The following is a guest contributed post from Lance Johnson, Vice President of Business Development, North America, for Vserv.mobi.
Advertising is all about the right time, right place, right person and right content to be successful. But if you are looking to break into emerging markets, it can be easy for a lot of things to go wrong. Emerging markets are proving to be vital to global marketing strategies and here are a few things to take into consideration to ensure your emerging market advertising campaign will be successful.
Right Culture – Cultural differences can be significant and play a critical role in decision making and buyer behavior. Think about the language and if your product name has different meanings in that market. Another consideration is marketing products during religious holidays that may be misconstrued as offensive such as advertising alcohol during the holy month of Ramadan in primarily Islamic countries.
Right Regulations – Knowing the local laws and regulations can go a long way to ensure you are not stepping into a bureaucratic quagmire. Working with local partners can help you navigate any potential legal and regulatory issues that can impact your reach. Expect industries such as alcohol and pharmaceuticals to be heavily regulated, but there may be nuances to local markets you might not consider. Additionally, don’t lean on regulations to guide you. While you may not be breaking laws, questionable marketing to vulnerable audiences can leave you cleaning up a public relations mess.
Right Technology – Smartphones are becoming more affordable and technology penetration in emerging markets may surprise you. Be aware of what devices and OS dominate each market and tailor your strategy accordingly. While the iPhone may be coveted in emerging markets and feature phones still have market share, Android dominates with multiple devices from multiple vendors across all price points.
Right Carrier – Keeping data-hungry, media-rich ads away from some markets may be a smart move. These might perform well in the lab, but in the field it might come afoul of technical issues beyond the device. Knowing the carriers in the market you are targeting can save your campaign before you even start. Get familiar with the average data speeds and reliability in the market. Are there roaming fees to consider, or are the majority of plans prepaid?
Right Currency – Going beyond the Euro, Renminbi or the Rupee, you need to be aware of what other ‘currencies’ your country values. Think about what incentives will move the needle in your target market. For example, did you know digital coupon redemption rates are much higher in emerging markets like China, India and Brazil than in the US and Western Europe? Consumers may also look to their mobile device (often these people do not have internet-connected PCs at home) for assistance to help them find a retail location, check prices online or even get help while in a store.