In Emerging Markets, One-Size-Fits-All Mobile Marketing Always Fails

One-Size-Fits-All Mobile Marketing Always FailsSmartphones across the global landscape have reached a critical saturation point, meaning that there are now more opportunities in emerging markets to not only engage but convert new customers using mobile advertising. These emerging markets include the Middle East, Latin America, Asia Pacific and Africa, where year-over-year growth has increased by more than 60% for mobile ad revenues.

Is it any wonder then that, with the developing world projected to account for the majority of new mobile connections by 2017, investment in mobile advertising in emerging markets is increasing geometrically? The fact is, a middle class is emerging in nearly all of the developing markets, creating something all marketers want: disposable income that can increase their revenue streams. Since mobile phones are more commonly used in developing regions than PCs, laptops or even tablets, it’s not surprising that one of the most effective ways to engage these emerging markets is mobile marketing.

With this in mind however, it would be a mistake to assume that the same mobile tactics that are now working in the West can or even should be duplicated in these emerging markets. While it’s tempting for marketers to take a successful campaign and try to expand it, some of the most important component of quality mobile marketing, like words and timing, things that drive engagement, can vary greatly in meaning from one country to another and are not always predictable. The fact is, recent data that analyzed billions of consumer interactions in more than 40 countries found that a one-size-fits-all approach simply will not work when it comes to mobile marketing and mobile advertising.

In order for any advertising campaign, mobile or not, to be successful, knowledge of local trends and nuances is vital. Things like local preferences and even the best time of day to advertise play a big part in whether an advertising campaign will be successful. While it’s true that the basic rules of marketing should always be followed, emerging markets tell us that some of these rules will need to be broken.

A brief example of this is with the words that are used to start mobile marketing messages, and which ones are popular in which countries. “Dear loyal customer” was extremely popular in Nigeria but in Brazil the words “lucky” and “selected” worked much better. In Cameroon, the word “exclusivity” was very successful.

What it boils down to is simply that when building a mobile marketing strategy in an emerging market a marketer must always remember that the usual “cookie-cutter” approach will often fail. While campaigns may be similar, it takes time, effort and in-depth analysis to come up with a marketing strategy that will effectively engage consumers in a new market. The differences might be subtle, but the results, or lack of them, can be colossal.