“Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
Well, Dorothy got that right – we sure as hell aren’t in Kansas anymore. The world we’re living in right now is not even remotely close to what it was like decades ago. And we’re not just referring to the insane changes brought on by The Virus That Must Not Be Named. Yeah, we’re looking at you, COVID-19.
Maybe we don’t have to worry about Skynet taking over yet, but hey, technology definitely disrupted many industries. This includes marketing—think digital marketing, social media, and iOS/Android applications, to name a few. But guess what? North America doesn’t get all the credit for every technological and scientific innovation we’ve seen in recent years.
Some of the best and brightest ideas, inventions, and concepts have come from countries all over the world. Did you know that paper currency was first introduced in China during the Tang Dynasty? Or that the microscope was invented in the Netherlands? Edward Jenner, the founder of vaccinology comes from the Great Britain (interesting fact, considering the times we live in right now!). When it comes to economic advancements, countries rely on each other to help progress their individual nations. Marketing is no different.
In the technological era we live in today, you might think consumer marketing trends and brand acceleration tactics around the world would be the same. In reality, they differ quite a bit from country to country.
Thanks to globalization, no matter which part of the world you’re in, you can learn something from your neighbours. This is why we’ve put together a list of purchase and marketing trends from different countries to get you up to speed. This is particularly important if you’re looking to get your business or products into new markets. Understanding the trends in different countries will help you develop an effective market penetration strategy for your product or brand.
- China. Can you even imagine a place where Twitter or Facebook is not allowed? Shocking but true, it exists! Chinese consumers still manage to “survive” though, mostly because they have their own local social media platforms: Sina Weibo and WeChat. In 2015, there has been 697 million consumers of WeChat and greater than 500 million using Weibo. Conventional print ads have drastically gone down in China. Social media marketing, including influencer campaigns, are widely used by businesses. This also includes PR campaigns through accounts of popular influencers or celebrities to broadcast the brand’s message.
- India. Smartphones are the tools that drive consumer marketing in India. It is the world’s second-largest smartphone market and has grown to a whopping 650 million users by 2019. There’s more emphasis on social and mobile marketing tactics like text messages, social marketing through sites such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and paid digital advertisements, including Google Ads. The digital era has given Indian consumers the ability to discuss issues, likes, dislikes, and make recommendations freely and quickly.
- Japan. Japan might have originally been considered a conservative country, but that is quickly changing. The increase in online shopping and social media usage has resulted in an annual growth of over 110 billion USD a year. Having said that though, Japanese consumers still enjoy browsing through products at retail outlets in-store to verify quality and tastes. After that, they order the products online. Interestingly, in Japan, consumers also decide which restaurant or food chain they’ll dine at based on the popularity of the brand on social media. In a few short years, more than 25 percent of the Japanese population will be over 65, which makes on-line shopping desirable to senior consumers.
- Mexico. Public relations is HUGE in most countries, and Mexico is not an exception. PR helps build brand awareness, increase credibility, drive products, services, events, and actions not just for corporations and organizations, but also for influential thought leaders in society, politics, or finance.
- New Zealand. Although New Zealand still sees its fair share of print ads in newspapers and magazines, social media marketing is taking over with the rise of LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. With 60% of the New Zealand population on Facebook, consumers with Facebook accounts retargeting ads that encourage purchases. Advertisers also often place their ads on Google, allowing them to target specific audiences with the use of categories, keywords, and content.
- Peru. Believe it or not, Peruvians were early adopters and have welcomed social media and mobile apps at a rapid pace. Facebook leading 50% of its population usage. Retail businesses, specifically franchises, are actually very similar to the American model as they closely follow US practices.
- Turkey. The Turkish economy has grown exponentially over the past ten years, increasing competition for businesses. As the market becomes more competitive, companies try to differentiate their products and services in terms of consumer marketing. As for the younger population, they’re turning towards social media, making Turkey a country with the 7th highest number of Facebook users.
- United Kingdom. Traditional ads are still very prominent in the United Kingdom. The country’s newsstands are still filled with endless magazines catering to different interests and audiences. However, the country is seeing growth in the usage of mobile devices and social media, with more businesses investing in influencer marketing.
- Vietnam. More than half of the 91 million people in Vietnam are on the Internet, with more than 136 million on mobile connections. There are more than 30 million social media users and with the country’s younger population turning to Facebook for its news, businesses have focused its consumer marketing efforts on mobile devices and social media platforms as these consumers continue to depend on them for information, news, e-commerce, and entertainment.
- United Arab Emirates. Despite being one of the most digitally connected nations in the world, the United Arab Emirates only accounts for 2% of the retail sector. With shopping malls dominating the game by providing rememberable social experiences and good source of entertainment, 84% of consumers make their purchases in store, while 9% of shoppers prefer online to offline. Advertising is not nearly as important to consumers as compared to shopping experiences, word of mouth and product research.
Too much information to sort through? Well, there are some marketing tactics that are popular across the board:
- Shopping Ads. Social media is huge right now and it’s not going anywhere in the future. Platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram have made it very easy (and beneficial) for businesses to sell its products online through shopping ads, making it simple for consumers to purchase products. 72% of users have purchased a product through Instagram. Also, a survey of more than 4,000 users found that 70% use Pinterest to discover new and interesting products.
- Virtual and Augmented Reality. This is huge right now, especially with consumer-oriented products. From clothes, make-up brands and eyewear to furniture, consumers can virtually try the products. If you’re lazy and hate being around other humans this is ideal! But even if not, it’s great to get a sense of how things would look from the comfort of your home before making the purchase – completing elevating the online shopping experience.
- Email Marketing. Personalization is key right now. Consumers like it when a brand understands their individual tastes, preferences, and ACTUALLY knows them by name. In the era of online marketing, this might be impossible sometimes. But email marketing (which has been around for a long time) now allows you to segment customers based on interests, demographic, and personalize your emails accordingly.
- Content Marketing. Content can make or break a company and it has been this way for decades. From catchy copy in traditional print ads to high quality content in online ads and blogs, this still makes a difference in establishing relatability and trust between the brand and its potential customers. If your content is shit, it just won’t cut it in this dog-eat-dog world!
- Google Ads. Google Ads has been around for a while now, helping businesses be easily searchable/found by its target customers online. Google’s algorithms are now set to automate the bidding process making it easy to optimize bids for multiple campaigns over conversion actions.
In conclusion, consumer and mobile marketing are rapidly growing in developing countries as well as developed countries, but marketing tactics such as PR and traditional print ads are still prevalent in many countries. Depending on the market you’re targeting, be sure to put in the work to understand your audience, where they get their news from, and marketing tactics that work in that area.