28 June 2016

Tailoring your marketing to the audience

Selling to China’s 320m[1] online shoppers isn’t a simple matter of translating your website into Chinese. Econsultancy explains why brands must do more.

While there is a case that brands need mobile-friendly websites to cater for the billions of smartphone users worldwide, this is a small piece of a much larger puzzle.

Jim Clark is Senior Analyst at digital marketing researchers Econsultancy, and he stresses that brands must attempt to understand how different cultures interact and consume using portable tech if they are to adapt to their needs.

For example, in China consumers are influenced by the opinions of friends and family, rather than fellow web users, while in the UK and Europe, customers are far more suspicious of paid search results or promoted ads.

Considering this, it is clear a one-size-fits-all approach to online marketing isn't enough.

Clark offers five considerations for brands looking to stand out in the crowded and competitive online marketplace, and how to turn heads in various regions across the globe.

  1. When deciding which channels to deliver your e-marketing, Clark suggests looking at potential e-commerce gains at both hardware and content level within target nations.
    For example, 96 per cent of South Korean internet users watch videos online, compared to 71 per cent in Germany[2], so the former may be a better place to deploy a video marketing campaign.
  2. Is there an audience for your message? Clark notes that localisation and personalisation are two key considerations for any online marketing push, and that some of the best campaigns are derived from global templates and tailored for different regions.
  3. Clark stresses that brands must be mindful of potential error, and underlines that poorly translated messaging may cause offense in different countries. He also suggests that companies should take time to understand the disparate marketing regulations in each region to ensure compliance.
  4. Brands must also be mindful of how they are represented in search engine result pages (SERP). Clark states that while the UK and US are used to optimising their content to meet Google requirements, other nations may prefer different search platforms. This may require firms to optimise their content specifically for various engines.
  5. Lastly, Clark suggests that brands can learn much about the behaviour of their online audience from their search engine analytics tools. However, he stresses that companies must go as far as they possibly can to understand the culture and needs of any new market.

First you want to know whether there’s an audience for your message, and then you need to think about localisation and personalisation

Jim Clark, Senior Analyst, Econsultancy

Key takeaways

  1. While smartphone use is growing worldwide Clark stresses that various cultures use their devices differently. Despite mobile advertising volume in India climbing 260 per cent since July 2013 [3], brands cannot assume success and must tailor their approach to the nation's online habits.
  2. Clark reminds brands that user experiences will vary between mobile and tablet devices, before cultural receptiveness is factored into the equation. Thorough research is essential to understanding and creating a strategy based on fact, rather than assumptions.
  3. Variances between tech - from search engines to device platforms - reduce the effectiveness of a one-size fits all approach. However, Clark says that global marketing templates can prove cost-effective and may be adapted for different counties to measure key performance metrics.

For further information about trading internationally, visit the HSBC Connections Lounge at the International Festival of Business in Liverpool where an HSBC Trade Specialist will be on hand to answer your questions or call +44 (0)800 78 31 300. Lines are open from 9am -5pm, Monday to Friday and calls are recorded for security and training purposes.

[1] The Customer Edge
[2] Statista: The Statistics Portal
[3] Forbes

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