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Sep

6

2017

How to Win at Digital Marketing in Emerging Markets

Both small and large companies are starting to focus their resources on emerging markets, and for good reason.

According to a Thomson Reuters study, 70% of the global GDP growth will be coming from emerging markets by 2025. Indeed, developing countries present opportunities to drive growth, and companies are quickly realizing that they need to learn how to serve these markets best to become a leader in their particular industry.

The Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) Emerging Market Index lists 23 countries. These developing countries or emerging nations are Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Russia, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and United Arab Emirates.

Companies can penetrate new markets and emerging nations, and succeed using digital marketing strategies such as content marketing, email marketing, behavior targeting, social media marketing, and more.

If you want to win at digital marketing in emerging markets, here’s what you need to consider.

1. Study the Online Behavior of the Market

First, you need to determine which emerging market you would like to penetrate, and study the online behavior of that particular nation.

In the Philippines, for instance, content marketing has seen a dramatic shift in the last five years. As such, multinational brands such as Nestle and McDonald’s are increasing and improving their digital marketing campaigns to reach a wider consumer base.

When you’re targeting an emerging market, it’s important to analyze whether your digital marketing efforts will pay off. Factors such as internet penetration rate, connectivity, average internet speed, and mobile device ownership are crucial to your success.

Culture, language, and tradition also play a large part. Make sure that you understand your geotarget to localize your plans. For instance, China blocks user access to popular platforms such as social media sites, search engines, video sharing sites, and other media websites. That means that digital marketing in China may be a different ballgame altogether.

2. Learn Fast or Hire an Expert

Understanding different people, with a different set of culture and values, may not be as easy as you think. One of the top deterrents to effective communication and successful marketing is language.

No matter how you study a new language, you will not be able to use it as fluently as the locals. But, study up and learn fast about your target’s dialect and language, as this will help you craft a marketing message which people of an emerging market can best relate to.

If you or your team is not confident about effectively communicating your marketing message to your target audience in a new, emerging market, then it’s best to hire an expert or consider outsourcing services.

These agencies or local companies are familiar with the local culture and practices, and are very fluent with the local language. Partnering up with a third-party agency will help you understand your target audience better and know what communication style works best.

3. Experiment a Lot

Since you’re charting unfamiliar waters, you can’t expect your marketing campaign to be highly successful in the beginning. Allot time and resources for conducting studies and research. Experiment. See what works.

Data analytics tools are available to help you determine which areas of your campaign is working. Analyze your results, and make necessary changes and revisions according to the data.

As mentioned, language barriers can prevent you from sending the right message to the right people. While it’s recommended to utilize a singular brand tone and message across your global campaigns, your brand message may get lost in translation. The tone and voice that may work in a developed country may not work in an emerging market.

So, be bold and experiment with various creative solutions and marketing strategies. Consider it part of your research that will help you eventually create the marketing campaign that emerging markets appreciate.

4. Be Ready to Spend

Digital marketing includes nine disciplines under its umbrella. While it may be more cost-efficient than above-the-line advertising and marketing, it doesn’t mean that it’s cheap or free.

Consider that you may need to outsource a local service provider or partner up with a marketing agency, for starters. Are you going to open a local headquarters or an office in your targeted country or will you just be sending representatives from time to time?

Keep in mind that your new business venture will secure the future of your company. You’re investing in the growth and expansion of your organization, so capital will be needed.

Consider the advantages that each country’s economy has to offer such as the population, labor force, literacy rate, government support and so forth.

5. Monitor Your Results

Determine the key metrics needed to measure your results. Compute how much you’re spending and earning with regard to the digital marketing strategies you’re implementing to reach your new target audience.

Metrics such as cost per acquisition (CPA), conversion rates, engagement rates, and the like will help you determine whether you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

Before you start outsourcing services, make sure to study your target market first. Emerging nations operate and function differently from developed countries. Don’t dive head-first into a new endeavor without learning the intricacies involved.

Winning at digital marketing in emerging markets is no easy feat. Aside from the obvious culture and language barriers, there are many other factors you need to consider. But, companies that take the time to learn and understand everything they need are those that succeed in penetrating emerging markets.