If you’re in business in the digital age – especially if you sell online – you are, by definition, involved in the global economy. The world gets smaller the more closely we become connected, and even if your business exists in a market niche, you should expect to deal with all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds. Here is a guide to marketing in a multicultural world.
Develop Brands that Target Individual Markets
As discussed in the article “Marketing Cosmetics to Asian Consumers,” the middle class is growing exponentially in many emerging markets. One thing consumers in the developing world are rushing to buy with their newfound disposable income is makeup. Cosmetics giant Estee Lauder recognized the amazing potential for growth and not only reached out to the burgeoning customer base in Asia, but developed a unique dedicated brand, Osaio, just for the emerging Asian consumer base.
Tailor Your Strategy to the Buying Habits of your New Customers
The European market, where Estee Lauder’s brand is so well established, is – like the rest of the Western world – steadily becoming more and more reliant on mobile. Not only do Europeans research and purchase online, but they do it on their phones and tablets. But customers in Vietnam, whose residents are clamoring for more cosmetics, still like to go to the store. So Estee Lauder broke the mobile-marketing trend in their new venture in Southeast Asia and instead launched more traditional brick-and-mortar stores.
Hire Local Consultants and Translators
The proliferation of cheap (or free) translation software has led some companies to cut corners when entering new markets populated with different cultures or ethnicities. It is not enough to simply translate your U.S.-based content for use in new markets. Translating text misses the granular nuances and subtleties associate with speech and culture – even if English is the first language of your new market.
With basic translation, your language could result in the point being muddled or lost on the reader. Americans would never refer to a pencil eraser as a “rubber,” for example, they way they do in Britain. Even worse, you could accidentally offend or alienate readers. For example, common slang for a cigarette in England is a disparaging term for homosexuals in the United States. You would never put a pig on the cover of a magazine in the United Arab Emirates.
But you wouldn’t know that unless you lived there. So the solution is local talent. No matter where your new market is located, it is crucial to hire a team of people who live there – or who have lived there – to translate copy and to guide you on the subtleties of social norms, slang and local dialect.
Hire local talent – even if its on a freelance basis – when you enter a new market. Their cultural insight can not be replaced by translation software. Understand the needs of your new customers instead of trying to apply a cookie-cutter model that worked in your old market. Most of all, embrace change and pursue new markets – the world is changing, and your business model must change, too.