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Why one size marketing does not fit all

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There’s no one size fits all approach to marketing in several countries – at least not yet. Of course there are in some cases cultural similarities between for example the nordic countries, however that’s where it ends, similarities are not the same as equally “the same”.

That’s why, when you work with global marketing management, you need a framework, and an approach that is flexible enough to adapt the brand, marketing and communication to each country you have or aim to have a presence in.

And here is a short list of some key points that you need to consider, when it comes to local adaptions and why they are necessary.

Local adaptions are necessary for differences in:
  • Behaviour and expectations (from digital) – for example in China people use social media to search and put a “query” out there in their network to get information back from friends. Whereas westerners use a search engine to type their query and trust just about anybody.
  • Cultural differences between the countries in terms of what is custom in one
    country, this is as we all know something that can be a great divide. Think Spanish people and Swede’s – a complete opposite against each other. But equally as lovely with their own customs and characteristics. Another aspect is in Sweden, as alcohol has limited availability through state owned stores, this can be a great incentive. But match that against Spain, where you can get alcohol anywhere – the power of alcohol as an incentive may not have the same persuasive power. My point is, an incentive in one country might just fall flat in another.
  • IT-capacity or structure – not all countries have the same capacity in terms of bandwidth both on mobile and through landlines.
  • Language differences – this is not just the actual languages are different but HOW you use the language. There are nuances and words embedded in each culture that no matter how good a translator, you can’t capture that. (But you can refine and fine tune). This also applies to the tone of voice of a brand – you need to adapt it so suit the culture it’s supposed to work in. A brand always has it’s core, but slight alterations may in some cases be necessary to make a cultural adjustments. Brands who does that, still are who they are, stand for what they are and tell their story – but adding a local twist to it – many of them are really successful as they become more relevant for the market. For example McDonald’s is doing this really well in Sweden, since McDonald’s have a nickname – “Donken”, and incorporate this to their advertisement as well as if you search on Donken in Google in Sweden, McDonalds appear, both in the listed search results and in the map.
  • Technology available and adaptation of it;
    How technology is used – for example in the US 20% or all the searches done in Google is voice searches.
    What technology is used – not all countries use Google and hence the biggest search engine may therefor be something entirely different if they use a search engine at all.
  • Laws and regulations – from how data is allowed to be used, to actual laws concerning marketing as well as your product, is something you need to consider as well as be aware of. Not only the impending GDPR.
  • Local competition. The market in a country may already be saturated by another company or product.
  • Local holidays and customs. Launching a new years campaign? How about  China? Should they be included? or perhaps wait with that campaign a few more months to really be in tune and relevant with the country and their customs.

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