How To Translate Western Marketing for an Eastern Audience


Are you failing your business by using a one-size-fits-all marketing strategy all over the world? After all, some plans do exceedingly well in one region but flounder in another.

For example, Walmart is one of the largest companies in the world, but when they tried using their American-based business model in Germany, they lost millions of dollars and had to pull out

The same can be said if you fail to customize your B2B marketing strategy to mesh with people in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.

So, how can Western companies rework their campaigns for an Eastern audience? Here are a few critical things to keep in mind.

Prioritize value

Although COVID-19 first started in China, the region has bounced back much more effectively than most Western countries. In fact, more than 50% of business decision-makers (BDM) in Indonesia, China, and India believe their economies will rebound in the next two to three months – according to a study done by McKinsey.

This same research report found that these BDMs regarded value as the most critical factor when choosing to buy from a brand. Even if COVID-19 wrecked the world economy, APAC still prefers value over low prices.

What does this mean for you? If your brand’s primary selling point in the West centres around affordability, you need to pivot and focus on your products or services’ quality.

Localize even further

In a region with over 4.5 billion people, it should come as no surprise that there are vastly different cultures. Ultimately, this means you cannot rely on a tried and true strategy that already works in one area.

According to another study conducted by McKinsey, brands need to “think regionally, act locally” if they intend to market in the APAC region. Potential customers come from thousands of different ethnic and social backgrounds, and your marketing needs to adapt itself to every sect of people in APAC.

For example, while companies can get away with using English for campaigns in Europe, where most people speak the language, you cannot do the same in China. Any copy used in marketing collateral has to consider the language capabilities and culture of local regions.

With this in mind, customize your marketing to mesh with local cities instead of entire regions.

Make use of local channels

Whenever a brand thinks of social media marketing, many immediately picture giants such as Twitter and Instagram. Yet, many of these platforms are actually blocked or hardly used in certain countries. In fact, China banned Facebook in 2009 – stopping all of its inhabitants from using it.

So, this means you must learn the unique kind of applications and channels APAC uses, such as WeChat, Baidu, and more. As the largest social network in China, WeChat members use the app for practically everything – from watching videos to filing for divorce. And unlike many global networks, WeChat does not permit external links – meaning your business will have to think of an alternative way to get clients to work with you.

Ultimately, assuming APAC uses conventionally popular platforms is a mistake – and it will cost you greatly if you fail to research!

Focus on the now

While many marketers prepare their campaigns months in advance, your brand could benefit from taking things one step at a time. According to a survey conducted by Econsultancy, APAC enterprises place real-time marketing at the top of their priority list.

In essence, real-time marketing makes your business flexible to fads and trends. Rather than methodically executing an extensive plan, marketers react to what people are talking about. For example, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge became a viral sensation, with many brands pouring ice water over their heads for a great cause.

Given the importance of this form of marketing in APAC, your brand will benefit from leaving additional wiggle room to react to popular conversations and trending hashtags appropriately.

With all of this in mind, you can now start thinking about how you want to approach translating your Western marketing for an Eastern audience. If you take one lesson from this article, remember to segment to extract as much value as possible constantly, and your brand will thrive in the Asia-Pacific region!

If this was not enough of an explanation, you’re welcome to visit our content area and learn more >> APAC marketing blogs 

And if you want to talk to us about the opportunities awaiting you in China and other APAC countries >> Contact Us

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