Data detail underpins international marketing strategy

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data.path Ryoji.Ikeda – 4” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by  r2hox 

Marketing across international boundaries has always been tricky. Not only do different jurisdictions have their own rules and regulations, but when it comes to the all-important question of what actually sells, different markets can have very different reactions to the same message. TV advertisers have long known that the ‘in your face’ style of US marketing has been something of a turn off in the more gentle commercial marketplace of the UK. It seems that British viewers are more sensitive, more delicate and altogether trickier subjects to capture than their American cousins – and of course there are far fewer of them.

Whilst international TV advertising may not be something that most businesses are in a position to deploy, the same is not true of online marketing. Digital marketing is cheaper and more agile than conventional media. But that does not mean that it should be simply entered into blindly. Greenlight Digital’s digital marketing guru, Florent Guedon, insists that a properly thought out international digital strategy can be crucial to making a competitive difference. Digital entrepreneur Roger Bryan goes further, insisting that at least a rudimentary digital marketing strategy is vital.

A more fine-grained appreciation

Guedon points out that simply repeating your native offering in different territories may not be enough to ensure success. In fact, he suggests it is a good way to burn your budget for no tangible return. The key, he insists, is to be sensitive to the demographic and the local context that you are trying to target. And as he also points out, those are areas that Google can be a big help with.

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e-commerce” (CC BY 2.0) by  ganderssen1 

The Google Consumer Barometer offers clear break downs of how different communities engage online. At the most basic level that will tell you where you’re going to reach the greatest number of readers/watchers. Inevitably, the degree of fine-grained data sifting that the Consumer Barometer allows means you can better see where, when and how your target demographic actually do their shopping.

Mining the data

By taking the time to mine the data and to understand precisely how your potential market behaves you will put yourself in a position to sell to them directly and effectively. In contrast, misdirect messages are simply a waste of resource.

A short and sweet illustration of how the Consumer Barometer can be put to use can be illustrated with a simple comparison of UK and Indian data (there is a comprehensive country-by-country breakdown) which amongst other things shows what sort of devices people are using. Even such a basic level of insight can usefully inform your strategy.

In the UK, the survey shows 75% of users accessing the web on a ‘traditional’ computer (in addition to a 71% smartphone use and 92% mobile phone use). In contrast, only 16% of Indian users employ a PC (in addition to 33% smartphone and 84% mobile). From this one insight alone any campaign aimed at addressing both Indian and UK audiences simply has to be weighted more to smartphone and mobile users than PC users. The Google barometer is also a rich store of trend data as well as more qualitative insights in the form of what they call ‘audience stories’.

Bryan’s demand for some form of strategy is only half the story. As Guedon insists, and as the Google Consumer Barometer makes plain, the real value of digital marketing is in the detail of the data.