Hi there folks and followers!
All too often, copywriters tend to forget we live in a global world. Even if they see dozens of countries in the order printouts, from their English language, one-size-fits-all promos.
Hundredandthirty-howmany-countries total, not just USA, UK and Australia (although granted, these countries’ consumption is perhaps the highest).
Entire huge cultures SO different, the response-generating triggers and details must be vastly different.
OR ARE THEY?
In my experience, the answer needs to be: Yes AND No.
Obviously, since people from all over the world buy products and services from the English speaking world, especially on the Internet, the basic psychological principles of persuasion do work even there.
Oh you know them: reciprocation, authority, scarcity, social validation and so on it goes.
We’ve all read our Cialdini after all, right?
These kinds of principles hold their effect anywhere in the world. Well, almost. By and large.
Provided that the reader has more or less the same cultural leanings as the usual anglophile consumer.
However, when you start looking into making a bigger effect locally, it gets more complex.
- The amount of cynicism towards ANY advertising is sky-high in some regions; for instance Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia are such regions. In such markets its best to stick to content marketing and build your credibility as a marketer from a fact-based standpoint.
- Overt authority sells extremely well in some former Iron Curtain countries in Eastern Europe; you’ll do well keeping that in mind, without becoming too slick at the same time. They’re used to being told what to do, but at the same time very wary of it. It’s a delicate balance. Opportunity abounds, though!
- In some countries, physical beauty and well-being is valued above almost all else (e.g. Sweden, France) so you’ll do well hinging your promotions on some aspect of that.
- You might think of Holland and Switzerland as havens of free-wheeling good times, lax morals and abundance, but the opposite is actually true. Scratch the surface and a long-standing undercurrent of conservative culture may surprise you. So make sure your ads project the integrity they expect!
- In India there are vast masses of eager customers, millions and millions of them for almost any market, but by and large you’d best stick to inexpensive products and scale up. You can try the high-end offerings later when you’ve established a large customer base first and can manage promotion cost better.
- Countries like United Arab Emirates and Qatar may be full of very, very wealthy individuals, but if you try talking to them the same as you would to an American audience, you’re going to get nowhere. For once, do not swear. Do not be offensive. Be respectful, non-pushy and open by referring to something familiar to them. Only then proceed telling them something they may not yet know.
- Physical products vastly outsell digital products in most of Europe still, you’ll do well to accentuate the benefits of them, and play up the amount of material you’ll be sending out to them.
Okay, just a couple more now that I’m on a roll here…
- Scandinavians are suckers for anything mobile, after all Nokia and Ericsson both originated there. Provide a way to get your product through a mobile channel, allow mobile payment, or attach any other mobile aspect to it, and you’ll do better.
- Large parts of South America, for instance, do not use credit cards much to pay for goods. Which doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t have money. So you’ll probably actually not do well at all if you don’t cater to that fact in those regions and offer other forms of payment (especially, managed bank transfers).
These are just some of the regional differences and preferences that actually matter much more than you’ve probably thought so far.
(Boy, do I have some stories to tell but that’ll have to wait till another time… perhaps even a book…)
It’s easy to get lulled into the belief that people everywhere in the world respond in the same way as they do in the motherland of direct advertising, The United States.
They do to some extent when it comes to the fundamentals, but when you’re really out to hit a winner, you must know MUCH more intimately who you’re talking to. And how they’re going to be listening to you.
Even now, you probably could increase your sales by segmenting your audience even a little bit and customizing your messaging accordingly.
I promise you, it works like gangbusters!
Or what do you say about the German marketer who did a product launch selling bull sperm and cow ovum at about $4000 a pop! Let’s just say the sccarcity and urgency did NOT need to be engineered… (he sold hundreds of thousands’ worth, knowing exactly what buttons to push with the local target audience).
Lucky sperm theory, indeed! 😉