We live in a globalized world. It has taken us many decades to get to this point, but most of the world’s markets are now open to businesses looking to expand. There have never been so many opportunities for businesses to broaden their userbase and reach out to demographics that would once have been well out of reach. However, while these new and exotic markets are now within reach, that doesn’t mean that any business can enter into them without a fight.
In order to expand into any new market, whether it’s 5 miles or 5000 miles away, you need to do your homework and prepare yourself properly. Entering into a new market without taking the time to ensure that you are properly prepared for it is a recipe for disaster. Many businesses have ultimately sunk because they tried to expand into a new market or region before they were ready to do so.
Since the turn of the century, the rapid proliferation of communications technology throughout the globe has bought numerous economies out of the shadows and into the global stage. Markets like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh feature large populations, often focused around a small number of urban centers.
But while these audiences might be the perfect demographic for your business to target on paper, that won’t count for much if you aren’t able to communicate with them effectively. If you want your marketing to resonate with people who live in an entirely different culture, you are going to need to demonstrate some level of awareness of who they are and why they should use your business over a local one.
Know Your Customers
It doesn’t matter who you want to market to, or where they are located, the more detail that you are able to define them with, the easier you will find it to market to them. When you are a Western business looking to expand your operations into unfamiliar Eastern markets, you need to go beyond the basic statistics that you rely on when marketing within your native market. When you are marketing your brand back home, you have an innate understanding of your audience’s culture – at least in the broadest terms.
When you begin selling to people who come from an entirely different background to you, you won’t be able to rely on the same datapoints and techniques that have seen you through previous campaigns. It is always worth considering whether it is necessary hiring someone with experience in the specific markets that you are reaching out to or to research them on your own. In fact, an experienced guide is virtually a requirement the first time you branch out somewhere new.
Go Beyond the Obvious
Any entrepreneur with any experience in overseeing marketing campaigns knows how much difference it can make to have a comprehensive picture of exactly who you are marketing to. When you’re marketing domestically, you only need to look at a few vital statistics for the most part. These few key statistics, such as age and gender, are powerful predictors of how individuals are likely to respond to your marketing.
However, if you are going to effectively market yourself to a completely unfamiliar audience, then it is important that you go beyond these obvious data points and look to build the most informed picture of your target demographic. One thing you will soon discover is that gathering this data can be much more difficult in certain markets. Some nations and cultures take a generally more cautious approach to sharing their data, and in some cases, it is difficult to get accurate answers to some questions from certain demographics.
Go Beyond Location
A common mistake that businesses make when they are preparing to expand into a new territory is to rely on name recognition when choosing a suitable location. This leads to businesses favoring locations that they recognize the name of, irrespective of whether those locations are well-suited for their business or not.
For example, if you are looking to break into the Indian market then both New Delhi and Mumbai are big cities that most people have heard of. But which of these cities is better-suited for a business in the fintech sector? In order to properly assess whether a location is suitable for your business or not, you need to properly research it, not rely on western perceptions of how reliable a market it is.
A similar trap that lots of businesses are falling into is making use of aggregated location data to make their decisions. Because these decisions are based on the use of quantifiable data, businesses are lulled into a false sense of security and assume that these are informed and reliable decisions. The problem is that all this data will tell you how many people are using their devices within a particular area. Location data relies on people using their maps apps or checking in with other services. In isolation, this information only tells you how many people were in an area at a particular time, but it gives you no insight into who those people are or their relevance to your business.
If you don’t make a serious and concerted effort to understand any market that you are preparing to expand into, you are going to have enormous difficulties in effectively marketing your brand. The same techniques and approaches that have served you well when building your business up in your domestic market are not necessarily going to translate into other territories. If you only look at basic demographic information and don’t make any effort to understand the nuances of the people that data represents, your marketing is quickly going to fall flat on its face.
Marketing to people from an entirely different culture and background to your own is never an easy task. When you are expanding into a new country and region, you face one of the most difficult challenges in all of marketing. However, once you have formulated a consistently reliable approach to researching and preparing for new markets, you will be able to take on these challenges with confidence.