Have you ever considered the potential of the Asian market for your business? With a staggering 54.5% of the world's population residing in Asia, it's definitely worth exploring. The Asia-Pacific region is a melting pot of diverse cultures, languages, and consumer preferences, making it a challenging yet rewarding market to conquer. That’s why crafting a unique advertising and marketing campaign for this region is essential.
But with so many countries, each with its unique set of challenges, how can businesses effectively reach and engage with customers in the region? That's where this article comes in!
We'll dive into the top five strategies for marketing success in Asia, so you can hit the ground running and make the most of the massive opportunities available to you. So grab a coffee, get comfortable, and let's dive in!
Best Marketing Strategies in Asia ⬇️
Strategy 1: Mobile First
Embracing the Android Revolution
Asia-Pacific is a mobile-first region, with a mobile penetration rate of a staggering 105.4%. So, it's no surprise that businesses looking to reach customers in the region need to be mobile-first in their approach. However, it's not enough to simply be mobile-first, you also need to focus on Android.
The three smartphone manufacturer giants in Asia – Huawei, Oppo, and Xiaomi – are all on Android. Apple has not been able to gain a foothold in the Asian market as the average Asian consumer is financially conservative and prioritizes affordability over brand association, according to a consumer insight research by the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
As a result, always consider a mobile-first experience when marketing in Asia, and, when necessary, build apps for Android. Given the limited data plans and sometimes small memory space on lower-end phones, it's crucial to ensure that apps use minimal data and don't take up too much memory on the phone.
In addition to focusing on Android, it's also important to make sure your mobile website is responsive and easily accessible on all devices. This means having a website that automatically adjusts to the size of the screen it's being viewed on, ensuring a seamless user experience for your customers.
Another aspect to consider is the widespread use of mobile wallets in the region, such as WeChat Pay. Integrating these payment methods into your mobile website can greatly enhance the customer experience, making transactions quick and convenient.
Finally, don't forget about email marketing! With the majority of email being opened on mobile devices, it's crucial to optimize your emails for a mobile view. This means using a clear, simple layout, with large, easily clickable buttons, and keeping the text concise and to the point. By doing so, you can ensure that your messages get the attention they deserve and drive the results you're after.
It’s always worthwhile to optimize products and websites for a mobile user to provide an enhanced experience for the majority of your potential user base.
Strategy 2: Bold and Simple
Cut-Through the Clutter with Clear Messages
When it comes to advertising in Asia, simple and direct messages are often the way to go. Unlike Western advertising, which has trended towards subtle, thought-provoking stories, Asian audiences prefer straightforward messages that are easy to understand and remember.
For example, the advertising campaigns for Alibaba's Olympic Ad, created for Western viewers, are vastly different from the campaigns for Shopee’s 11.11 sales season, which is targeted towards a Southeast Asian audience. The latter is more direct and playful, featuring over-simplified messages and catchy taglines.
Similarly, advertising campaigns from companies such as Burger King in South Korea, Fitty Mask in Japan, and Lazada in the Philippines all use direct, memorable messages that are easy to read and understand. In the commercial above, Lazada used “in your face” messaging and told the audience about its upcoming sale, with up to 90% off on some items, the free shipping promo, and stackable vouchers. The commercial gained over 10 million views on YouTube.
When creating advertising campaigns for the Asian market, keep the messages simple and direct. Avoid complex stories and opt for clear, straightforward messages that your target audience will easily understand and remember.
Strategy 3: Localization is Key
Understanding the Cultural Differences
Entering the Asian market with a product or service requires a tailored marketing strategy that takes into account local cultural and linguistic specifics. Businesses that have found success in Western markets should avoid simply replicating their previous materials and techniques when trying to reach Asian consumers.
Working with an experienced marketing agency with knowledge in localization strategies can ensure that your brand's message is effectively communicated to the target population. Local marketing agencies know the ins and outs of the countries you plan to expand on.
It's crucial to avoid generalizing consumers based on nationality in the Asian market, as countries such as Singapore and Korea are multicultural and multinational. Instead, businesses should focus on identifying similar interests and purchasing behaviors among consumers to create demand for their product and establish a presence in the market.
Localization should extend beyond just the naming of a product or service. Advertisements should also consider local symbols and allusions to folklore stories. Brands that effectively tap into the local culture with their marketing efforts are often well-received by the audience.
For example, KitKat's brand name in Japanese sounds like a phrase meaning "you will surely succeed," making it popular among Japanese high school students preparing for exams. It even capitalized on this success by releasing special exam season chocolates and tapping into regional foods. LG similarly localized its line of products when it entered India.
As Harvard Business Review’s Dae Ryun Chang stated, "Marketing 101 doesn't work in Asia." Reaching your target Asian consumer requires a personalized approach that takes into account the region's communal, social, family-centered, ethnically proud, multicultural, and multilingual nature. What works for a buyer persona in New York may not work in Manila, Tokyo, or Seoul.
Strategy 4: Influencer Power
Leveraging Social Influencers for Maximum Impact
When it comes to marketing in the Asian market, influencer marketing is a proven tool to reach and engage consumers. Unlike Western markets where big brands tend to hold more weight, Asian consumers put more trust in real people. A poll conducted in Vietnam revealed that 60% of teenagers are influenced by the fashion style of their favorite artists, while 50% are influenced by their lifestyle.
Influencer marketing has been seeing tremendous growth in the Asia Pacific region, particularly in the wake of the pandemic. In 2019-2020, there was a 85% increase in influencer marketing campaigns in the region, as consumers seek a more personal and human touch in advertising.
To make the most of your influencer marketing campaign, it is crucial to choose the right influencer. In Asia, there is a communal mindset where collective opinions carry more weight than individual ones. Therefore, it's essential to find an influencer with a strong social standing among the majority of their followers.
Some successful examples of global brands using influencer marketing in the Asia Pacific include Spotify's series of episodes on online gaming with a macro-influencer in the Philippines. Spotify has formed an exclusive and official partnership with Riot Games, designating it as the official audio-streaming partner for global events in League of Legends (LoL) Esports.
Strategy 5: Social Savvy
Navigating the Landscape of Asian Social Networks
When marketing to Asian consumers, it's important to recognize that the popular social media networks and trends in Western countries may not be as effective in certain Asian markets. For example, TikTok is banned in India and Asian countries have their own thriving platforms like WeChat and Line.
To successfully reach Asian consumers, it's important to research the local social media landscape and create a tailored advertising strategy for these platforms. For example, in South Korea, Naver is a leading local search engine that operates as a Q&A-based platform where users can ask questions and receive expert answers.
A successful marketing campaign in Asia must go beyond identifying the target audience and considering the products and services being offered. It also involves facilitating organic communication with consumers through adapting your campaign to the online platforms they use regularly
Marketing to Asian consumers requires a unique approach. Popular social media networks and platforms in the Western world may not have the same level of impact in the Asian markets. Asian consumers are more likely to trust human influencers rather than big brands. Lastly, to truly connect with Asian consumers, mobile-first marketing.
By implementing these strategies, marketers can effectively reach and connect with Asian consumers. We wish you the best of luck in your marketing journey in Asia.
AJ Marketing | Unlock the Power of Influence