Marketing in Indonesia: 7 Essential Tips to Get You Started

Marketing in Indonesia : 5 Essential Tips to Get You Started

Expanding your business in Indonesia may be your best decision yet. As the largest economy in Southeast Asia, and the fourth-most populous country in the world, Indonesia offers opportunities in nearly every sector. The country has had one of the most consistent growth rates among global economies over the past ten years. If you want your business to successfully expand in scale, then you must first find a way to make it stand out. To help, we curated seven essential tips in creating your marketing campaign in Indonesia.

The first thing to remember when marketing in Indonesia is that its population is digitally-oriented. Almost 74% of the entire population are internet users, while almost 70% use social media. This market often spends time on different social media platforms, like WhatsApp, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. This consumer behavior also gave rise to one of the most effective marketing strategies in this country, influencer marketing.


Now that you get the general idea, it's important that you also delve into the specifics. Although it might be tricky to penetrate the Indonesian market, these few essential strategies might help you to get started. Read on to know where and how to start your marketing campaign in Indonesia.

7 Tips for Marketing in Indonesia ⬇️

  1. The Indonesian profile: Identify Your Target Market

  2. Hold the scales: Do legal research

  3. Pin to map: Choose the right location

  4. Choose your guide: Find and appoint local partners

  5. Hold the mirror: Localize Your Content

  6. Let your audience talk: Get viral with User-Generated Content (UGC)

  7. Reward and excitement: Create quizzes or giveaways

1. The Indonesian profile

Identify Your Target Market

Identify Your Target Market

Over most product classifications, Indonesians indicate a strong preference for local brands. Most Indonesians already have a preferred brand in mind when they go shopping to buy home products, personal care, and daily needs products.

Indonesian buyers trust local companies, take pride in using local products, and believe that local brands understand them better. This might sound hard to conquer the Indonesian market, but you do not have to worry. With the right approach, you will be able to enter the Indonesian market in a snap.

Since this market believes local companies are providing better value for their money when compared with foreign brands, you need to try to offer better prices and quality for the same products.

There are quite a lot of foreign companies that have been able to successfully capture the market through localization or acquisition strategies. You just need to identify your target market and set the right goals. The next thing you can do is to do some research find companies that share your target market without overstepping their business boundaries.

One of the foreign companies that succeeded in identifying its target market in Indonesia is Arabica. This Japanese coffee shop chain has successfully expanded its branch in Jakarta, and got a very warm welcome from its customers in Indonesia.

2. Hold the scales

Do legal research

legal research

Save your precious time by doing legal research before coming into Indonesia. This will also save you from unnecessary complications later on. If you have done your legal research, you will get the exact regulations your company has to undergo, based on business category, maximum share ownership, minimum paid capital, and regulatory requirements.

It is urgently needed to emphasize that various business sectors in Indonesia are partially closed or closed entirely to foreign investments. You need to do your research on this matter before spending any more resources.

If a sector is partially closed to foreign investment, you need to find out the maximum allowed percentage of foreign ownership. In this type of business sector, you will need to have an Indonesian partner to engage in business with in order to enter the market.

3. Pin to map

Choose the right location

Choose the right location

Indonesia is the largest country in Southeast Asia. It shares a border with Malaysia in the northern part of Borneo, and with Papua New Guinea in the center of New Guinea. Indonesia is composed of thousands of islands, each island consisting of different individuals with different cultural backgrounds.

You need to gather more detailed information on which exact location your company is going to reside in, or in which part of Indonesia your products are going to be sold.

With internet access all over Indonesia, it is also vital to note the importance of ecommerce to your business. Internet allows information to spread far beyond the limits of physical distance. This being said, the challenges that you might face in areas separated by sea will be eased because of internet access.

So, aside from putting your mark physically on the Indonesia map, you also have to become memorable in its cyberspace.

Indonesians are familiar with the social media, and they trust word-of-mouth heavily. If they see someone they know buying and liking a new product, they will be a lot more willing to try the same. Thus, there is no surprise if one product becomes a hit in one city then suddenly trends in neighboring places.

To make use of this ripple effect, make sure your products are circulated in where the news are.

4. Choose your guide

Find and appoint local partners

Find and Appoint Local Partners

Business culture in Indonesia is heavily based on trust and the presence of an existing relationship. It is crucial to network and expand your connections with the locals. Moreover, collaborating with a local trusted expert to counsel you in navigating the complexity on the ground is one of the keys to success for expanding in Indonesia.

For foreign companies to successfully enter the Indonesian market, it is often advisable to find and assign local partners to represent their products. It is highly recommended that foreign companies visit and have face-to-face meetings with prospective partners, and conduct due diligence in person if possible. Appointments with representatives require care, since it may be difficult to terminate an unsatisfactory relationship and form a new relationship.

Partnering with a local agency can also help you in developing an understanding of Indonesian culture and local consumer preferences. So, if you're interested in finding a local marketing agency in Indonesia, check this list of Top 17 Best Marketing and Advertising Agencies in Indonesia.

5. Hold the mirror

Localize Your Content

content localization indonesia

To easily penetrate the Indonesian market, you must localize your content and mirror the lives of this consumer group. Localization is not just about a good translation, but also understanding the cultural context and trends in Indonesia.

You should make sure that the content resonates with the target audience. One thing to do when this goal is in mind is to find local personalities whom the market relates with. These personalities are often in the form of influencers and content creators.

Influencer marketing can help you tailor content-based marketing to match your target audiences. This local approach will deliver more conversions, help build brand awareness, and get higher engagement, better than general ads and billboards.

6. Let your audience talk

Get viral with User-Generated Content (UGC)

User Generated Content Indonesia

Indonesia is one of the largest active users of social networks in the whole world. This means most of its population spend time on the internet, either scrolling, engaging, or creating their own content. In order to utilize this consumer behavior, your brand should take a look at UGCs.

UGC is an effective way of letting your consumer do the marketing for you. This means allowing them and giving them the platform to share their own experiences of using your product or service. This may be in the form of an influencer marketing campaign, a hashtag challenge, or an online competition. This can also work by simply encouraging your consumers to tag your social media account whenever they post about your product.

This strategy is cost-effective, time-saving, and organic.

7. Reward and excitement

Create quizzes or giveaways

Freebies or giveaways are two of the best marketing strategies in penetrating the Indonesian market. Indonesians love getting value for each cent they spend. Big companies like Grab Taxi, Go-Jek, Tokopedia, and Shopee use this strategy to attract new users and maintain loyalty among its consumers.

Gojek always gives big discounts to both new and long-term users, encouraging high usage of their services. This strategy has helped Gojek grow to be a leading brand in Indonesia.


Penetrating the Indonesian market is indeed challenging. Understanding Indonesian culture and local consumer preferences are one of the important factors to win the market. Patience, persistence, and presence are three key ingredients for success in Indonesia.

In addition, important factors affecting purchasing decisions in Indonesia are pricing, financing, technical skills, and after-sales service. Companies should be prepared to capitalize on training for their local team, from entry-level staff to experienced executives.

Based on the tips above, we can see that a local partner is crucial when you expand in Indonesia. Localizing content and mirroring the lives of the population are also vital. We hope this list of essential tips has helped you get a clearer picture on where to start with your campaign.

To know more about advertising and marketing in Indonesia, check the AJ Marketing Blog.

Contact Us

AJ Marketing | Unlock the Power of Influence

Instagram | LinkedIn | Pinterest