By 2017, the emerging market smartphone market will grow by more than 23 percent, according to a new report by IDC. That’s more than three times the North American market and double the European market.
This explosive growth is being fueled by the low cost of smartphones. As a result, global brands and advertisers must adapt their marketing strategies if they want to compete in developing nations. But it would be a misstep for a global business to approach mobile advertising the same way in each country it targets.
Mobile advertisers should pay keen attention to various worldwide trends that require the following objectives:
• Remember that mobile devices are your friends, as well as essential branding channels. It’s true: Mobile phones are the most commonly used devices in emerging markets, eclipsing laptops and tablets. Clearly, then, mobile marketing is the most effective way not only to reach customers, but to convert them into consumers.
• Hold a magnifying glass over developing countries. Developing countries are the fastest growing areas of mobile connection worldwide. Of course, as a mobile marketer, it’s important to recognize that consumers in each country--separated not only by thousands of miles, but also by mind-sets, ideologies, and cultural idiosyncrasies--require different targeting strategies.
For instance, in our research, we were able to gain insights from mobile marketing campaigns across Nigeria, Vietnam, Brazil, and Cameroon, reaching 223 million consumers. Notably, the substantive data points to a clear one-size-doesn’t-fit-all ideology, as success is determined by markedly different incentive approaches across markets. For instance, marketing messages that include affirmative buzzwords such as “lucky” and “congratulations” appeal to Nigerians, while attention-grabbing terms such as “you have been selected” tend to engage mobile users in Brazil.
• Specific incentives pique and may therefore capture the most attention. To drive the interest of emerging markets, it could very well prove wise to make the offering of incentives and prizes a major component of your strategy. Our research also found that incentives play a major role in the minds of African and Brazilian consumers, in particular. That is to say, the promise of new iPhone technology, free air time or a Samsung Galaxy 4, and even cash prizes appeal to subsets of these audiences.
• Timing matters. This is another incentive that is less tangible, but still just as vital and potent. No doubt, if it’s true that timing is everything, then timing is especially important in mobile marketing. To bring time onto your side, carefully consider the behaviors of your target audiences. For example, Nigerians are most receptive to marketing messaging around 3 p.m., whereas Vietnamese customers prefer 9 a.m..
It is imperative to develop specific and focused approaches to each market that can also act as safeguards against antagonizing consumer tactics that work in one area, but not another. Attention to language, desire, sentiment, and perceived value are all essential to advertising efforts. There is no Rosetta Stone of marketing in emerging markets—and there is no magic equation—but attention to detail, and pinpointed strategy, will deliver desired results.