Tailoring Your Marketing Message for Asia
Succeeding in Asia
Starting a website or expanding your site into the Asian region can be a little daunting. Asian culture can be very different from Western culture, with nuances that can harm you and your company if you miss them, and that’s not even considering the language barrier. Not to worry, though. We’ve put together a step‐by‐step getting‐started guide for building or translating your site to work in the Asian markets.
Assessing your site’s chances
This doesn’t have to be an expensive proposition. You might find some international students at your local college campus who want to earn a little money by looking over your translated site and pointing out anything you have missed. Look around and see who’s available to you and get them to tell you everything they can about your new target market.
Sizing up the competition and sounding out the market
After you have your market, it’s time to analyze your competition. Having figured out that there is a large market for fuzzy dice in Asia, you need to sit down and study how your competition is doing in the foreign market. Check out other sites that sell fuzzy dice, especially if they’re local companies. This is where someone who speaks the language or knows the culture would come in very handy. All the tips and tricks from Book III come in especially handy here. Follow the same step‐by‐step procedure to gather and analyze information.
Determining your plan of attack
After you determine your suitability, competition, and strategy, you can move on to the actual implementation. Your next step is the planning phase: Here’s where you create your Asian marketing plan.
If you have an e‐commerce site (any website that sells a particular product or service, such as fuzzy dice), you need to start with Japan, and then expand into South Korea and China. However, if you’re branding (establishing your name and associating it with your business, such as Nike or Xerox), you need to start with China, then move into South Korea, and then Japan.
Japan has the third‐largest economy in the world, following the United States and China. Japan has open markets that actively encourage foreign investment, which means that you can expand into the Japanese market slightly more easily than you can operate in some other Asian countries.
Succeeding in China
China is a new frontier when it comes to the business world. It’s also a tricky one to navigate. Not only do you have the language barrier and the cultural issues to work through, but you also have more extensive and stringent government regulations to deal with. However, China’s economy is booming, and if you are willing to take the steps, now is a good time to get in the front door.
Operating in Russia
We include Russia in the marketing for Asian strategy for reasons of geography as well as strategy. Expanding to the Russian market is a lot like expanding into the Chinese market. In order to have a fully successful venture, you’re going to need a person on the ground in Russia.
This means that you need someone who not only knows the language and culture but also actually lives and works there, to provide you with a bricks‐ and‐mortar foothold in the country. Having someone who is based in Russia can also help in dealing with any legal or local bureaucratic issues that could spring up.
As with all the other countries we mention in this chapter, try to obtain a domain within the country’s ccTLD and hire someone who lives and works in Russia to give you valuable credibility. You must do cultural research to pin down the right tone for your Russian audience.