Dragon for Dinner?
Local Approach vs. Regional Approach
Credit card issuers—and to a lesser degree, insurers and other financial services companies—have been the first direct marketers to gain entry to these developing markets. American Express, Citibank, Barclay’s and HSBC are a few notable examples. These marketers have entered these markets using different approaches.
Having worked in different ways with a number of businesses that have made the migration into these markets, it is clear that no single formula for program development and execution exists. Rather, as entrants to new markets, the businesses building the first roads determine how and where they are laid, and with what materials.
Some businesses advocate multi-country program strategies, developing common themes and structures for the extension of direct marketing programs across multiple countries. Other businesses have adopted a more individualized approach by developing campaigns at the individual-country level. Both of these approaches offer advantages, and each presents its own challenges and limitations.
In a regional strategy, marketing can adopt common formats, leverage consolidated management and execution. You also can identify opportunities to save costs from operating on a larger scale, and quickly translate a successful program across multiple markets. Challenges for this structure, however, include limitations in the degree of cultural specificity that can be achieved in messaging and complexity issues surrounding adjustment of offer, format and execution to achieve multiple market application.
Individual market approaches, while capturing more cultural nuances and permitting niche or tight-
segment marketing, often are limited and don’t allow for easy adaptation across markets. Also, management of direct marketing programs at the country level may necessitate production infrastructure, campaign management resources and reporting frameworks in each market.
Both strategies work, and your decision should be based on the degree of existing in-country market presence, investment tolerance, program scale goals and offer specifics, such as the product’s or offer’s ability to translate across markets effectively.