Working in the UK in online marketing is a big business. You may have an understanding or familiarity with SEO techniques as well as big brand marketing campaigns if you are reading this. If this is your industry, you’ll know London companies do online marketing well and there is fierce competition around this sector. Did you consider that in some countries, your UK learnt techniques might fall short? This is what happened to James Williams, who moved from London to South Africa recently. His experience is interesting for anyone who has a hand in SEO techniques and works across borders.
When it comes to saturated markets such as the UK and America, an integrated marketing campaign is the way forward to get your message out there. There is such a lot of competition, so marketing experts know that a combination of paid ads, organic searches as well as social media posts and presence is going to be key. However, in other countries where there is less development in terms of their online marketplaces, you may not always need this much to have success. For instance, you could simply make a good website with solid SEO to get you the rankings you need.
For further insight, James Williams, who is the head of digital marketing at Wonga South Africa, has given his experience in an interview that really shines a light on how different strategies can be from country to country.
One of the first things you have to consider is what language the country predominantly speaks. In the UK, you don’t really ever need to consider a language other than English, despite it being a very diverse country. But in South Africa, over eleven official languages are registered. So how can you tie your marketing campaign around so many different languages and cultures? Each type of consumer and target market will also have differing behaviour and purchasing patterns, so this can cause many marketing execs to be scratching their heads. How do you appeal to all segments, how can you be inclusive?
A person who is working in a marketing team in this industry that is presented with this problem will want to do a lot of research at a detailed level. They need to look at traffic to landing pages, social media engagement and so on. They need to get online and see who interacts with social media, to ensure their efforts don’t go to waste.
The digital online marketplace in South Africa is still fairly undeveloped by UK and US standards, and James Williams says that particular attention needs to be paid to emerging trends. This does mean that by looking at what’s happening and monitoring trends closely, you can be at the forefront of that change and could therefore drive your company into success. James says that when he moved to work in Wonga South Africa he realised what a great opportunity this was. He was able to identify new and innovative ways to interact with customers in a totally new market unlike anything he had seen in the UK. The way you market is different – the customers are different – this requires a lot of brainstorming.
So, does it matter what kind of brand your company has? Well, yes, it does and it doesn’t. “Being a big brand is as much of a help as a hindrance” says James. Many people think that a big brand is a big advantage because you have the budget and the customer familiarity, but James says “when it comes down to it, customers don’t care where you’ve come from or what you’ve done, they want to know what you can offer them now”. Essentially, the world is always moving forwards and you can’t rely on past marketing to make your next brand message succeed. It is all about what you are going to do and what you are driving towards.
Not only this, but a lot of people are choosing to avoid ‘ big brands’ and ‘shop local’ which means big brands have a difficult task of appearing even more personable. According to Marketing Dive, a survey suggested that 63% of surveyed global consumers prefer to purchase products from companies that stand for a purpose that reflects their own values, and will avoid companies that don’t do this. ‘Big brands’ aren’t always a trendy choice for many modern consumers. So, it has become all the more difficult to market a company – you need to appeal to people’s modern values, to stand out from the crowded marketplace.
For James, the task has been all about networking, researching and producing top quality content to drive the brand forward. It seems, in essence, the ever changing market is a tough one to do business in, but when done right, your brand could soar.