How to Speak Directly to New Markets Without Damaging Your Brand

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YouTube recently asked Camp Creative to help them encourage more people in the Middle East and North Africa to become YouTube creators. Working with YouTube, we chose to record their messages locally, edit them here in San Francisco where their key marketing people were based, then distribute them internationally. The messages were recorded in Arabic and distributed with subtitles and second channel audio. This was true native language marketing.You can view the complete series of Creator Journeys: Stories From Around the World here.

Uncovering A Marketing Strategy

A guiding principle of our targeted marketing approach is reaching customers in a voice and manner that feels comfortable. Familiar. Friendly. As consumers, we’re inundated by calls for our attention, and we’ve conditioned ourselves to tune out messages that have no interest.

When Charles Schwab began operating in South Florida, they recognized the potential buying power of the Latino market. To tap into this market, they began translating many of their communications tools: brochures, radio spots, broadcast spots, into Spanish. This form of localization was a common component of integrated marketing plans in other Latino markets, and it made sense to employ this same technique in Miami. But the response to their initial efforts did not match the response they had seen in other Latino markets, so Schwab set about trying to determine why.

As it turns out, the reason was as simple as culture. There are many different Latino cultures in the US. Ranging from Mexico to Panama and Chile to Argentina, Latin America is culturally, ethnically, and socio-economically diverse. In some cities, the dominance of a certain culture, say Mexican culture in Los Angeles, spills over, to the extent that people from other similar cultures are also sensitive to the language and custom of the predominant group. So while somebody might be of Nicaraguan descent, they are STILL Los Angelenos, and will understand and respond to advertising targeting them as part of a broad audience.

But in South Florida, this is not the case. Many of the people in South Florida identify strongly with their own culture, to the exclusion of all others. Without getting too deep into a specific discussion of Miami cultures, let’s just say that Colombians are different from Venezuelans, who are different from Puerto Ricans who are different from Cubans.

Schwab found the Cuban market particularly enticing since Cubans had traditionally made use of investment vehicles such as IRAs and Individual trading accounts. To reach this market, Schwab hired a Cuban agency whose primary practice area was retail for the Cuban market. This agency crafted a message, wrote scripts for radio and TV, and above all, provided the media planning guidance insure an efficient and economical media spend.

There were several key differences between Cuban and other Latino markets. For one thing, Cubans tend NOT to watch TV commercials, but rather, listen to them. This means that any compelling message should be spoken and not shown on the screen. Second, because of Cuba’s political history, the dialect spoken by the actor is critical. Certain dialects carry a certain stigma, and only a native Cuban speaker would be able to differentiate the subtleties. And third, Cubans treat commercial breaks differently, depending upon the program they’re watching. They will sit through telenovelas as though they’re in a theater but will get up constantly during news programs. This means having your ad running during the six o’clock news is nowhere near as fruitful as having it run during Pasión de Gavilanes.

What Brand Marketing Strategy Works Best For New Markets?

These days, there is more localization and niche marketing taking place on internet and web platforms. One key reason is that the metrics are easier to track. For traditional broadcast media, it isn’t always possible to link dollars spent with sales for a variety of reasons. However, the power of broadcast advertising outweighs its relative lack of specificity. For people who desire a more efficient cost per impression, the web is a perfect place for it offers not only very specific stratification but also tremendous geographic reach. An advertiser whose product has limited appeal locally but broad appeal across geographies might be more inclined to use targeted web advertising rather than traditional media. The same can be said for reaching an audience that’s wide but thin.

And just as with the South Florida market, the Arabic language market is comprised of many different cultures with many different customs. Care was taken to ensure the message was both culturally sensitive as well as properly targeted. With 4.3 Million views, the metrics point to content that is resonating.

The potential to target customers in specific demographics is greater now than it’s ever been. But unlike traditional marketing, targeted marketing requires greater insight into the customs, habits, and customs of the target market. Ineffective messaging can result in lost dollars, but insensitive marketing can injure a brand. When targeting specific groups and specific cultures, it makes sense to employ people who specialize in those markets.