At the most fundamental level, while we can look at Asia Pacific as an overarching region, working on the assumption that you can market the same way throughout the entire geography would be incorrect. Too often we continue to see an assumption that businesses will just ‘start marketing in Asia Pacific’.
This is the equivalent of suggesting that a business will start marketing in Europe. A country by country approach is needed. Each country has its own way of operating, its own trends, its own way that it likes to do business and its own platforms. In addition, the vastly different cultures, languages and operating methods are something that needs to be planned for up front.
A key theme that emerges is one of localisation and importantly the drastic differences that need to be accounted for, particularly when looking to run micro-programs. As such, many businesses should be considering taking a bottoms up approach to their marketing, when entering Asia pacific, as opposed to an umbrella type strategy initially.
Business Maturity levels in Asia Pacific are different from other parts of the world
B2B marketing is a relatively mature exercise throughout the US and in parts of Europe. However, there are many parts of Asia where it is still emerging and growing.
Businesses cannot work on the assumption that the same type of B2B offering is going to be applicable across the entire region. This consideration is also applicable at a country level and likely worth mapping out as appropriate.
For example, one country may be quite mature in their digital transformation journey, such as Japan, whereas parts of Southeast Asia are still very much emerging in this field. So the discussion point is not only on the differences in maturity between western markets and Asia Pacific, it is also the differing maturity levels within Asia pacific that need to be accounted for.
Purchasing cycles are different for Businesses in Asia Pacific
The way businesses and people engage in a purchasing cycle will vary from country to country and, as discussed above, will vary based upon the maturity of the market. At a macro-level, Asia-Pacific business has traditionally been built and strengthened on in-person relationships. While this has been challenging over the past 18 to 24 months, it will still remain a priority.
Having a clear understanding of how to allow for the traditional in-person involvement when looking to navigate the current landscape and potentially scale your marketing efforts will require a lot of thought. Sales cycles and the planned strategy will need to be mapped out aligned to the country, the target customers, and the products or services that you are selling.
This will help allow for country nuances and what is important to the consumers. In addition, providing a level of fluidity as part of this process is something that needs to be employed to allow enough flexibility to be successful.
The Business Landscape in Asia Pacific is growing very quickly
Asia Pacific continues to grow at a rapid speed. This means, businesses need the ability to adapt quickly with changing trends and in the same effort, have the ability to scale the message.
This is a challenging notion. While this growth allows for exciting opportunities, the way that organisations balance their approach from the beginning will be important. Organisations will need a well defined and structured foundation in order to manage the growth opportunity. If this is not in place, things can turn bad, quickly.
Spending the time up front to ensure there is the appropriate resourcing, local focus as well as centralised support and governance will help organisations take advantage of the growth in a planned way.