When it comes to having successful online and offline advertising, it is important to collect thorough varied data. In my experience I’ve often seen businesses make the mistake of taking the easy way out and attempting to implement a one-size-fits-all approach towards marketing. In affiliate marketing, it is essential to do research since banner ads, text links, widgets and other tools tend to only be as effective as the strategy behind their use. This strategy comes best from applying data. The same need for information applies for TV advertisements and other offline marketing methods.
Online marketing is much more complex than what we first knew it to be back in the 1990s. Back then, affiliate marketing was more or less just setting up a tracking link to the merchant’s website. With the spread of the internet and the increased influence of affiliate marketing, the current landscape requires sophisticated means of servicing consumers, the majority of which are information-based. These approaches include, but certainly are not limited to, geomarketing, geotargeting, and multicultural marketing. By becoming more specific about the type of consumer you want or are already attracting, you better understand how to service your consumers. Additionally, you also avoid a marketer’s worst nightmare: controversy.
A Lack of Research, a Lack of Success
The reach of affiliate marketing is now so wide that it is important to research demographics before undertaking any marketing. Marketing to specific cultural markets is a necessity, because these days, one-size does not fit all. We live in a politically correct world, where cultural messages, idiosyncrasies, or images can offend an audience and leave the company doing the offending in hot water. By attempting a cookie-cutter approach to general marketing, you greatly increase your risk of offending your audience. In a way, trying to force mainstream marketing techniques onto the multicultural, multisegmented world is like having a joke you tell a friend at a bar publicized to the entire world. Although that joke is not indicative of your general beliefs, chances are that if widely broadcast, someone may take offense.
This sort of problem occurred recently for Canada-based water distributor Eska. The company was forced to pull its ad campaign following a backlash from the general public. Subsequently, Eska had to deal with accusations of cultural insensitivity towards First Nations people. Cultural shaming aside, whatever amount of money and time the company spent on that advertising campaign has gone entirely down the drain.
Know Your Audience
Avoiding sticky situations with regard to cultural communities in marketing is a wise task. As a business, regardless of whether you are a retail men’s apparel merchant or an affiliate specializing in PPC for a maternity merchant, it’s essential to research your audience. While market research may seem extraneous initially, if you don’t do it you can end up losing far more time and money in the long run than would have gone into simply obtaining proper demographics in the first place. Knowing your audience means that you know what sort of marketing they are responsive and unresponsive towards. Marketing campaigns that appeal to the cultural sentiments of Germany may offend people in Mexico, or simply miss the point. By taking the time and effort to know the audience, you help ensure that you get the most out of your marketing by directing efforts efficiently and generally avoiding social scorn.
Know Your Location
Knowing your location is just as important as knowing your audience, as the two go hand-in-hand. Being unaware of geographic information can also hamper the effectiveness of your advertising. A cautionary tale of this is daily-deal giant Groupon’s foray into the Korean market. Groupon, one of the world’s fastest growing companies, thought that Korea would be an easy location to offer daily deals due to its high population density and hi-tech information systems structure. As of right now, Groupon ranks third in Korea in an industry it spearheads elsewhere.
The business structure of Korea varies greatly from that of Groupon’s other markets. As Groupon has learned, one must be prepared to adjust to each different business world in its own unique way. The Korean Internet is much faster than the US one, so consumers and business partners expect a lot more media information that Groupon did not provide. Meanwhile, Coupang, a much smaller company run by a native-Korean has found more market success due to being aware of the practices and standards of Korean business and consumers. If you don’t know your location, you can still partner with a local who does. This can be an incredibly valuable partnership, and can provide you with information both on the location, as well as the market, its audience and inherit values.
Any information on possible marketing endeavours will only benefit your company. Knowing your audience and knowing the differences between cultural, geographic, and social boundaries is essential to personally tailoring marketing towards an audience, and in turn generating the best possible response. The initial costs of this research will pay for themselves in future revenue, while helping keep your brand to remain pristine and appealing to multiple demographics.