Understanding the markets in which you operate – or plan to expand – is vital to succeed. While numbers and statistics are necessary, they answer only the questions you’re asking. A truly localized market strategy takes into account “hard” factors as much as “soft” ones like social norms and motivation drivers of the target audience.
In the end, you must be agile in all of your markets – the goal is to sense changes before they become visible trends. But first, you need to understand correlations and context. This is why you need experts enrooted in the targeted markets.
Ignoring any of these aspects can turn a conquest to failure, even with products and services perfectly tailored for the respective markets. Every stage of the venture has its own pitfalls; it starts with the basics: Just think of markets where credit cards are not commonly used. Instead, you may need to use applications specific for the target audience. The usage of cash, on the other hand, has practically vanished from some markets, whereas others still heavily rely on it.
“Soft” factors like social norms can also become hard barriers if ignored. Even if a society is embracing a liberal attitude in its legislation and public life, for example, it doesn’t necessarily mean more traditional family values don’t prevail in some aspects of private lives. What resonates with the targeted audience is rather impacted by the latter.
When entering “uncharted waters”, we’re prone to seemingly familiar mechanisms. This can come into play in any aspect of your venture. Even being aware that there is a world beyond Google, such as Yandex or Baidu, may not get you very far. Algorithms can follow a different logic than you expect. If you’re using the same SEO strategy across all search engines, you could be making it practically impossible to be found.
In a nutshell, a holistic market research and analysis is crucial for success. It will distinguish you from your competitors, and is an investment that pays off. From the beginning – and in the long run.