One of the more interesting things I’ve learned working on different markets is the importance of mastering the language of a certain market. It can really make a huge difference. I can give you a quick example. I’m covering the position of Country Manager for several markets, among them Italy, France, Denmark and India, at Potentialpark and my job is to create partnerships with some of our stakeholders, most of the times, top colleges and universities so that the research team can have the material to perform our researches on recruiting communication.
As someone has probably noticed, despite my Scottish name, I was born and raised in Milan, Italy and I’m Italian. Not surprisingly, the performances of the Italian market were astonishing and went over the best forecasts. I’m probably good in doing what I’m paid for, after all also the French market did better than last year, but the fact that I’m Italian definitely helped a lot to achieve certain goals.
There is a very interesting article of Brian Solis, in his blog, that gave me the inspiration to write this post. Actually, since the topic is so interesting, I will share also this amazing diagram.
What got my interest was these other data, from the T-Index. If you still want to know what is the T-Index, probably you haven’t read the graph, so I will save my “ink”. In any case, it is a very useful tool for helping companies to identify their target markets and optimize their communication online for these countries.
It is interesting to know that in 2011, by localizing your website for 5 countries (USA, China, Japan, UK and Germany), you reach 50% of the worldwide online sales potential. This is because of the ratio between Internet population and the GDP per capita. Even if I’m not sure whether the GDP is actually a good measurement for the living standards of a certain country, the findings are definitely interesting.
Going down with the charts, if you want to reach the 80% of the worldwide online sales potential, you should localize your website for: France, Brazil, Russia, South Korea, Italy, Canada, Spain, Mexico, Turkey, India, Australia, Taiwan, Iran, The Netherlands and Argentina.
What are the implications of these findings, in particular for the social business? I have already approached the issues of the challenges of a global social media strategy, but I have promised myself to go deeper into this field because I think it is an hot topic for people that are doing International Business.
1. Be Global by being Local: I’m quoting Brian Solis here because I think he has a point, but I don’t think he invented this either. An organization that wants to have a global market share, must have a global strategy behind, but the bulk of the work is done locally.
2. Give Italy to the Italians and France to the Frenchmen: languages and cultural differences, a country manager that actually comes from that country knows his/her people and knows what works and what not. Germans love privacy apparently so unless you don’t state clearly that you won’t steal their data, don’t expect a lot of engagement from them. On the other side, Italians are eager to let you know their bloody opinions, and you would live better without it. I’m warning you…
3. Explore the unexplored: the so called emerging markets are getting more and more important and due to the European crisis, companies should start focusing more and more of them. I personally think that there is a lot of potential in South America and in the Gulf region. Actually this makes me think to a curious episode that happened some time ago. It was around the 20th December when I have received an email from Dubai, it was from a lady that was working for a recruitment consulting firm and was lamenting the lack of sensibility in Dubai for the talent communication and employer branding.
4. Every country has its own medium: not everyone is on Facebook or Twitter, discover the communication channels!
5. Mobile is going to be big, work on it: in 2011 for the first time in history, smartphones outsold computers and very soon people will connect to the Internet with their smart devices. This is a strong trend in the emerging markets.
Time to rethink your global strategy and become glocal…