Do you pay much attention to cultural differences?

15 replies
I showed a traditional long sales letter to a friend of mine the other day. (A Brit, like me) He's not aware of IM too much although he IS very computer and Internet savvy.

After scrolling up and down for a bit he commented on was how 'American' it looked. Now, that's without reading a word, just scanning the basic format. I asked him why he said that - "Well, it's loud, brash, in your face with all that red and stuff. Is it for the American market?" he asked.

The product wasn't exclusively for the American market. It was an IM product and as far as I'm aware that sales page is used globally.

My point is, do you make any allowances for the different countries you're marketing in? Do you consider cultural differences? Or do you just aim for the largest market and just hope the rest aren't too put off?

Peter
#attention #cultural #differences #global #market #pay
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    • Profile picture of the author Darren Tan
      Being in Asia, I can tell you first hand, some of the marketing techniques from Western countries like USA and UK really doesn't apply in Asia countries because we are born conservative.

      Even for MNCs in Asia, whenever they want to attend seminars or courses on marketing, the no. 1 question they'll ask is does the trainer have any background in the Asia perspective.

      Hope it helps.

      Regards,
      Darren
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      • Profile picture of the author Kitty Kiki
        Originally Posted by Darren Tan View Post

        Being in Asia, I can tell you first hand, some of the marketing techniques from Western countries like USA and UK really doesn't apply in Asia countries because we are born conservative.

        Even for MNCs in Asia, whenever they want to attend seminars or courses on marketing, the no. 1 question they'll ask is does the trainer have any background in the Asia perspective.

        Hope it helps.

        Regards,
        Darren
        I am sorry. I disagree with you.
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        • Profile picture of the author Darren Tan
          Can you please explain so that I can learn more about it?

          Reason being, when I was still with a company selling conferences, that's what I experienced from MNCs companies and when I started my own marketing services, I tried some marketing techniques like for example guarantees, I don't experience any huge increase in conversions for a few industries.

          Originally Posted by Kitty Kiki View Post

          I am sorry. I disagree with you.
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  • Profile picture of the author Scott Ames
    AMERICAN'S ARE LOUD? REALLY??? WHAT MAKES YOU SAY THAT?????
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  • Profile picture of the author jasonmorgan
    very good question, I just wrote a very long reply
    but I'm going to hold back on posting it for fear of
    upsetting the sensibilities of our American friends
    here.
    oh... c'mon, bust our American balls. we can take it.

    with that said... I am American so I suppose what I do is done in an American way. I can't pretend to be something I'm not or present content in a way that isn't going to reflect what I am and what I know.

    I suppose if I were to invest in country specific TDL's n' such then it would make sense to write for that audience.

    I figure like all things, we'll just cram our way of doing it down the rest of the worlds throat until they accept it and adapt... we've already started our secret plan of making the rest of the world fatter by exporting our McDonalds.

    But you do have a good point. It would be interesting to see how to market for different cultures. It's not like country specific redirects aren't that hard to pull off and could very well be a smart way to do things.

    Would offering tea and biscuits help with the UK crowd?
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  • Profile picture of the author LocoDice
    I am an Australian who has worked and lived extensively in Australia, United States and the UK.

    I have thought about this a lot, and I guess I have experienced being asked for my 5 digit 'zip code' in Australia, and having to select a 'state' in the UK on generic global registration forms.

    I think though that the defacto standard is to assume the internet is built for America - this is constantly drilled into us when we see a .com domain when all us second class citizens have to have a .co.uk, .com.au, .de, .fr or whatever

    In my opinion, as a westerner, I believe people somewhat expect to see American-ish copy and style used on websites. Even though we may pick up that it is a little non-local it feels normal to us.

    I don't even notice anything strange now when I see American English spellings of things!

    I think the other thing to take into account, is that sales copy is often using other words and phrases that have been proven to convert. So if you go off and start localising your copy, you're dealing with something that you're not necessarily sure will work as well.
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  • Profile picture of the author jemmachris
    Peter, I think this is a great question! I've often wondered this.....

    I'm definitely no expert on this matter but I'm from Australia and often find that my initial reaction to most American marketing is quite negative and as a result find myself searching for an Australian or English alternative. The sometimes "over-hyped" feeling of American marketing makes me feel like I'm going to be scammed. Sorry for all you Americans out there.........

    I would love to know if anyone out there has ever done any testing around this???
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  • Profile picture of the author gottahave
    Many US IMers forget the www is the WorldWideWeb and think nothing happens outside North America. They also forget there is a massive market outside the US.
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    • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
      Originally Posted by gottahave View Post

      Many US IMers forget the www is the WorldWideWeb and think nothing happens outside North America. [...].
      It is called ethnocentrism - and the rest of the world is as guilty of it as the North Americans

      Interestingly, most posters in this thread focus only on the differences between English-speaking countries...

      There is way more when it comes about cultural differences (as the OP put it) than spelling differences and/or loud vs. subtle style.

      Darren Tan has a very valid remark in his post above when it comes about marketing to different cultures/countries. The fact that they speak English (as I do) doesn't change your cultural mindset, which is quite often limited by your language. Yeah, I do believe in the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis)

      Going to have dinner now. Will post more later.
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  • Profile picture of the author jig
    The only time this dawns on me is when I read something written in broken English.
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  • Profile picture of the author Matt Morgan
    I think to some extent you might have to 'adjust' to whatever market(or country/region) you are targeting your product to.
    • If you are targeting the USA market, then you should craft your sales letter to that style of writing
    • If you are targeting the UK market, then you should craft your sales letter to that style of writing
    • If you are targeting the Asian market, then you should craft your sales letter to that style of writing
    • If you are targeting the 'whole world' - then just make sure your writing flows, and has no spelling or grammar mistakes
    The differences in the writing won't be that huge though for the cultures, but is something worth looking into.

    Like i said, you might have to adjust, this is a questions without a right or wrong answer.
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    • Profile picture of the author vicone
      I normally tailor my pages, emails, writing, etc, for the American market as Australia has a population of about 21 million compared to about 300 million for the US and another 30+ million for Canada.

      My traffic figures indicate about 6-7% of visitors to my sites come from Australia.

      By far, the sources which convert best for sales for me are the English speaking countries - US, Canada, UK, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand. South Africa is close behind and then Western Europe.

      Although I'm happy to sell to any country, if I'm buying traffic, those countries I mentioned are the only sources that I find to be profitable for the products I handle.

      In some cases, the geographic target is even smaller. For instance, Amazon.com only delivers to those mainland, contiguous states for many of their products, so that also has to be considered.

      The most noticeable, everyday influence for me is on writing as Australian spelling tends to follow British spelling conventions and I'm careful about using slang terms because words don't always have the same meaning in different countries. For instance, a famous Australian woman was being interviewed on American TV and casually mentioned she was annoyed because she had left her thongs at home. She meant what Americans would call 'flip-flops'.

      Ivan
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  • Profile picture of the author duncanb
    Yes you should absolutely consider cultural differences when marketing a product.
    Anyone who studied cultural studies which is a popular module in most business courses will know the way we communicate can be percieved in a different way than was intended if read by a non native of your country.

    For example the colour of the tin of beans i find on my supermarket shelf is a different colour to the colour of the tin of same brand beans i would find on the shef in a supermarket at the other side of the world.
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  • Profile picture of the author Peter Bestel
    Interesting replies, and I guess interesting that at least half of the 13 people who have responded so far are from outside of the US.

    This isn't intended as any kind of US bashing thread - there'd be a certain irony if that was the case, just interested to see whether folk consider it, or not.

    Personally, based on nothing but gut feeling, (and a small amount of feedback) I feel there is more tolerance of an 'American' approach outwith the US than there is of a, lets say more 'British' approach, within the US.

    If I use americanisms in my copy, spelling, phrasing etc - nobody complains.

    If I use 'britishisms' then I'm quite likey to get US folk sending me an email correcting my spelling or point blank asking me to explain words they don't understand.

    Ivan makes some very valid points about being aware of your market and then assessing the cost/benefit analysis of altering your sales pitch accordingly. If you're serious about taking culture into consideration Ivan's suggestions are the way to go.

    Peter
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    • Profile picture of the author Martin Luxton
      Peter,

      I think it also depends where you are in your IM path.

      When I first started I discounted most sales letters as unbelievable hype.

      Then I got used to them and started buying.

      Now I KNOW most of them are unbelievable hype and I pretty much ignore them.

      Martin
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