I’m sure you’ve heard the term BRICs and the hype surrounding these and other rapidly developing emerging markets. Your company may already be doing business with companies in these countries, or thinking of entering them. They can offer great return on investment and growth to businesses in saturated, mature and post-recessionary markets.
Internet penetration is growing at an extraordinary pace in these markets which makes it easier for marketers to reach companies and contacts via online marketing.
Email marketing alone is a powerful medium, combined with other communication channels, as part of an integrated campaign; it’s even more effective.
With all of the benefits of email, such as measurability, low costs, low risks, interactivity and being environmentally friendly, it’s also accepted and well received in emerging markets as a marketing channel. If highly targeted, relevant and localised, it can generate high response rates and return on investment.
So even though your marketing budgets are being scrutinized and cut you can still grow your business. First, you’ll need to grow and store a high quality list of companies and contacts with email addresses for your new markets. This is pivotal to your email marketing strategy; there are two ways you can do this, organically or through acquisition.
Growing your email list organically
Email addresses and data can be organically acquired and captured via online channels such as localised websites, landing pages, banner advertisements on localised third party sites and popular local social media sites. Your sites or landing pages should request email addresses and opt-in permission on forms.
You can run campaigns on all of the above sites offering incentives for people to follow your call to actions, which should lead visitors to completing data captures forms. As a starting point forms should be brief, so as not to lose the contact, capturing the most basic information like: company name, contact name, email address, email marketing opt in permission and mobile number. Incentives such as localised free whitepapers or cool gadgets, like iPads, can be used to persuade contacts to provide their data for follow-up. Emerging markets have huge young populations and so cool gadgets, as incentives, work well; however, you want to ensure you’re capturing relevant, quality data too for further B2B marketing, not just contacts who want to win a prize.
You can test different offers by measuring the number and quality of responses captured in comparison to others used for different campaigns. Quality can be measured by tracking the number of leads generated from responses with call centre follow up, by reviewing the companies captured, and measuring responses to follow up campaigns.
As the data captured is self reported you’ll want to ensure the validity of data, you can do this by asking contacts to enter their emails twice, using automated format checks, or by sending confirmation links to the emails entered, checking to see if emails are valid.
Local tradeshows, sponsorships and conferences
Although online marketing works well in emerging markets, traditional marketing is still very popular and together they complement each other and helping to create ROI.
Whether you’re hosting, exhibiting or sponsoring a local event, they offer excellent opportunities, which shouldn’t be missed, for you to grow your database in emerging markets. With physical, live events, you’re already interacting with an audience who are interested in what you have to say; perhaps they’ve liaised with your sales team. Data captured at events therefore, is of high quality relative to other forms of data capture.
You can also accept business cards. Pre-event data can be captured by using localised registration sites when marketing your events. Alternatively, if you’re sponsoring the event, the organiser may be able to provide you with the data.
Virtual events also work well, you can capture data via registration pages for webcasts, which are great for offering contacts in emerging markets a chance in attending your events virtually; they’re also lower risk for you in comparison to physical events.
Above the line and print media
Advertising in localised magazines, brochures or on billboards are also a tool, you should ensure that call to actions drive contacts to online localised landing pages with data capture forms requesting email and opt in permissions, or to call centres, short codes can work well depending on the market, again use incentives to drive this behaviour.
Sales teams working with local markets will capture data for accounts perhaps via popular account management tools like Sales Force.com (SFDC), provided their contacts have given their email opt in permissions; they can be targeted with marketing messages.
Just 10 years ago it was difficult if not impossible to buy business marketing lists for emerging markets with email addresses; email lists are more common today for emerging markets and can be purchased through international data brokers or brokers based in local markets.
Quality sometimes needs to be validated for purchased lists. If you’ve purchased a list which has delivered a high bounce rate, you should probably not purchase from the same data broker in the future or request a refund. You may be able to request sample data and test it before purchasing an entire list for emerging markets.
Acquired lists for emerging markets can be “cleaned” by call centres in local markets, or by using call centres who hire agents, that can speak local languages, to improve and ensure accuracy.
Call centre agents can call contacts:
- Checking for inaccurate, undeliverable email addresses and duplicate records
- Checking for typos or spelling errors
- Checking for obsolete records or data
- Removing/flagging competitor contacts
All of the above depends on the brief to the call centre; the primary objective with this exercise is to increase reliability, relevancy and quality of the database. This will save you costs of wasted marketing efforts and time by reducing inaccurate data.
Emailing a contact in an emerging market on a newly acquired list, perhaps as an unrecognised company, may seem out of the blue for them, even if they’ve subscribed for “third-party email,” so you need to bear this in mind with your initial messages. If you’ve grown your database organically, contacts are likely to be more receptive to your messaging and familiar with your company.
You might get a quicker return on investment if you purchase a permission-based contact list for emerging markets instead of creating an integrated campaign to acquire home-grown or organic data which is typically built over a longer time-frame. If you have the budget you can do both.
Storing data for emerging markets
You’ll need to develop and maintain a database for new markets. In some markets you’ll collect data for contacts and companies in local languages, with local language characters i.e. non-Latin; your data warehouse should be capable of storing local language characters if that’s the case.
This consideration needs to be made at the planning stage of your business strategy; you’ll also need to involve IT to support this request or work with an outsourced international data management vendor to do this for you.