The fastest growing markets in the world are the emerging markets. Even though in most cases, they are geographically smaller as compared to the developed markets such as the U.S. If you consider replicating your U.S. focused strategy for mobile in China or in India, then you need to get a good know-how of these markets before you take a dive in them. A huge time and effort is required in learning and preparing yourself before conducting mobile app marketing in these markets.
What makes emerging markets a challenge?
For anyone who is accustomed of doing business in developed markets, will face challenge in emerging markets owing to the differing geographical, cultural and language nuances.
Geography: The countries are not only separated by country lines, but also by time zones which regularly cause hassles and delays in conducting business.
Culture: The cultural nuances of every country are different. For example, in Indonesia, handing out of business cards using two hands is mandatory, whether you are meeting a prospect or a client. In the United States, however, business cards are hardly used. The preferred methods of business communication also differ. Where e-mail is the main tool for business communication in the United States, WhatsApp and WeChat are the preferred platforms in Indonesia and China.
Language: There are innumerable dialects and languages spoken. No doubt, English is the preferred language of business communities; it’s seldom the language of choice.
For app developers, the challenges get doubled as they not only have to understand the nuances of the country, but also the nuances of the users of Smartphones who reside there.
Mobile costs: Mobile connections in several of these countries are costly and unreliable. It is estimated that the cost of a minimum wage work of 17 hours is required for 500 MB of data in India. The same 500 MB in Brazil costs an average of 13 hours of work, whereas in Mexico, the cost is 42 hours of wage work!
Logistics: Shipping logistics can be a big hurdle for eCommerce apps. The communities in markets like India, especially rural areas, are geographically fragmented. The biggest eCommerce challenge is faced by Indonesia where 256 million people live on more than thousand islands. Brands operating in Indonesia like Blibli and Zalora have created their own shipping divisions to combat the shipping issues.
Credit card penetration: The 1.7% credit card penetration in India makes the process of monetization a challenge for a developer who is accustomed to the 71% credit card penetration rate in the United States. This will require localization of an app to include more commonly used methods of payments like Cash on Delivery.
Is it worthwhile to spend time and effort in emerging markets?
Emerging markets are of great significance as developed markets may no longer be operational. Australia and the U.S. have become quite saturated and are also quite costly to operate in. Countries like India and China are brimmed with financial opportunities. According to an article in Forbes, both the countries lie within the top twenty by GDP growth and the economy of China will be larger than the economy of the U.S. by the year 2018. China is getting online at a rapid pace. India and China have the largest populations in the world of 1.3 billion and 1.4 billion respectively. The countries have the largest population of young people in the world who are getting their first smartphones and are all set to try new things and stay connected. When Mr. Narendra Modi was elected as the Prime Minister of India, he had pledged that by the year 2020, every Indian will have a smartphone. Owing to the fast adoption of smartphones in India, it has been observed that every second, three more Indians experience the internet for the first time. Mobile marketing in these developing economies can help you reap good benefits.
Best practices for mobile app developers
If you are an app developer and want to attract the attention of a smartphone user in the emerging markets, there are certain things that need to be kept in mind:
Understand your user requirements: Understanding the needs of users is crucial, especially when you are marketing your app to users you may not completely understand. Mobile marketing here can seem to be a challenging task. You can go for hiring an in-market consultant that comprehends the mobile landscape, the requirements of the government and possesses a strong network of related contacts.
Keep performing testing: Testing in these markets is a hassle free task as you don’t have to shell out a large sum of money to obtain some valuable lessons. There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to performance advertising. Test multiple channels to discover what works and what does not. Play around with multiple targeting and creative options and ensure that you have a tracking or an attribution system in place.
Believe your decisions: Selecting a market to venture into is not sufficient. You need to have a convincing reason as to why you have chosen a particular market. Does your decision go well with your strategy and vision and mission statement? It’s important to be completely honest with yourself so that you do not end up compromising with the vision of your company.
Practice patience: Developers who invest now and devote time in understanding the markets will eventually reap big dividends. Concentrate on creating a great localized app that users will find irresistible and keep patience during the process of testing. User engagement also applies to the new user acquisition and it is applicable in emerging markets just as much as it is applicable anywhere else.
To gain success in these emerging markets, it is important that you devote time in understanding the markets and their different users. If you are open to test multiple things out without expecting overnight success, then you are bound to receive great benefits.