Marketing in a glocalized worldInterview
Rishi Kanth SinghCountry head Information Technology and Services, Tech Mahindra
Success in local markets is now defined by a brand’s ability to adapt and reflect consumers’ core values in a local context, says Rishi Kanth Singh, country head Information Technology and Services, Tech Mahindra. In an exclusive interview with market research firm, Regalix, Rishi Kanth discusses the need for global brands to shift their marketing and communications strategy from a standardized one to a more adaptive and localized one.
REGALIX: In your opinion, how has the marketing landscape evolved over the years?
RK: The most prominent shift is the difference in the focus of marketers which has moved from a macro-level targeting of customers to a more individual and micro-level targeting. Global brands are now realizing the importance of customizing their offerings and communication strategies to specific markets and individuals, as opposed to a standard blanket groups or tribe, which is the core of the concept of glocalization. Even the ‘mass emailing’ concept is now customized to individuals and personas, making it possible to speak for marketers to speak to different individuals in a manner that addresses their individual needs.
REGALIX: Having spent 10 years in South-East Asia, in your experience what is the difference in terms of tactics used by marketing professionals in Asia, as compared to Europe or the U.S?
RK: There is a common string that binds the whole of the APAC region and that is the strong culture and family values. Communication strategies that revolve around the local culture and family values that define this region will be successful. The United States on the other hand witnesses more product-oriented messaging where marketers need to devise strategies that speak to customers individually.
REGALIX: Which global company has gotten their formula right in marketing to the Asian population?
RK: Brands that have tailored their messaging more closely to the general population’s values perform better in the APAC region compared to brands that have ignored the same. For instance, Samsung being a local Korean company has seen success globally by using the principles of glocalization by offering standardized products leveraging strategies customized to local markets.
REGALIX: What are some of the challenges that you face while marketing your products and solutions?
RK: In my experience, the local market’s reluctance to accept the idea of global products is a huge challenge for marketers. The local population has a strong inclination towards what’s locally produced. This can be seen in the banking industry where only the local brands have thrived while global brands are rejected as they are perceived to be unsuitable for the local market.
REGALIX: It is believed that Asia is leading the worldwide smartphone revolution. Not just in terms of sales but also in the adoption of next-gen technological advancements in the realm of mobile. What is your opinion on mobile marketing in Asia? Is it as big as analysts claim it to be?
RK: Yes, mobile marketing is rising in Asia at a fast rate, with the practice finding the biggest success in Korea. Companies such as Starbucks and Samsung have been successful in the region primarily because they have developed highly personalized marketing strategies focused on mobile.
REGALIX: What according to you is the future of mobile marketing?
RK: Mobile is entrenched into the life’s of Asians probably more than those in the West. Owing to the upsurge in the growing dependency and usage of mobile devices in the region, the future of mobile is bright. Mobile marketing has already demonstrated successful results in Korea; in other regions such as Taiwan and China, mobile is still in the growth phase but the potential for brands marketing to that region is huge.
REGALIX: What would be your advice to global companies that plan to start operations in Asia? Are the geo-political conditions conducive for growth and expansion of these companies?
RK: Companies focused on the APAC region need to develop localized solutions after studying the local conditions carefully. Another strategy could be to first start with the Korean market and then move to other regions. This is because Korea is the toughest market, if companies do not succeed in Korea, they might not succeed in other Asian markets either. Last and most importantly, companies need to have patience. Because of the challenges presented by the local market, it will take time and patience to get the desired results.
REGALIX: What are your predictions regarding the online marketing space– do you think Social media will continue to grow? What about mobile marketing? Will it continue to be an integral part of the marketing mix?
RK: Yes new age media such as social media and mobile marketing definitely has a lot of potential to grow. But in order to grow further, mobile marketing needs to be used in a more creative manner. But what is most important for marketers is to think beyond platforms, see how they can market themselves and attain their marketing objectives using multiple channels integrated in an effective manner, and not focus on only one channel- be it mobile, social or even email.