Earlier this year, Netflix expanded into 130 new countries at a time when subscription had been booming. The streaming service saw double the number of subscribers in Q1 of 2016 than in the same period a year previously, and despite a predicted slowdown in Q2, things were looking good. The expansion, then, would suggest that Netflix know something we don’t, and the company clearly thought the plethora of markets worthy of moving into.
Essentially, content has become a saturated space, and customer acquisition has never been more difficult. Save for the next digital innovation - the life changing product no one knew they needed - advanced economies have seen industry leaders firmly establish themselves across digital content, and all that’s left to fight for is the emerging markets as yet untouched by these services. When moving into a new market, though, it’s important brands practice both some fundamentals and some more niche points to ensure effective entry.
Invest in translation
In terms of fundamentals, investing in proper translation for markets with languages other than your company’s primary language is essential. Content can only be engaging when the language used is interesting, and there are few quicker ways to alienate an entire market than butchering the language in your marketing efforts. Content should be high quality regardless of the location, market, or language, and brands should ensure their translation is high-quality.
When Pepsi expanded into China, they led with the (slightly strange) slogan, ‘Pepsi brings you back to life.’ The biggest mistake came in translation, though, as their ad read ‘Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave.’ The error is an infamous case of poor translation, and should serve as a warning to any brand expanding into an unfamiliar market that nuance can be key.
Optimize content for mobile
In high growth markets, the shift towards mobile content is felt even more acutely than in advanced economies. Unreliable and expensive wifi - 61% in high growth markets reported connectivity as slow, according to Econsultancy - meaning that mobile data is the primary means of accessing content.
It’s essential, then, that your company’s content is optimized for mobile. Brands should be doing this anyway - mobile is dominant in the US too, for example - but in high growth markets the shift is born out of infrastructural failings as well as consumer habits. According to Econsultancy, ‘research shows that consumers are accessing content via mobile web browsers more than apps (43% vs 40%).’ Focus on content for both web and app, then, and deliver content through multiple channels rather than only native app content.
Lower your prices
’87% of consumers accessing digital services on mobile devices in high growth markets demand lower data charges,’ according to Econsultancy. That should tell brands one thing, that pricing in high growth markets is as important as it is complex. Each brand will have to decide on pricing strategies for each new market - yes, Netflix will have considered 130 - given the disparity in GDP between these markets and the saturated and relatively stable world of advanced economies.
Netflix’s pricing in Brazil is 39% lower than it is in the US - the income difference in new markets must be taken into consideration when deciding both pricing structures and whether the market is worth entering in the first place. Subscription models work well in these economies, too - taking away the initial upfront cost can prove even more effective than in advanced economies.
Create localized content
This point ties into the previous three - understanding cultural differences in high growth markets can be the difference between a successful entry and a catastrophe. This includes being available in native languages but is not limited to this, as 76% of consumers prefer content that has a ‘local feel’ - something influenced heavily by cultural nuance.
Netflix have added three new languages - Korean, Chinese and Arabic - to its existing 17, and also announced plans to produce Bollywood for the substantial Indian market. If the market a brand is expanding into has existing, native incarnations of the same service, it becomes even more essential that it engages with the culture, and creates a product tailored to the nuances of each new region.