Here is an interesting thought – marketing is local.
In fact, it might be that marketing can only be local. Now, before you hit the roof and point at the gazillion “global marketing” campaigns, hear me out.
Essentially, marketing is about taking what speaks to a person, relate it to a brand or a product, and attempt to engender a response, preferably a “buy” action. Now, if you fundamentally do not agree with this simple, direct definition of marketing; then you will not agree with everything in here.
To be able to speak to a person, you need to understand him. It sort of comes down to an understanding of the culture, since that provides a broad backdrop against which almost everyone in a particular community can relate to. There will always be fringes that differ enough that they do not fit. But by and large, the culture is a good entry point for most marketing efforts. From there, you distill it further into specifics.
That is why the statement earlier, that marketing is essentially local in nature. In a culture where “big is beautiful”, using skinny models have a negative impact on your brand.
International campaigns actually go against the grain and create their own culture. That is why many of them require huge budgets. But once they have the critical mass and the traction, their own sub-culture is created. That sub-culture then exists within the other social culture where the audience lives.
It is hard for marketers to understand the other person’s culture. Just saw this post about “Fish Don’t Know They’re In Water” and it does bring home the point of perspective and understanding.
That is why partnerships are so important in business. Finding a good local partner can make the difference between success and failure.
Think on it.