With a title like that one, you might think that I will share tightly guarded American secrets. Actually, marketing your product or service in the United States is probably more similar to marketing in your home country than it is different. But here are some marketing trends that may affect how you approach the American market:
Traditional Advertising is in Steep Decline
Quite honestly, many of us are relieved to see advertising de-emphasized in America. There is less money going into both TV and print advertising. Online advertising has increased, but like in most places the click-through rates plummeted several years ago. What has taken its place is BRANDING. Branding includes the customer’s entire experience and impression of a product or service. Branding starts with a customer’s first impression of the product/service and continues through the use of the product and sometimes long after its use. Brands in both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) are carefully cultivated. Smart companies work hard to provide a consistent brand experience to customers (high quality, premium pricing, excellent customer service, value-add reselling, etc).
Technology Usage is High, But Not as High as Elsewhere
Most Americans assume that technology in the United States is the most advanced in the world. Media helps keep most Americans sheltered from the reality that plenty of other countries have passed us up in terms of mobile technologies and various areas of social media. In planning your marketing in the U.S., keep in mind that many people still don’t use social media regularly, particularly men in their 50’s and 60’s who may be part of your decision-making demographic for B2C or B2B. You may want to consult with an American marketing specialist in your industry to seek advice on how to get the most out of technology-related marketing while not confusing or missing key market segments.
Humor Isn’t Always Funny
One of the least translatable cultural communications is humor. One only has to watch Japanese game shows to understand what I mean. I am always reminded of the Mentos breathe mint ads, which ran for many years on American television. Mentos is a Dutch brand and the commercials were the same ones run on Dutch TV because they used situational comedy. Dutch commercials follow a fairly standard format, which always seemed off beat of the American culture. I’m sure our commercials would seem awkward to the Dutch TV watchers as well. Humor can be a useful tool in marketing – it can catch someone’s attention and it can also “break the ice” (American expression meaning to get passed the uncomfortable feelings of being introduced for the first time). You may always just want to run your humor idea by an American before using it in your marketing.
The Best Marketing Tools Generate Qualified Leads
I recommend judging most marketing options based on their ability to both generate qualified sales leads and also to work symbiotically with the rest of the marketing program. The American market offers many marketing options, including distributors and representatives, trade shows, direct mail, email, sponsorships of key non-profit organizations, social media, promotions, events, and yes – even advertising.
I hope this article was helpful.
Read more articles on American Market Entry from The International Entrepreneur site.