When Technology Doesn't Translate

It is clear that the trend of centralising brand marketing and communication activities in headquarters is real. The principal argument for such centralisation, of course, is cost savings. And while there may be some truth in that, the question remains – is it as effective? Or is centralisation costing more money in lower results?

For example many organisations rely on central planning for rolling out digital initiatives in many different markets. The risk is in missing some of the key differences in those markets.

According to Orange Exposure 2011, a study that researched European habits in mobile Internet services and content, Spaniards increased their use of smartphones in one year from 29 percent in 2010 to 71 percent in 2011. At the same time, adoption of tablets went from 28 percent to 51 percent. Impressive numbers, but still tremendous room for growth compared to penetration in France and the UK.

More significant, however, is how Spaniards use these technologies. More so than their French and British neighbours, Spaniards are heavier users of smartphones for entertainment. It’s a way to kill time when no other screens are available for viewing. Tablets, on the other hand, are used more to save time and for more efficient navigation.

Spaniards consume more entertainment content on-demand and streaming through smartphones and tablets than through traditional media. Still, tablet users are far more likely to have used their device to complete a purchase than those relying on smartphones (60 percent vs. 35 percent). Spanish users also rely more heavily on their browser, as opposed to dedicated apps, to access the Internet than those in many western economies. In Spain, apps remain in an incipient phase.

The pace of development and adoption of mobile technology is different in each country.  Focusing on a single strategy for both content development and online communication is, therefore, not a valid approach. It’s important for marketers to understand the pace of technology development and adoption in specific markets and cultures so that they can be sure they’re delivering meaningful content through relevant channels.

Bottom line: If your audience is more comfortable buying online using a tablet, your plans for a phone-centred secure shopping app may be ill-advised.


by Ana Garcia-Hierro
General Manager, gyro Madrid

Follow Ana on Twitter @Ana5Names

Cross posted at Ignite Something on the Forbes CMO Network