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May 16 2017
We recently delivered a global digital marketing training program for a company with operations around the world, and one of the things we were surprised by was that in many markets, global digital marketing trends were much more advanced vs. the United States.
In the U.S, email is still one of the top forms of communications (although we do hear that millennials are less into it), but in many global markets email isn’t really a relevant channel. In some Asian markets very few people check email any more so businesses need to find new ways to connect with them.
Instead of email, people use messaging apps like What’s App, WeChat, or other services. Outside of the U.S. almost everyone uses What’s App, although in the U.S. it isn’t well known. Globally we’ve seen work teams use it for collaboration, businesses use it to connect with customers, and most people use it instead of sms or phone calls. It is the go-to way to communicate with people. If you step back and think about it, this could (and maybe will) totally replace the idea of phone numbers. Why do you really need a phone number if people can find and connect with you online via Messaging or Facebook?
Many Asian countries have more cell phones than people – and use their phones instead of computers. While in the U.S. people use smartphones heavily, they aren’t a substitute for computers. In developing countries the infrastructure for internet didn’t achieve scale – so consumers skipped computers with internet and went straight to mobile phones. In the U.S. we talk about “mobile first” but the reality is mobile and desktop are both still relevant. In many countries, mobile is the only thing that matters.
In Singapore, mobile payments (where you can pay with your phone) is big and widely used. Almost every store, café and restaurant accepted mobile payments – which are faster and easier vs. traditional bank cards or cash. Mobile payments in the US are somewhat used in some big U.S. cities, but haven’t really achieved the mass adoption required to make them really mainstream. In Singapore they are everywhere.
In the U.S. businesses think of Facebook as biggest, but often just as important could be Instagram, Pinterest, SnapChat or Twitter. Globally Facebook is clearly #1 (PERIOD) but most of the other social networks don’t have enough adoption to warrant significant effort. Facebook is so much bigger vs. everything else and can be easily replicated across markets/countries making it one of the best opportunities to scale.
Have you noticed any global trends that haven’t caught on in the U.S. yet?
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