What are your biggest cross-cultural marketing problems?


At an E3 European Agency Network meeting in October, we asked member agencies what the most common cross-cultural, or intercultural, points of pain for their international clients were. Some of the answers were surprising. How do yours compare?

Survey: What are the biggest problems your international clients face in cross-cultural marketing?

1. Marketing built mostly around “interruption” instead of “engagement.” Attempting to solve marketing problems through paid mass media.

2. Viewing digital as a separate discipline rather than part of every action.

3. Campaigns focused on “one-to-many” instead of “one-to-one.” Irrational fear of databases and CRM, which are the future of marketing. Mass messaging instead of mass customization. Broadcasting instead of narrowcasting.

4. Continuing to focus on “brand-to-customer” communications at the expense of “customer-to-customer” communications. Viewing customers mostly as an audience instead of as a medium. Continuing to practice controlled communications instead of open conversations.

5. Lack of analytics and tools to measure and demonstrate effectiveness.

6. Linear instead of organic approach to marketing. Moving on to the next campaign vs. analyzing and optimizing the current campaign.

7. Developing media plans instead of channel, communications, conversation, or engagement plans. Media placement instead of media creation.

8. Creating brand transactions instead of brand relationships. Producing one-time sales instead of helping clients nurture and cultivate customer relationships.

9. Continuing to rely on the mass media-centric “big idea” instead of “big multichannel ideas.”

10. Working exclusively in the realm of brand perception instead of brand experience. Helping customers only in the “pre-purchase” phase instead of purchase and post-purchase.

11. Standing for everything instead of standing for something.

12. Continuing to allocate budgets to media instead of creative ideas. In a world where many of the most powerful media have a cost of $0, ideas are the real currency of marketing, not money.

What are yours?


23 Responses to “What are your biggest cross-cultural marketing problems?”

  1. 1 Nick Wreden

    Excellent. I would add two more:

    Failure to do the necessary cultural and other research before strategy etc. development.

    Thinking that other cultures, etc. are just “white males with different colored skin and body parts”

  2. Great thoughts. Thanks!

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