The APAC market is often a natural next step for US and European companies looking to expand beyond their home markets. However, company leaders who have led those expansions on the ground say there are a common set of misconceptions businesses carry into their new ventures that inevitably slow growth.

That’s true in a market like Australia or NZ, which superficially seems almost identical to a US or UK marketer for instance, as it is with Singapore or Hong Kong.

In a series of interviews with country managers and head office and direct response marketers, we identified a number of common themes. It is important to;

  • Understand the nuances of the many markets that make up the APAC region,
  • Develop strategies that best fit the market and the correct tactics to deliver the strategy,
  • Ensure the capabilities meet the requirements of the company whatever its level of maturity.

All of these are necessary to ensure the successful rollout and scale-up of technology businesses in the Asia Pacific region.

Simple matters like managing time differences are hard enough. And of course, there are more significant issues such as language and culture.

Hard messages

Wouter Koch, the former head of Asia Pacific for Survey Monkey, says getting the head office to understand that the home market template can’t always easily be replicated all across APAC can be one of the hardest messages to deliver.

Talend’s Carol Hague says she turned to Australia-based marketing agency Mountainview Creative to fill the gap on building awareness or demand for a local market.

“They can customize the approach depending on the client’s needs from operational processes, build campaign framework, sales enablement to event and executive execution. That’s the benefit of a  full-service agency.”

APAC Managing Director, Paul Wilcox agrees,  Mountainview Creative “brought the different components of lead generation and business building and marketing together.” “Suddenly marketing was all working in sync, integrating together seamlessly, instead of operating like separate and siloed initiatives. That was the immediate impact, and it literally happened in a matter of weeks.”

Communication is the key, say the country managers we spoke with, who confirmed that they often struggled to gain traction with head office due to their relatively small scale as they were starting out.

Wouter Koch, who led Survey Monkey’s APAC expansion says this was the reason he chose Mountainview Creative. “We tried, in the beginning, to do the marketing ourselves in my own team. We scaled the team and we were seven people or something. We tried to write our case studies ourselves, we tried to write or to use the content that headquarters created for us. We would use our content and try to literally copy-paste that and send that into our markets in Australia. That didn’t work.”

According to Sumologic’s, Maurina Venturelli, Senior Director Demand Generation and Marketing “When companies are ramping within specific regions, it’s important to have marketers with vast knowledge across multiple aspects of marketing — everything from analytics and public relations, sales development rep best practices, sales acceleration, general demand generation.”

Echoing Venturelli’s sentiment, Sumologic’s Paul Wilcox says

“The most immediate result we had working with Mountainview Creative was that they brought sense to everything. Previously everything was very eclectic. We would assume it was a good idea to do events, or a good idea to do digital marketing. We were reacting and responding, not planning and strategizing.”

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To discuss your APAC growth plans or for further information about Mountainview Creative contact Audrey Bogdanovic on 0411 300 151 or visit www.mountainviewcreative.com.au

This article is published by Which-50’s Digital Intelligence Unit (DIU) on behalf of Mountainview Creative. DIU Members pay to share their expertise and insights with Which-50’s audience of senior executives.

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