Why Cultural Understanding is Key to Successful Content Marketing in a New Market

There is a lot to know about your target market before you can even begin to communicate, establish brand relationships, grow sales, and experience success in growing your brand in that market.  


In other words, your home market content approach is N/A in other parts of the world.  Why? 


People in different cultures see the world through another lens, behave differently, and think in unique ways. The diversity of behavior and perception across cultures is exciting, interesting and enriching.   (Part of the reason why travel is important…a different post).  In short: people in new target markets are different from what you know for your home market and that means a different approach is required.


First, you need to deeply understand the cultural landscape in the new market and master your knowledge of the consumer before publishing one word.  You need to develop cultural intelligence. 


What is Cultural Intelligence?


Cultural intelligence is the ability to understand a culture and apply those insights to your strategy.  It is a theory within management and organizational psychology that states that understanding the impact of an individual’s cultural background on their behavior and measuring an individual’s ability to engage successfully in any environment or social setting based on culture is essential for effective business. It’s a process and an approach.  You’ll also hear it called cultural fluency and cultural agility.  


Having a deep understanding of your buyer is the only way to make sure your marketing strategies are aligned to what they really want and need. This lets you tailor your brand experiences for them.  


How to build a target market buyer persona


Just like in your home market, you need a buyer persona.  This is a profile of your target buyer based on market research and data, including:


  • demographics (name, age, location, marriage status, income, education, etc), and 
  • psychographics (their beliefs, how they buy, preferences, values and fears, etc.). 


This list will get you started in thinking about how people in each culture differs from your own.


  • What do they believe, feel, prefer, and value? 
  • What do you know about their buying preferences, process, and behavior? 
  • Where do they get their information, and how do they prefer to consume content? 
  • What are the audience’s expectations in your new target market? 
  • Do you know your local customers needs, issues and interests? 


You can do a lot of research, but really the best way to understand your buyer is to speak to them: directly in phone calls, by shooting them an email, by asking on social, by creating a survey or poll. Your sales and account teams also can provide insight since they are close to customers. 


Finding cultural information


There are many many companies offering cultural ‘guides’ which are assessment or reports that cover the norms, customs, preferences, how to market to other cultures, and how to do business in other cultures. Those guides are everywhere, or you can turn to custom research which offers deeper intelligence, but can be expensive and time consuming. 


Check out:



Moving into insights and action


Yet, having all that data does not mean having the insights you need in order to apply that to your business. Knowing the data is one thing, activating it quite another. Also, sometimes there’s too much information – and you need a professional agency to tell you what really matters and how to apply it to your business.  And be careful of oversimplified insights due to time pressures.  


This is where engaging a firm (like a Language Services Provider) can help you use this information to craft your strategy. They will know how to 


  • Create the videos you know your Mexican audience prefers to consume for customer support
  • How often to post in social and what channels for French consumers
  • How to design a web page that your Japanese audience will love to use
  • Write blog posts that align with the terms they are searching for
  • Recreate a campaign that uses local references, idioms and appropriate slogans


You can take your content into a new market just by translating it. That is one approach (but not a full strategy).  You might get partial results from doing it this way. However, if you really want to connect with your audience in a new market you will adapt your strategy to align with the culture of the people you are trying to connect with. 

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