Monday, December 6, 2010

Social Marketing in Asia. How a thousand noodle shops all make money on the same street.

Social marketing, Comparison Shopping, PowerPoint, Asia, technobabble, Western marketing experts show up in Asia everyday and marvel at how 1000 shops, all selling basically the same thing can survive at all on the same street. Noodles, pipe, safes, chainsaws and all manner of parity products all exist in the same universe without much need for discounts, price wars or nasty comparison tests on TV that show customers shlurping brand 'A' noodles over brand 'B' noodles. And the western marketing experts scratch their heads again. "Don't consumers comparison shop? Don't they care that Vinh's pipe uses recycled materials over the carcinogenic ingredients in Chang's pipe?" And the answer is, "Not really", because the customer was not brought into the shop by painstakingly crafted advertising that logically sold them the benefits of quality, eco-friendly blah blah, price/value or any other of a number of other logical sells. The customer was enticed by trust, by friendship, by honor and by loyalty to others. The customer came because of his/her membership in a very exclusive social network - a network of friends and family. The customer was sold on emotion - or quite possibly even the thought of the negative emotions he/she might feel if they bought the chainsaw from a family competitor, even at a steep discount.

This is the power of social marketing in Asia. Fast forward to the age of the Internet and Web 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 or whatever we are like to call it today. It's just Asia 1.0 about a hundred or a number of hundred years ago.

Social marketing, Comparison Shopping, PowerPoint, Asia, technobabble, This week I will attend a digital marketing conference, an advertising award show and yet another digital workshop that will be extra heavy on the digits - certainly those used to pluck on computer keyboards. I will sit through reams of data, Powerpoint shows that could put dinosaurs to sleep, and more technobabble than you can shake a mouse at and all I'm going to care about is how all that technology works to bring people together and create and support the social networks they already have. Social Marketing may not have been digitized in Asia but it was certainly created here - and no matter what we may think we are selling, we would do very well to remember that.
blog comments powered by Disqus

The Wild Wild East Dailies

D a v i d E v e r i t t - C a r l s o n
Find me on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Read my blog: The Wild Wild East Dailies and keep up on our efforts with aSaigon/CreativeMorning.