Are you launching a product or brand on the Italian market? Then it’s time to think about your digital marketing strategy. When you structure your plan, you should always make sure it’s tailored to the specific market you are hoping to win. It’s not just about mastering digital marketing techniques, but also about knowing which techniques to employ at any given time. A carefully thought-through digital marketing strategy is essential in any successful marketing campaign. One common mistake that many brands make is the assumption that, because we live in a globalised world, audiences all over the world have the same reactions to digital marketing techniques and messages. This is, in fact, not the case. A lot of cultural, technological and historical factors come into play, which might make the same strategy a wild success in a certain Country and a complete failure in another. How should you go about planning your digital marketing strategy for the Italian market? We have a few tips for you.
Plan a successful digital marketing strategy for your Italian campaign
Social media marketing vs web marketing
Reactions to social media vary across different audiences. Currently social media, particularly Facebook, are the most effective and the most widely used digital marketing tool in Italy, with only about 10% of campaigns relying on digital strategies that do not include the use of social media platforms (i.e. based exclusively on SEO, SEM and PPC). It may seem obvious, but it is actually worth noting that marketers need to keep their non-social digital marketing skills up to date. The recent wave of mistrust against Facebook and social media in general might result, in the long run, in social media campaigns being less effective than they are now. And why we are on the subject of social media, unless you are aiming for a very specific market niche, Facebook should be your primary digital marketing tool: other platforms, with the possible exception of Twitter, have not been as successful in Italy as elsewhere.
Again, Facebook is king. Over 80% of paid ads on the internet, in Italy, are Facebook ads. Beware, however, that some of the finest tools for audience profiling that can be used in certain international markets (and particularly in the US) are not available in Italy. Google Adwords Keyword and Adwords Display, put together, struggle to reach the same investments as Facebook. While Adwords are generally perceived as a reliable digital marketing tool, their efficacy has been disputed on multiple occasions. The increased awareness of audiences with regard to privacy options and an overall weariness of targeted ads has impacted Adwords campaigns (as well as other digital campaigns) greatly. Other tools, like Yahoo and Bing, have long since stopped producing relevant results.
Tone and content
After taking a look at the data, it’s time to take a look at the cultural aspect of digital marketing in Italy. When it comes to planning the content of your campaign, you should always make sure to incorporate Italian talent into your creative team. The reason is pretty simple: what works within a certain culture in terms of tone, imagery and pace, might fail in another. It is well known, for instance, that American marketing culture places great importance on enthusiasm and positivity, whereas that same attitude is perceived in Italy as being contrived, unnatural and therefore untrustworthy. Believe it or not, one of the most successful commercials in recent Italian history features a whole family being hit by asteroids over multiple episodes. Themes like race and religion are also perceived differently in Italy than in other markets, which means that subjects that can be considered sensitive in Italy are pretty harmless in other countries and vice-versa. Make sure you research cultural differences before you launch your campaign.
Google urban slang
Does your brand name sound funny in Italian? Research it and ask a native speaker! Through the years, several brands have had to withdraw from Italian market or change the spelling or pronunciation of their products, because the original versions had alternate meanings in Italian that were not aligned with their brand values (when they were not outright unacceptable, because they happened to sound or be spelled like Italian swearwords). We are not going to give you examples of that, lest our Italian readers should reproach us for being rude, but just trust us on this one. This is a perfect example of “better safe than sorry”. There’s nothing worse than sounding funny, when you are trying to be serious.