When planning an international marketing campaign, it is essential to be aware of the specific outlook of different markets. It’s not only about cultural differences and messages: you have to take into account how popular different platforms and techniques are in individual countries. This applies to any kind of marketing: whether you are using social media or billboards, you will have to factor in the whole context in which your marketing campaign is experienced by the public. What do you need to know before you plan your marketing campaign in Italy? Here’s a brief summary of important information you might want to consider.
Digital and online marketing in Italy
One thing you should be aware of is that, while the content marketing has been decreasing in popularity all over the world over the past year, it is still one of the most widely used marketing tools in Italy. On the other hand, Italian companies spend generally less on digital marketing than their international counterparts, particularly when it comes to marketing automation tools. This means that content marketing in Italy still requires considerable resources in term of working hours and human capital. It is worth noting that most Italian brands, particularly major ones, still rely heavily on traditional marketing channels such as radio and tv ads, which necessarily reduces the budget that can be assigned to online marketing. When Italian companies do invest in online marketing, they mean mostly “social media marketing”: company websites are little more than an afterthought. E-commerce platforms, on the other hand, are on the rise and customers will expect to be able to buy directly from the seller, particularly within niches that are growing to mistrust online retailers, such as Amazon.
Marketing your product within a cultural environment that has a somewhat traditional outlook has its perks. For instance, it allows you to innovate safely – which might seem like an oxymoron, but it is not, in this context. Incorporating new technologies into your marketing campaign can be risky, if sad technologies haven’t been thoroughly tested in a marketing environment. On the other hand, if your audiences are extremely tech-savvy, you will have a very short window in which to experiment with tools and techniques that will amaze them and catch their attention. If, on the other hand, you are marketing to an audience that is mostly used to traditional advertising, you can turn to technologies that are widely tested elsewhere, but still new and impressive within the market you are aiming for. If your marketing campaign in Italy includes virtual or augmented reality, for instance, you are likely to leave a lasting impression on your audience and stand out among your competitors.
Focus on brand awareness for your marketing campaign
Brand awareness is essential anywhere, but in Italy it is particularly important within certain industrial clusters, such as food, lifestyle and fashion, where brands are strongly perceived as part of the consumer’s identity. This means that campaigns always focus on brand awareness to some extent, even when brand awareness is not their main goal (e.g. product launches, seasonal sales etc).
When planning your marketing campaign in Italy, you should be aware that Italian audiences pay close attention to the product’s actual quality. This has much to do with Italy’s manufacturing tradition, as well as with the way advertising has been handled, for the best part of the XX Century, by the national media. If the quality of your product is not up to par with the quality of your marketing campaign, your initial success will backfire and your brand reputation will be impacted.
It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it
If you have launched a successful marketing campaign elsewhere, don’t think you can just translate it into Italian and have it work equally well: that’s not going to happen. Tone and imagery are extremely important and it is always worth investigating the specific sensitivities of a national audience. Exceedingly bold statements such as are common in American advertising, for instance, are likely to be considered arrogant or scoffed at by an Italian audience. A modicum of understatement and irony, on the other hand, are likely to be appreciated.