Recently, a friend of mine returned from her summer vacation in Provence, France and, thoroughly enchanted with the place, she recommended I read Peter Mayle’s “Encore Provence”. The book, written by a British author who made his home in Provence, is most intriguing when he describes the cultural differences of the region. Through his anecdotes we come to appreciate that the differences are real and, though experienced immediately, they can only be understood with time and after many personal encounters.
When I started reading I was guilty, much as you probably are, of assuming that the only prominent cultural differences would come from an Anglophone living in a Francophone environment, but this was not the case. Peter Mayle elaborates on the beauty of Provence by contrasting its people’s ways with the Parisian way, with the British way, and with the American way. He even touches on the differences between Marseille and Avignon, both in Provence, and how the ways of carrying out business in one does not necessarily apply to the other.
Peter Mayle’s comparisons are useful in reminding organizations that when you first consider entering a new market, or you are about to launch a new product to a target market with which you are not fully familiar, it is instrumental that you ensure:
- You have identified the prospective market that would most benefit from your solution
- Your target market can afford your solution
- You understand how your target market operates and how your prospective clients expect to do business with you
- Your solution features are highlighted in a way that fits like a lock and key, allowing you to effortlessly open the door to your prospective clients
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All the above is a result of:
- A well-thought marketing strategy
- Fine customization of your branding to the market that you are after
- Creative marketing campaigns that attract the attention of your specific target market
- Constant evaluation of your marketing results to ensure that you truly address your prospects’ needs
Cultural differences are just one of the angles of buying personas and target audiences.