International Marketing News: Subscriptions Gaining Appeal Across Industries

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International Digital Marketing Executive, Andrea Diaz, takes us through all of the recent news in international marketing, from subscriptions gaining industry-wide appeal, to how to learn from the past 18 months. Read more.

International Marketing News: Subscriptions Gaining Appeal Across Industries

Across this week's International Marketing News Round-Up, there's a look into subscription services gaining popularity, the unpredictability of UK trade data, luxury brands localising in China and how to learn from the pandemic.

Do Subscriptions Work For Every Industry?

From fashion and FMCG to streaming on-demand, fitness, and cosmetics, subscription-based business models are gaining appeal in a variety of industries.

Subscription models sit at the crossroads of customer loyalty and income, ensuring that consumers will return for as long as they are subscribers. The benefits of the concept are obvious: a subscribing client has a far higher customer lifetime value (CLV) and a naturally closer, continuous relationship with the brand to which they subscribe.

The concept of travel subscriptions has grown in popularity in recent years. Skift recognises it as one of its Travel Megatrends for 2020, describing it as the "next frontier of loyalty."

Lorraine Sileo, Senior Analyst and Founder of Phocuswright Research hosted a panel at the virtual travel conference Phocuswright Europe Online 2021 to debate whether and how subscription models could work for travel. Kanika Soni, Tripadvisor's Chief Commercial Officer, and Lennert De Jong, CitizenM Hotels' Chief Commercial Officer, discussed the subscription packages released by their respective brands, as well as why now is the appropriate time to launch subscriptions in travel.

Subscription models, according to Soni, have the potential to flourish in the travel industry because "consumers have already modified their purchasing patterns and behaviours – they've adopted subscriptions as a business model that works for them, and this is especially true for Gen Zs and Millennials."

UK Trade Data is Expected To Remain Unpredictable

After a big drop at the start of the year, UK exports to the EU recovered to pre-Brexit levels in April.

According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), EU exports were only slightly down in April than in the same month last year, according to City AM. In the first month of this year, the UK exported £130 billion to the EU, compared to £132 billion two years earlier.

Exports to the EU and the rest of the globe were down 14% in the first four months of 2021 compared to the same period last year.

However, thanks to a 21% drop in imports, the UK's trade deficit shrank from £63 billion to £43 billion over the same time period. Several distinct reasons hindered trade in the first half of the year, including pre-Christmas stockpiling and businesses' "teething troubles" with new customs procedures and IT systems.

As components of the country's commercial agreements with the EU and non-EU markets continue to be negotiated and susceptible to shifting legislation, volatility in UK trade is expected to persist for the foreseeable future. Firms, for example, will now have to adapt to new EU VAT laws that take effect today, as highlighted in yesterday's IOE&IT Daily Update.

The Most Effective Methods For Luxury Brands to Localise in China

On the Mainland, most luxury brands now recognise the value of customisation and personalisation. Brands must use adaptable localisation techniques in a vast and geographically diversified market like Greater China.

So, how can international luxury brands adapt their retail experiences to the Chinese market?
  • Tailoring content
Because each target demographic has different goals and aspirations, and because China is such a large market, marketers must tailor appealing content to each location. Furthermore, when developing content, marketers must take into account China's demographic segments and their characteristics, as well as lifestyle choices, income ranges, education or school enrollment statuses, professional statuses, and even family sizes.
  • Localising design
Localizing design is more difficult than it appears, as brands must balance "appropriation with appreciation." Recognise local practices, traditions, and social and cultural norms as a good place to start. However, overcoming language difficulties makes this step more challenging, and many global companies have been lost in translation in China.
  • Building a localized marketing strategy
Coach, an American shop, might teach global luxury businesses a thing or two. Coach has established a significant social media presence on Weibo and WeChat, has created limited-edition products tailored specifically for the Chinese market (such as the Chinese New Year campaign), and has incorporated unique services such as cash-on-delivery payment.
  • Using big data analytics to have a better understanding of local customers
Brands like Louis Vuitton, Burberry, and Nike are ahead of the curve, use social media analytics and customer data to predict future trends and purchasing patterns. Nike, for example, stores inventories using consumer data. Gucci salespeople also use iPads loaded with consumer information to assist them in creating customised sales offers.

How To Take The Past 18 Months Learnings and Drive Business Growth 

Life has changed dramatically after COVID-19 was proclaimed a pandemic. We've witnessed significant changes in how people interact with businesses around the world. Customers went online to investigate, research, and plan more of their purchases, which changed their buying habits dramatically. During the epidemic, the new reality required many firms to drastically alter their marketing strategy; others hastened plans that were already in the works.
Four marketing leaders from different industries who implemented customer-centric reforms to ensure their companies are ready for the future.

  • William White, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer at Walmart U.S.
In a hypercompetitive market, Walmart realised it needed to establish brand loyalty to gain repeat customers. Walmart+, a new type of membership that gives shoppers privileges that help them save time and money, such as scan-and-go mobile checkout in stores and fast, free shipping for online orders, was the solution. In addition, to promote customer relationships, Walmart began delivering larger-scale "brand gestures," such as presenting drive-in movies in store parking lots.
  • Julia Vander Ploeg, SVP and Global Head of Digital and Technology at Hyatt Hotels
Hyatt has long recognised the value of bringing together leaders from marketing, data and analytics, engineering, product, and other departments to share the same mindset: signals in signals out. With this mindset, the company was able to integrate its data platforms across each team's systems, ensuring that they were using the same data to offer consistent brand experiences.
  • Fara Howard, Chief Marketing Officer at GoDaddy
When the epidemic struck, GoDaddy rapidly learned that consumers required assistance in new and unusual ways. As a result, GoDaddy launched #OpenWeStand, a campaign that brought together more than 70 corporate partners to assist entrepreneurs in navigating small business ownership during difficult times. GoDaddy organised a wealth of materials on the campaign site to enable small businesses to rally around a powerful call to action: "How to stay open, even if your doors are shuttered."
  • Suzy Deering, Global Chief Marketing Officer at Ford Motor Company
Ford began questioning everything from its organisational silos to its leadership to the future of its automobiles under the guidance of a new CEO. As part of the process, the company formed a strategic relationship with Google to fundamentally reimagine customer experiences using new technology such as enhanced linked vehicles and more tailored services like real-time maintenance requests.
And that brings us to the end of this week's International Marketing News. If you'd like to discuss any of the news covered - please do not hesitate to get in touch.
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