Marketing a Business in Belgium
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Marketing a Business in Belgium
The international transition of a business is more than just costs and procedures. It's more cultural acclimatisation than calculatory acumen. It's making sure your product or service fits the inclinations and idiosyncrasies of a nation; finding a way to culturalise your business in order to reap the same results your business has achieved domestically. This is accomplished through one simple step: effective marketing.
Marketing your business on indigenous soil is an art-form in itself; attempting to do it overseas is nigh-on miraculous. Countries may be becoming more heterogeneous, but the foundations of a culture rarely budge for anything: their sensitivities, traditions, humour, discourses, protocols are essentially unchanging and stubbornly unaccommodating. Therefore, the identity of your product or service needs to seamlessly fashion itself upon a nation, not the other way around, shoehorned in, hoping for the best.
Advertising and Sales promotions in Belgium
One major obstacle when advertising in Belgium is the linguistic divide, although there are all types of advertising throughout Belgium. Business-to-business advertising in English is acceptable in some sectors, but in most cases advertising will need to be in both local languages. In others it must be adapted to regional taste or sensitivities. Belgians prefer advertising that stands out for being stylist, classy or original and are less receptive to aggressive advertising.
There are several newspapers and over 400 free newspapers. The free newspaper has a total circulation of 9 million and are mostly controlled by three advertising the groups covering the whole country.
Radio and television allows commercial advertising is allowed with some restrictions on advertising airtime. There are 150 local or regional radio and television stations, particularly in Walllonia. Over 80% of Belgian homes are connected to the cable TV network and are able to receive upwards of 25 stations programmes from Britain, Germany, Luxembourg, France, the Netherlands and other countries.
Belgiums are keen to protect their privacy, so phone canvassing is not very popular and email marketing is usually on a opt in basis. Any advertising literature should be written in all region languages.
Cultural sensitivity and understanding of protocol is paramount to effective marketing. The intricacies of a nation its beliefs, even its superstitions can make or break your business. Know the market; immerse yourself in it. Never assume your marketing strategy will be transplantable to a foreign country. There is only a slim chance language will translate well. Anglophonic countries may be susceptible, but if your product or service plays on a quintessentially British characteristic or joke the chances are, it will not be well received.
As for other countries, don't bank on using the same strap-lines or gimmicks. Unless they are perfectly transitional, your product or service could suffer especially if it relies on humour.
Unless you are certain your product or service can sell itself on indigenous merits, it is probably wise to revise its selling-points for a foreign market. As always, however, only your own fastidious research can conclude this.
First impressions are important to the Belgiums are so dress smart and professional. When greeting a Belgium it is good etiquette to shake their hand. Always be polite and well mannered and it is considered rude to be confrontational. They prefer their communication to be based on reason and logical. Although they are more direct in their communication than many cultures, if a response is too direct it may be seen as simplistic. Subtly is a reflection of intelligence.