Cultural stereotypes might be a useful digital marketing tool, reveals research

Digital marketing, marketing communications

Do you like someone making assumptions about you based on where you’re from or the demographic that you belong to? Neither does anyone else.

However, latest research conducted by an AI marketing company called Persado reveals that cultural stereotypes could, in fact, be a useful tool for digital marketing. No matter how unlikely it may seem, but this is how modern marketing works. Most companies out there make use of cultural pigeonholing in an attempt to serve customers ‘better’.

The constantly evolving need for customer personalisation in digital marketing requires brands to gather as much information as they can about individuals. This in itself is a scary proposition with potentially far reaching consequences.

The latest research pertains to email marketing, analysing the subject lines of 3,500 mails sent out by 142 global brands. The list includes major corporations like Dell and British Airways and aims to correlate emotion with increased engagement.

Among the major stumbling blocks in marketing communications is the lack of feedback from the users’ end. And the biggest companies use cultural stereotyping to negate this problem. How?

Each of the emails was sent out to an average of 1,544,594 people. While most of the content was the same, there was one key difference for customers from different countries. Results from the data show that the best way to derive a response from UK-based customers is by invoking fear and guilt.

On the contrary, gratitude and gratification seem to be the best way to get a response from Europeans. US citizens are responsive to catch phrases that relate to anxiety and achievement.

The most effective mails eliciting a response from the UK consumers were ones with the subject line having phrases such as ‘don’t forget’ or ‘important update’. Some other subject lines also included ‘don’t miss out on this’.

US customers got emails with words like ‘here’s your reward’ or ‘you’ve really earned this’. Anxiety related phrases included ‘read this carefully’ or ‘did you forget’.

Europeans on the mailing list, however received mails with ‘thank you’ or ‘we would like to treat you with’ as marketing communications according to the demographics.

The question begs asking – if the core content accompanying these phrases is the same for all demographics and nationalities, then why the difference in packaging? The answer points to a clear need for culturally-distinctive phrasing to maximise the chances of user engagement.

Is this the future of digital marketing?

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