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Europe and Asia: Email Marketing on Two Continents

  |  May 18, 2012   |  Comments   |  

How Asia can look to Europe and Europe to Asia for email marketing best practices.

The cultural differences between Europe and Asia are well known, and as a consequence, the business climate can be quite different as well. But what about email marketing? There are differences in the digital infrastructure as well as in local laws and regulations – but the greatest difference is in the use of mobile devices.

Asia is Asia, and Europe is Europe. Do they ever meet? Yes, in some cases they actually do. But talking about email marketing, we often look at the U.S. for inspiration and updates on the latest trends. Because the U.S. is a single market with a single language. Therefore, it doesn't really make sense to compare either Europe or Asia. For one, both Europe and Asia have several markets with many different languages – and they pose completely different challenges to marketers.

That is why it is also imperative to be aware of the technical infrastructure and the way marketers and consumers are used to in terms of communicating.

Take a look at Europe where email marketing is generally regarded as one of the most cost-effective ways when starting and maintaining a one-to-one relationship with customers. It is a marketing tool that gives marketers easy access to statistics – and great sales of course. Bright idea right?

But for Asian marketers, email marketing may be a bit more challenging where few major brands do email marketing – perhaps due to language barriers. Or because government regulations have been too hard – or too soft, resulting in severe spam issues. Or perhaps because consumers have been reluctant to share their email addresses to marketers. Whatever the reason may be, email marketing is not as popular in Asia as compared to the other parts of the world. From a technical standpoint, Europe has had an advantage with widespread broadband connections and personal computers. And now, the mobile revolution is about to even out the playfield, making Asia a whole lot more interesting for email marketers.

Let's look at some numbers.

According to radicati.com, the number of worldwide email accounts is expected to increase from 3.1 billion in 2011 to nearly 4.1 billion by 2015. This represents an average annual growth rate of 7 percent over the next three years. Geographically, the majority of email users today are located in Asia where 49 percent of the world's email users reside while Europe accounts for about 22 percent of worldwide email users as per mobithinking.com. But the number of email accounts is just one side of the story.

Asia can be considered the most exciting part of the world when it comes to mobile communication. Here we find technologically advanced markets such as Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong that are at the cutting edge of finding innovative ways to use the mobile technology.

For many people in these nations, the logical step is to skip the PC altogether and go mobile from the start. This means that the mobile will unavoidably become the firsthand medium that most public access the Internet in Asia.

In fact, mobile is currently on track to override both webmail and email desktop clients for the instrument of choice to view emails. It may happen as soon as this year or within the next few years. So watch out for that.

Let's look at some numbers again - stay with me.

The statistics for Europe and Asia regarding active mobile broadband subscriptions is quite compelling. Based on mobithinking.com, there are 336 million users in Europe and 431 million in Asia. Per 100 people, this roughly means 54 in Europe and 11 in Asia.

Asia is already ahead in the number of subscribers – and is well on its way to match Europe when it comes to the percentage of users in certain age groups. Mobile-broadband subscriptions have grown 45 percent annually over the last four years and there is no sign of a declining curve in the years to come (mobithinking.com).

Mobile access will overtake PC access in Asia, making it the largest mobile market in the world. It will be a market where mobile is the natural way for companies and organizations to connect with the majority of their customers.

So, let the record show that the lesson for marketers in Asia who are seeking an effective way to communicate must look into email marketing and optimize all deliveries for mobile users. Make Europe a basis to learn more about email marketing being an excellent one-to-one communication tool.

And our advice for Europeans? Look at Asia to learn more about the possibilities of mobile marketing where mobile communicators grow exponentially!

Home page photo from Shutterstock.

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Jonas Blanck

With more than a decade of experience in email marketing, Jonas has been working as CTO and business development at leading ESP, Apsis in Europe. As an avid entrepreneur, he took on the challenge of starting the operations in Asia and resides in Hong Kong since four years ago.     

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