Want to learn how to win over the Vietnam market through marketing and advertising? Traditional marketing and advertising in Vietnam used to revolve around television, radio, and billboards. But, the ever-changing and developing technology has changed the way businesses promote their products.
More than 70% of Vietnam’s consumers today are internet users. 78% of their total population is active on social media. More importantly, one of the top reasons Vietnamese use the internet is for researching brands, products, and services. This immediately shifts the way businesses launch their campaign, from physical to digital.
Penetrating the Vietnamese market is no easy feat. Just 30 years ago Vietnam had closed doors for international businesses. It was only in 2021 when it became one of the largest international consumer markets. Today, it is ranked as the 5th country with the highest internet penetration rate. International brands must take this opportunity to introduce their products to the local market.
In this article, AJ Marketing founders Arthur Sabalionis and Joon Kim are sharing tips on how to leverage new technologies to advertise in Vietnam. If you want to learn how to market your business in Vietnam, you came to the right place. Let’s take a look!
5 Tips for Marketing in Vietnam
- Put Yourself in Your Audience’s Shoes: know your audience’s culture, behavior and demographics
- Make Your Content Relatable: your audience must see themselves in your marketing and advertising campaign
- Tickle Their Senses: explore the rising trend of music advertisements
- Find Trustworthy People: find out who the audience trusts and collaborate with them
- Work with Those On the Ground: find a local marketing partner who knows the Vietnam market inside and out
Tip #1: Put Yourself in Your Audience’s Shoes: know your audience’s culture, behavior and demographics
Did you know that Vietnam has one of the oldest cultural backgrounds in Asia? Now that you do, you’re one step closer to effectively launching your campaign in this country. Vietnam’s history dates back to 4,000 years ago, making tradition very important to its people. If you’re a business entering their market, it is important to identify what the people find agreeable and what themes they dislike.
Previous advertisement “epic fails” show that understanding the Vietnamese way of life is essential. Vietnamese consumers are very sensitive towards brands that do not reflect their beliefs. This may lead to consumer discomfort or boycotting.
One example of an advertisement that received backlash is one from a Vietnamese energy drink. This brand launched a TV commercial entitled “Mình uống đi, cho khỏe (Drink up and stay strong, honey)” which told a story of a couple. The guy in this commercial drinks the brand’s energy drink to “boost his stamina”, which implies that sexual activities will follow. The citizens criticized this commercial for exposing Vietnamese children to explicit and inappropriate content.
As you can see, launching a marketing campaign is not as easy as it sounds. You have to do your research before you start planning. This way, no time and effort would go to waste. You can also ensure that your brand’s image remains intact.
Besides knowing what the Vietnamese believe in, you should also know their demographics and consumer behavior. Studies show that the Vietnamese household is getting smaller by the day, and that senior citizens have increasing consumption. This trend raises the question, “how can I adjust my business to these new types of demands?”.
We also know that Vietnamese are avid internet users. But this information is not enough–you also have to identify which platforms they frequently use. The most-used platforms by internet users in Vietnam are Facebook, Zalo, TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter. Therefore, brands should adjust their digital campaigns to these social media platforms.
Launching a campaign is a long process, but it all starts with knowing your audience’s perspective and putting yourself in their shoes.
The AJ Marketing founders believe that to truly know the Vietnamese market, you must partner with people who are actually on-the-ground. Inside information is important, and not everything about the Vietnamese market can be found on the internet. Good research will allow you to ask the right questions and will help you get the right answers.
Tip #2: Make Your Content Relatable: your audience must see themselves in your marketing and advertising campaign
Now that you know your audience’s culture, it’s time to create a campaign that they will believe and understand. How do you do this? By localizing your content.
Localization of marketing content does not only refer to translations. Language translation is important, but it barely scratches the surface. Localization also means that you, as a business owner, have tailor-fitted your campaign for the Vietnamese audience. It means you are not using the same general techniques you have used in every other place. This shows the audience that you are paying attention, you’re listening to them, and you want to cater them specifically.
Take a few notes from Milo’s campaign in Vietnam. Milo is an international brand not afraid of localizing campaigns to fit its target market. In this commercial, Milo made sure that the Vietnamese can see themselves in the video.
Milo launched this 60 seconds TVC and received more than 600 stories from Vietnam customers about how their kids were growing up with sports. Instead of using child actors, Milo used real talents and real parents’ words to convey meaningful messages and relate to their target audience. This commercial hit the hearts of Vietnamese parents and motivated young kids to express their love for sports.
In order to drive sales, the audience must first envision themselves using your product or service. “How can this product help me in my daily activities?” “Does this product meet my needs?” “In what situations will I use this product in the future?” These are questions you have to answer through your marketing campaign.
Tip #3: Tickle Their Senses: explore the rising trend of music advertisements
The Vietnamese LOVE music. Their top YouTube search is “karaoke”, and they spend 2 hours a day listening to music streaming sites and the radio. Moreover, there’s a rising popularity of marketing campaigns which use catchy tunes that Vietnamese can’t get out of their heads.
Several brands have already explored using music in their online commercials. Dove, for example, used this technique which resulted in one of the most successful TV commercials in Vietnam.
Dove collaborated with the famous singer, Trang, and composed a song whose message inspired women all over Vietnam. The commercial encouraged women to be themselves, to feel freedom in telling their story, and to just embrace who they are. This ad garnered positive comments from Vietnamese women, saying that Dove produced good music and quality content.
Brands like Strongbow, Samsung, and Honda also used this strategy by collaborating with well-known singers in Vietnam.
True enough, music is an international language which the whole world can understand. This emerging trend in Vietnam encourages businesses to think creatively. Brands must not only focus on the visuals of a campaign, but they must also think about the audience’s sense of hearing, touch, smell, or even taste.
The founders of AJ Marketing also stated that music marketing is not exclusive to singers under big labels. There are emerging talents in Vietnam that can be found in social media. Take JSOL, for example. This singer influencer has 4 million followers on TikTok, where he posts song covers and videos of his pets.
Tip #4: Find Trustworthy People: find out who the audience trusts and collaborate with them
Influencer marketing has been dominating current marketing trends in Asia. Brands are widely choosing influencers to promote their products mainly because of their authenticity. Influencers are seen by the public as people they can relate to and can understand their problems. Thus, whenever influencers recommend a certain product, their followers trust their opinions. These opinions, in turn, influence their followers’ consumption choices.
In Vietnam, two of the most rated online purchase drivers are customer reviews and social media engagement. This means that the Vietnamese market values public and popular opinion when it comes to products. They prefer real, personal experiences over paid hard-selling advertisements. Almost 36% of internet users in Vietnam also use social media just to find new products to purchase.
These consumer habits tell us that social media platforms, influencers, and authentic content are the way to market and advertise products this 2022. The increasing popularity of influencers on social media can easily bring exposure and conversions to a new business in Vietnam. To know more about influencers in Vietnam, read AJ Marketing’s list of top influencers in YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.
Brands in Vietnam are already using this strategy, serving as successful examples for those just entering the market. One good example is the campaign by VUS.
VUS is the leading English-learning centre in Vietnam. To promote their courses and programs, VUS collaborated with micro influencers who are young mothers and asked them to experience the VUS services with their children.
The influencers posted their honest reviews on Facebook which gained VUS more traction and exposure. The campaign gained more than 150,000 new followers for VUS’ Facebook page, and reached 24,852 engagements in just 4 weeks.
VUS showed its audience that it can be trusted because mothers who people follow on social media already trust VUS. This great campaign example shows how much the power of influencer marketing is when brands choose the right influencers.
When choosing an influencer, it is important to suit influencer size to your campaign objective. If your target is to increase conversions, you can choose micro and nano influencers. Micro and nano influencers have a better engagement rate of up to 7% and are less expensive. These influencers have higher conversion rates due to their organic involvement, whereas celebrities and KOLs are fantastic for branding and raising awareness.
But then again, how would you know which influencer to team up with? There are thousands of influencers in Vietnam that you might end up choosing someone who doesn’t match your company values. To make the right decision, you’d need the assistance of people who have already worked inside Vietnam–people who know which influencers fit which niches. This leads us to the last tip.
Tip #5: Work with Those On the Ground: find a local marketing partner who knows the Vietnam market inside and out
Partnering with a local agency can help businesses to implement tips 1 to 4 with ease. Instead of doing research from scratch, why not work with someone who already knows the market inside and out? By working with people who are on-the-ground who live among your target market, you can accomplish an effective marketing strategy.
With this, the founders of AJ Marketing believe that they can be your best partner in Vietnam. AJ Marketing collaborates with Vietnam’s top influencers to create innovative marketing campaigns that people love. Their local office in Vietnam enables the company to assess all local aspects in the area, such as language, culture, politics, economic affairs, and even the laws. Lastly, AJ Marketing believes in assessing a brand’s values, identity, and image before selecting the right influencer to represent your business.
If you are looking to expand your business in Vietnam, check the AJ marketing blog for information about local Vietnam market trends.
A business hoping to expand in Vietnam needs to plan and think about each step. Vietnam offers a vast international market, but it also comes with its own challenges. Businesses must be able to research about, relate to, and influence the audience by using strategies popular in Vietnam. Strategies that you use in one country will more likely not work in another. This is why localization and building trust is of utmost importance.
We hope these 5 pro marketing and advertising tips from the founders of AJ Marketing gave you a glimpse of how to expand your business in Vietnam. These tips can guide your journey to a successful business expansion in this rich country.