Here we are again with the column dedicated to the Business Focus and today we are talking about how to approach the Japanese market. Starting from start-ups up to large companies, very often we tend to forget to approach and target the Japanese public and this is a mistake from the beginning. Why eliminate a slice of the market that represents the third world power in terms of consumers?

How to approach the Japanese market

Autore: Erika 

As we mentioned earlier, the Japanese market represents the third largest slice of the world by consumer level. Instead, did you know that social media platforms, even the biggest ones, consider the Japanese market as the second largest market in the world? This is because China, which would occupy the second place, has blocked many foreign companies and corporate policies, causing the focus to shift to Japan.

However, very often companies make the mistake of excluding Japan from their marketing strategies. This is because the Japanese market is also one of the most difficult to approach. In reality, you just need to be able to adapt to their mentality and ways.

The obstacles of the Japanese market

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One of the biggest problems that Western companies find when approaching the Japanese market is primarily the language barrier. In fact, the average Japanese customer prefers to use their own language for both private relations and business exchanges. In fact, according to EF, Japan ranks 55th in the chart table in terms of knowledge of English.

If we add to this the fact that Japan is a country that is very attached to tradition and also to its customs and traditions, the approach to this market becomes even more difficult. However, this should not stop us, but rather stimulate us to find a way to reach this market. So, what kind of marketing strategies and tactics could we adopt? How to deal with this situation?

Digital is the solution

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The strategy is actually not that complicated, digital and new media are our solution. If we’re talking about startups in fact, often the available budget is limited and splitting this on different platforms to have more presence could actually be counterproductive. Better to focus your savings on digital. Over the years of working with Japanese companies and people, we’ve tried many different ways to promote companies. So here are our tips on where to focus.

Facebook & Instagram ads

In the past, we’ve already addressed how new digital media, and social media in particular, can help us set our company sailing internationally. In particular, the ads feature of Facebook and Instagram is one of the best tools to target specific users. Both start-ups and established companies should take advantage of this tool to be able to reach their audience.

The two social media platforms obviously have different demographics, with Facebook reaching a more adult audience in Japan and Instagram reaching a younger audience. By combining the two platforms and using them to promote your company, you can reach a wider audience. Obviously, before embarking on a promotional operation, it is important to study your mission and your target audience to be able to reach the right niche audience on the right social.

Twitter ads

One of the most successful social networks in Japan is definitely Twitter. Twitter has more monthly active users (45 million) than any other social media platform such as Instagram (33 million) and even Facebook (26 million) in Japan.

Twitter is a bit of a “controversial” platform, you either love it or hate it. However, when used for business it can become a really powerful and effective media as much as Facebook, especially when it comes to ads. In some cases, depending on the industry, it could even outperform Facebook. Twitter also reaches a very young audience and many Japanese companies have used Twitter ads not only to increase their brand awareness but also to increase their profit organically. If you want to reach the young audience in Japan, Twitter could be the solution for you.

Influencer Marketing

And finally we come here, to Influencer Marketing, what we believe to be the strategy that works best internationally today. In today’s world, we are all bombarded by the myriad of advertisements, focusing on influencer partnerships could become a positive thing.

However, influencer marketing can be a double-edged sword. The first step to pay attention to and that will determine the success of a good campaign is the correct choice of the influencer with whom to collaborate. In this case it becomes even more important to be able to find the right influencer who is in line with your image and who has an audience in line with your target.

Obviously, being able to collaborate with big names like Chiara Ferragni or Naomi Watanabe is really difficult, however, there is a category that should not be underestimated: micro-influencers. They have limited followers compared to the others, but they also have a higher engagement rate. These could not only be loyal customers or brand advocates but also be able to bring the audience to your niche.

Investing in marketing is always a great choice and startups that may not have an infinite budget can narrow down their strategy to something targeted and functional. The Japanese market may seem strange but it has the potential to be the springboard for your company. Absolutely not to be ignored.