How to Market Your Business in the Philippines

June 3, 2014 | SERVCORP

Philippine marketing is in many ways easier for Westerners than marketing for East Asian or Southeast Asian countries. For one thing, most of the locals know English. Even those who are separated by dialects (one Cebuano, the other Tagalog) would be able to converse in English quite easily.

For another thing, it's a Western-influenced former colony of both Spain and the U.S.A., the latter being more recent than the former. What this means is that unlike most Asian countries, a lot of marketing tactics that, say, American companies make use to sell their product, expand their brand, or otherwise make their (company) names become well known.

What Are the Differences between Filipino and Western Marketing?

With that said, there are some differences between Filipino and Western Marketing. While saving face isn't as big of a deal in the Philippines as it is in Japan, Thailand, or some other Asian countries, criticizing, badmouthing, or speaking ill of the competition (mudslinging, in other words) outright instead of thinking about what the customer wants is a no-no.

Therefore, things like the Pepsi Challenge or even naming your competition is a no-go in Philippine advertising. Furthermore, since this is a predominantly Roman Catholic country, it's quite the conservative nation. You can say "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays" here without offending other groups of non-Catholic people.

Filipinos obviously don't celebrate Thanksgiving and Halloween has only recently been celebrated as of late thanks to Western pop culture influence (movies and TV series), but the nation does celebrate Ramadan for the sake of its Muslim population.

You should expand your marketing strategy in light of how Filipinos go about daily life, what they consider as acceptable and unacceptable, and finding things they'll be willing to buy from another country that's specifically marketed to their tastes without having to change much about the product itself. Presentation and localization is your key to having a marketing campaign that speaks to a Filipino audience.

Other Things of Note in Terms of Philippine Marketing

You don't have to sell Maharaja Burgers or Teriyaki Burgers to other cultures outright to get profit from other parts of the world; sometimes, a change in presentation is all you need. Sure, in the Philippines, McDonalds is known as "McDo" and at one time the major franchise even sold "McSpaghetti" (available nowhere else in the world) against its major Philippine rival, Jollibee.

However, McDonalds mostly flourished by following niches and services not offered by its competition while being true to the McDonalds brand, like localizing its staple Breakfast Meal offerings and hiring local stars to advertise its multitude of wares as "Filipino-style McDonalds".

The Philippines, like the rest of Asia, is a country with its own complex behavioral codes, cultural idiosyncrasies, and social structure. You shouldn't only respect these social mores, but incorporate them into your advertising so that Filipinos would relate more to what you have to offer.

Therefore, your marketing and attempt at branding should reflect this market where family is everything, having thirty-something adults living with their parents isn't unusual or frowned upon like in America and its "Empty Nest" mentality, and respect of elders is of the utmost importance to everyone.

Indeed, Filipinos would, as much as possible, have their aged live with them instead of having them go to nursing homes, which makes sense since many Filipino families can't even afford doing that.

Do you wish to have a Philippine-based business? Then let Servcorp help your pursuit with its virtual office and business registration solutions. The Philippines-based company is one of the most dependable service providers out there when going about startups in the Philippines.