Top Three Things to Know about Marketing in Germany
by Kevin Thacker, Affirm Consulting – business analyst intern
1. What Germans Want in a Product
Marketing in Germany will be geared to a vastly different audience then other countries. The German market leans towards high-quality products with a long product life. The heavy regulation of products also enforces this mindset. For example, you cannot grow or sell any GMO, Genetically Modified Organisms, in Germany and many other European nations. You will also see that most brands that excel in the market advertise their German craftsmanship. Many Germans are proud that products they have bought lasted more than one generation.
2. Information over a Message
When marketing in Germany, ad companies provide more product information to the consumer. Even in funny television commercials, the ad will still take a few seconds to describe the product and its value proposition. Germans companies will also include in their ad why their product is better for the consumer than other similar products. As a small business, you may not have to deal with television ads. However, this information-centric style continues in other forms of marketing, like online advertising and newspaper ads. Almost all German car advertisements that appear in the newspaper not only have a picture of the vehicle but also provide a long-winded text about the vehicle. For example, the ad might say this new car has better kilometers per liter, lower exhaust emissions, a higher safety rating, and a better price compared to the other vehicles in its class. This is also not an uncommon tag line for online ads as well. This information-centric style differs greatly from the U.S. where marketing is primarily supporting the brand and with brief, catchy description of the product. For example, in the United States, the same automobile ad might simply say something like “Built Ford tough” or “Chevy runs deep”. So, if you’re marketing to the German markets it’s important that you prioritize providing detailed product information, versus reinforcing your brand as you would in the American markets.
3. Stay Environmentally Friendly
Marketing in Germany will primarily focus on products with less impact on the environment. So much so that the German political party solely dedicated to the environment, The Greens, have recently won more seats in the German version of Congress. Some may have been wondering why a car advertisement would emphasize exhaust emission and fuel efficiency, instead of horsepower. This is due to the fact that most Germans dislike large cars because of their negative impact on the environment. When driving around Germany, you will likely see a small truck maybe once or twice a week. The road is primarily filled with smaller sedans, compact cars, and small end SUVS. If you’re selling a food product, it’s critical that you minimize the use of plastic, as heavy use of plastics is discouraged by German consumers. The fact is, if your competition has their product(s) packaged with less plastic, its more likely to be purchased than yours. In Germany, this Eco-friendly view is not just held by the urban elites or people with enough income to shop at specialty stores. This Eco-friendly mindset and buying habits are actually accepted by the majority of the German population, including being upheld by the middle class. So regardless of your company’s target income demographic or location demographic, the environmental impact of your product will directly impact your product’s sales.
While these three particular German advertising and consumer preference trends are seen nationwide throughout Germany, all trends are not. If you are a business owner trying to identify your target markets, trends within your specific customer base or how to best reach your customers, then you could use the help of the My Business Coach tutorials. With do-it-yourself tutorials, providing checklist, a guide, business tools, insight and expertise, My Business Coach will teach you about marketing to your target markets and much, much more. We start by helping you figure out who your customers are and then teach you how to keep up with the trends and habits of your customers, as not all customer groups are marketed to the same. Make sure that you’re reaching your customers with the help of My Business Coach.
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