Malaysia is a huge melting pot of cultures, just like New York or, admittedly, the United States of America itself when everything is said and done. Marketing to melting pots of cultures is something Westerners are getting used to.
However, unlike the U.S. where every niche and part of society is defined and every demographic can either be given the proper distinction or a more general approach that appeals to the Caucasian majority is adopted, you'll have to deal with the Malaysia model meritocracy.
Instead of marketing by specifics and demographics, you need to market in light of diversity without being "divisive" about it. There's no majority to pander to; Malaysians are Malaysians regardless of their regional, national, or racial origin.
How Marketing in Malaysia Works Exactly
Since everyone is a Son of the Land (Bumiputera), your ads, marketing, and how you present your company should be more catered to this meritocratic ideal. This includes acknowledgement of the diversity in Malaysia as well as celebrating this rich palette of different cultures working together towards a better Malaysia.
Strong themes of cooperation and unity echo through to many a Malaysian's heart. If you're doing marketing virtually (or you might have even availed of a virtual office and/or are mostly Internet-based), your content should be more attuned to Malaysian culture. It's a mix of many things. Old and new. Tradition and advancement.
Malaysia is arguably an embodiment of the yin-yang concept with the way it handles things. As the former slogan of the country goes, Malaysia truly is Asia because it might as well contain a sampling of every last Asian country in one country, from Chinese to Thai to the indigenous peoples of the Malay race.
One other way that a non-Malaysian company can market itself in Malaysia is to understand which techniques and practices in marketing that they do know aboutbeing universal and not. That way, they can adopt a ready bare bones outline of their previous marketing scheme and localize it for the Malaysian audience.
The Importance of Translation and Localization
You don't have to change your product or image in order to sell it to a Malaysian audience. That would defeat the purpose of appealing to this new market in Asia. Rather, the only thing you really need to change is marketing or presentation. More to the point, you should change podcasts, images, video, and other content with Malaysians in mind without necessarily making new content; just different gift wrapping on the same present, if you will.
You should find another aspect of the same products and services you have in order to make it appeal to Malaysians at large without having to come up with some new product to pander to a new audience. You should tailor written content in accordance to the audience you're attempting to connect to, and it should go beyond a shallow understanding of Malaysian meritocracy.
You should at least have a basic understanding of how the target market works, which entails a lot of research about taboos, faux pas, and what's acceptable in Malaysian society. Be aware of cultural differences and how Malaysians treat them. Understand the culture, the religions involved, and even the trends that tickle the fancy of a typical Malaysian.
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