Should we work with Korean local agencies separately or agencies that cover APAC region to enter Korean market?
The reason why you MUST select local marketing agency rather than an APAC marketing agency for especially South Korean market and NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY.
Today, quite a lot of clients over the world choose to work with Asian digital marketing agencies that claims to cover all countries including South Korean market. However, by experiencing a lot of different situations and limitations on project execution,
Waterbe reveals the reason why foreign entities MUST work with Korean local agencies for Korean market and what can go WRONG if the clients work with agencies without local experiences.
1. HIGHER PRICE, BUT LESS SERVICES
Mostly when client reaches out to digital marketing agencies that cover all Asian countries, these companies usually contact to Korean local agencies for the services.
In this case, there is a high possibility that the total service price can exceed 2 times of the original service price and the services client will get will be limited within the same budget.
According to Korean local platforms, there are processes such as documentation and those which must include the client directly to the platforms but according to the intermediate agencies, it is difficult to execute projects in local platforms which can lose their great business opportunity.
For example, when the project type obviously needs local platform services, but the agency is not aware of the services or cannot let another agency to contact the client,
the agency will lead the client to only use global platforms that they can control of -
which becomes a wrong choice and this leads to a great loss in terms of client's budget and campaign efficiency.
To be honest, we've seen a lot of similar cases above and client cannot know exactly what is going on and sometimes do not know if that's a wrong choice.
It is natural that client might not be aware which platform will be the best for Korean market and will be used to the global platforms but this must not happen to clients since the agencies role is to transparently provide the most efficient marketing plan.
You can find below why the client must choose local agencies and what kind of works and process are required in local matters to enter Korean market.
2. PROFESSIONALISM FOR LOCAL PLATFORMS - ACCOUNT CREATION
Aside from the global social media platforms such as Google, Youtube, Instagram and Facebook, there is also a very important part that essentially requires local professionalism and experiences.
This refers to the local major platforms such as NAVER and KAKAO.
Since NAVER (Korean NO.1 search engine) is an inevitable platform that must be chosen when entering Korean market, if the foreign entity is looking forward to Naver SEO and SEM services, they need to go through a lot of process for account creation which is already different from Google.
The account creation process includes several local documentations directly from the client to the platform and these matters cannot be proceeded automatically on the system for foreign entities.
This is why the client MUST work with local agencies who can help all these process in local languages and can communicate with platform directly.
3. PROFESSIONALISM FOR LOCAL PLATFORMS - AD SYSTEM
The Ad system in local platforms in Korea are quite different from global platforms such as Google, Instagram and Facebook.
Especially when it comes to SEM and SEO, the Naver search Ad is based on" Real time keyword competition" so each keyword’s performance and price shall be monitored and managed continuously and professionally not to exceed the budget but to get higher CTR.
Of course the payment policy is different from other platforms too.
Also, when it comes to data analytics, it is difficult to integrate local platform to Google Analytics/GTM or see deeper data insights according to local platforms' policy.
The deeper data insight can be seen through local analytics platforms and since all these Ad system and platforms are Korean language based, the client must be aware that they are working with the right agency who can manage this part and can provide deeper data insights.
4. LANGUAGE BARRIER
South Korea is not an English speaking country.
This means all the content, website, keywords, must be translated all in Korean. Also, language barrier will occur when hiring Korean influencers too while obviously all the local platforms tools are all Korean based.
However, we can often see some display ads or video ads that are mistranslated and this can negatively impact the brand image while lowering the ad efficiency.
The client must be careful of this part since they can face a budget loss.
In order to select the right keyword and create Korean friendly content, there must be someone who can manage these issues professionally. in local matters.
5. CORRECT DATA BACKGROUND
There are quite a lot of foreign clients do research on South Korean market before reaching out to agencies. However, there are a lot of incorrect data since they mostly can only find the background data on English based websites.
While local agencies have access to government data and other local data that cannot be found easily for foreigners, the client must be aware that the data they've found and real local data can be different.
Also the client must consider that the agency is able to deliver right marketing strategies based on the local correct data.
It can seem very difficult and complicated to use Korean local platforms when you just read this article but please keep in mind that all these complicated matters can be solved easily by local agencies with experiences.
Also, since nowadays Korean platforms are opening their services for foreign entities, please don't hesitate to seize a business opportunity in Korean market!
If you have any questions or planning to enter Korean market, Waterbe marketing will always be happy to help you.
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