expat marketing online advertising graph
Source: Interactive Ad Bureau; click to enlarge

Given it’s a new year we at Expat Marketing are looking ahead to major issues marketers will face over the next 12 months.

For private medical insurers there are plenty: a likely decline in the effectiveness of traditional display advertising, greater consumer focus on prices and, lastly, a need to more clearly differentiate their brands from the competition.

It used to be health insurance companies could basically throw up display ads and wait for customers to come to them–obviously that’s no longer true.

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Expat demographics are at a turning point
Expat populations must hit a critical mass before local media appears, says Stuart Smith, Managing Director of Max Media International.

In recent years expats have been moving abroad for different reasons (and under different financial circumstances) than they have traditionally. Many are migrating to escape economic hardship rather than retire in the sun, for example.

Stuart Smith, Managing Director of Max Media International, talks about how this demographic shift impacts media planners, and offers some media planning tips.

international education is necessary for expats with children
There is a booming market for international schools, according to Nicholas Brummitt, Managing Director of ISC Research.

More parents than ever before are looking to send their kids to international schools. Hence enrollment numbers and fee income will rise hand-in-hand over the next few years.

Nicholas Brummitt, Managing Director of ISC Worldwide, says this is the result of  increased demand not only from expat families, but also wealthy locals looking to ensure their kids get the best possible education.

He talks to Expat Marketing about how schools and countries are preparing for this growth, as well as what it’s worth.

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Expat media
Expats are eager to “hear” stories of life abroad firsthand, says David Gregerson, President of newly-launched Overseas Radio Network.

Expat media is ringing in 2012 by boldly going where it’s never been before: the radio.

David Gregerson, CEO of Overseas Radio, says expats are tired of reading information all the time, and would actually prefer hearing it firsthand. So far he’s seen plenty of interest–more than 400 professionals have applied to host programs.

Expats want special services as well as presents during the holidays.

When it comes to Christmas sales everyone fixates on retail.

At it first glance, this industry seems to be dominated by a few big names. Research from overseas shipping website Forward2me found Amazon UK the #1 for expat shoppers, followed by H&M UK and John Lewis. Expats gravitate to these familiar brands for much of their Christmas shopping, often through simple internet searches.

Fortunately, expats’ specific needs offer potential for niche-retailers as well. And there are other holiday niches ripe with potential, many of them service related.

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For expats celebrating the holidays is all about home, according to Jason Kelly of Kelly's Expat Shopping.

For many expats, holiday shopping is a dull experience. It’s often done entirely online, and the glow of a computer screen is hardly a fair substitute for the hustle and bustle of the Christmas shopping season.

Perhaps that’s why they flock to small specialty shops in droves each December. Expat Marketing talks to Jason Kelly, who owns and operates Kelly’s Expat Shopping with his Dutch wife, Kelly (yes, that makes her Kelly Kelly). Jason explains why “the personal touch” is so appealing this time of year.

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Facebook use is fairly high among expats, even in regions where internet penetration is in the single digits; click to enlarge

A majority of expats use Facebook as their social network of choice, according to HSBC’s 2011 Expat Explorer Survey. Even in countries where only 3-4% of locals use Facebook over half of expats are on the site a couple times a week.

Overall, 69% of expats use Facebook and 52% use it once a week or more. LinkedIn came in second at 40%, followed by Twitter at 14% and MySpace at a meager 2%.

But can businesses targeting expats turn this trend into cold hard cash?

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Source: PWC; click to enlarge

A paradigm shift is underway in global mobility. Record numbers of positions will move overseas as the global economy integrates more tightly and emerging markets mature. As the number of international assignments grows, companies will look to their youngest employees to fill them.

According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) report titled Talent Mobility 2020, the number of international assignments will increase 50% by 2020, to nearly 400 per large organization. The youngest professionals, the so-called “millennials,” will hold the bulk of these jobs. 80% of those PWC surveyed said they wanted to work abroad at some point, a trend that held across both developed and emerging economies.

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According to Alex Alpert, Business Development Director at Wheaton Worldwide Moving, brands can improve their image by portraying human qualities on social media.

Let’s face it. There are industries consumers simply love to hate (ahem: banks, insurers).

For these industries, the brave new world of social media has proven challenging, to say the least. Younger people are particularly difficult for these firms to reach.

The problem is these companies are viewed as impenetrable, faceless monoliths. So insists Alex Alpert, Business Development Director at Wheaton World Wide Moving and joint re-Founder of remobilize.org (a new movement for relocation professionals that aims to create professional development workshops and networking events young professionals actually want to attend).

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David Pryor, Senior Executive Director at MediCare, says there is fierce competition for young expat professionals.

The medical industry has been quick to spot potential in the young professional demographic. These expats often purchase the same level of cover as older expats, but claim much less, making them a profitable customer segment.

David Pryor, Senior Executive Director of MediCare International, talks to Expat Marketing about this group’s health insurance needs and how best to reach them.

David, what makes young professionals so attractive as a target group?

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