- Very few people in Vietnam own a credit card. Without a credit card it would be nearly impossible to buy anything over the distance. Sometimes a card is only secured when you have deposited an amount that is a few times greater than the amount of credit approved by the bank. The credit industry is still very new. The banks are very cautious and selective with their credit card customers.
- The main focus is on the traditional marketing mix: radio,television,prints...The bulk of the financial and human resources are allocated to experiment and learn about the traditional channels. Currently the main TV networks in Vietnam are doing their marketing research through Nielsen Media Research, which employees sometimes walk from house to house to collect data for the rating surveys. The network executives are now considering the option of buying and placing tracking devices among samples of the TV audience to get more reliable data. It's going to be a while before the online channel gets some serious considerations.
- Few qualified paid search professionals who live and operate in Vietnam.
- Vietnamese abroad dont encounter the credit card or e-payment issues. However, companies in the overseas Vietnamese communities are mostly small family-owned businesses that rely on the Vietnamese-language media or word-of-mouth marketing to reach their customers. They cater to customers who live within the city where the shops are located. The volume is too low to implement a profitable paid search campaign. There are a few non-Vietnamese companies that use paid search to target Vietnamese customers. They are mostly in the entertainment-related industry (tv, cable...) that cover a broad range of customers. One example is DirecTV, which runs Vietnamese-language programs. Here is the DirecTV landing page for the keyword "tivi vietnamese" on Google search engine.
However, there is hope for the future. As the credit card industry matures and the concept becomes more socialized more people in Vietnam will possess a credit or bank card. Recently, there is a resurgence of Vietnamese search engines. Monava has been launched a couple months ago. It has announced the goal of taking away 2 million searchers away from Google within 2 years. There are other search engines with a focus on search for music and news. They are not as strong and fast like Monava but they appeal to the local interests and needs. The rise and fall of the search engines like VinaSeek, PanVietnam, Hoatieu, 7sac, zing, timnhanh, diadiem over the last few years have helped generating alot of attention and resources. It takes time to socialize the concept in Vietnam but I believe it will break through on the long term.