To do well in the Netherlands, it’s important to appeal to consumers through an understanding of local values and language. These tips to Dutch consumer behavior provide some insight.
Dutch consumers are thriving with a healthy economy, good public services, and great life expectancy. Their unique blend of cultural traits impacts effective marketing localization strategy. Here’s what Dutch consumers value.
1. CLEAR MESSAGING
Along with other low-context cultures, the Dutch appreciate it when you get to the point.
To appeal to Dutch consumers, help them get things done. Offer uncluttered web pages that are easy to navigate, with simple and precise content. Humor and creativity are great, as long as the message is clear.
Over-the-top enthusiasm can appear insincere. A common Dutch saying is “act normal, that’s crazy enough.” In other words, authenticity matters. Make sure your brand and its values come across as clearly as the steps in your ordering process.
2. TIME MANAGEMENT
Dutch culture is big on scheduling – even popping in unannounced to see friends is unusual. It‘s why only 0.4% of people work long hours and full-time workers have more time to themselves than the OECD average.
It’s important to take this into account when planning delivery services. 43% of consumers want to see the delivery date at the point of order. A choice of delivery location (at-home, in-store, etc.) and the time window are also important.
If you’re promoting a service or event, customers value options and plenty of notice. The Dutch sometimes plan social events with friends as much as six weeks in advance. So only a very compelling offer would get consumers to change their plans at the last minute.
3. HONESTY AND MODESTY
The Dutch are comfortable with being direct. Just over half of the Dutch population is non-religious. But some cultural traits of Dutch consumer behavior link back to Calvinist ideas, including this preference for complete honesty.
Another Calvinist ideal is modesty, in the sense of not showing off wealth. If there are taboos in the Netherlands, they’re probably around money. This is particularly relevant for luxury brands.
Luxury as a signal for enhanced social status may backfire. But the Dutch are loyal customers of branded goods. Concentrate on lifestyle and appeal to self-expression to win fans.
4. TARGETED MESSAGING
The Dutch are egalitarians. But like many European languages, Dutch has two registers: formal and informal. Traditionally, informal was for family and friends – formal belonged to the work sphere. Today, the trend toward informal is accelerating.
Choosing which register to use is an important decision for brands. The choice depends on your audience. Younger customers are likely to be more informal. If your customers value a certain professional distance, then formal is the way to go.
33% of Dutch consumers start their day with email – which means email marketing works well in the Netherlands. If you’re launching an email campaign, the form of address is linked to the register you choose. First names and formal don’t go well together.
That’s partially why sustainability is an important topic for the Dutch. But the majority don’t want to pay extra for sustainable products, lagging behind the global average. Don’t overlook it, though – packaging and environmental concerns are still a priority for around a third of Dutch consumers.
The Dutch have very high English proficiency and a history of international trade. Dutch consumers regularly buy from non-Dutch websites. But to truly engage them, you’re better off speaking to them in their own language and on their terms. Making sure your marketing localization strategy allows for an authentic and engaging local experience will set you up for success.