How to advertise your products in Japan - conclusion
But after selecting an ad agency, which medium do you use? Most Japanese firms use television which receives 30 percent of total ad spending. Newspapers are number two at 22 percent, and magazines grab seven percent. In crowded Japan where private automobiles are not as common as in the US, radio advertising garners only four percent of ad spending, while transit ads like posters in trains picks up a higher percentage than radio.
In the area of television advertising, the idea of sponsorship is common. Most of the programs that appear on the nation's four networks are sponsored. Although Japan has quite a few homes that receive satellite broadcasts, the nation lags behind the US in cable TV coverage. In the US, over 60 percent of homes subscribe to cable, but in Japan coverage is only about three percent.
Japanese newspaper advertising is different from the US because Japan has five national newspapers. The two largest each have about nine million subscribers. The only comparable newspapers in the US are The USA Today and possibly The New York Times.
Because many households subscribe to a national paper and a local paper, the average Japanese home receives 1.3 newspapers. Newspapers thus provide an effective but expensive way to blanket an area with advertisements.
Ads in newspapers are expensive because of the high costs of newsprint in Japan. Classified ads for used goods are almost non-existent because the cost of the ad would be higher than the owner might hope to recover from the sale.
Although newspapers are effective for covering an area with ads, magazines might provide more focus to an advertising campaign. Japan boasts over 65 weekly and 2,000 monthly magazines. This variety allows advertisers to pinpoint their markets.
However results from magazine ads may be spotty because many magazines are sold only though newsstands. Magazines also tend to concentrate ads in the front and back of the magazine rather than interleaving them within editorial sections.
You now have a good idea of how to beat Japan's distribution system and how to price and advertise your product. It won't be easy, but there are success stories.
When Toys R Us entered Japan just two years ago, many said an army of shopkeepers and high land prices would kill the toy chain.
But Toys R Us has opened 16 large stores and already has grabbed four percent of the Japanese toy market. It expects to hold 10 percent within two years. And despite a recession, its stores in Japan have average sales of nearly twice those in America. Even the neighboring shopkeepers aren't mad because the large Toys R Us Stores bring lots of new traffic into the area.
So it is possible to sell to the Japanese. You just need to work hard, work smart and provide quality goods at a good price.