How do you serve a nation of 17 million experts?

In Issue 17 of SBC Leaders Magazine, Dennis ter Harmsel, Netherlands Country Manager for performance marketing agency TBD.Media, provides a native’s take on Dutch online customs and consumer peculiarities to help new operators find their edge when entering the new igaming regime.

Kijken, kijken, niet kopen

‘Browsing, bargain hunting, looking around’, it’s every shop owner’s nightmare – especially when the notorious Dutch are involved. ‘Kijken, kijken, niet kopen’ has been on the ‘must learn Dutch quotes’ list for years.

Historically speaking, the Dutch love to drive a hard bargain and try something before they invest in it. That doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. It depends on the way you look at it.

You can either go for the ‘special price my friend’ tactic or try to be more creative and go for a more appealing way of selling your product or service. For example, if you look at shop displays across the Netherlands, you will notice the many Dutch variations of ‘free’, ‘trial’, ‘sample’ and ‘discount’.

However, Dutch loyalty doesn’t come cheap… Investing in a free-to-play game, no-deposit offer, cashback campaigns or reward programme will be something to look into. ‘

Going Dutch

Another cliche, but again based on a long history of the Dutch tradesmanship: Going Dutch. Unsurprisingly, Tikkie, an app created for splitting the bills and sending payment requests to your friends and other beloved ones, has been ranked as a popular app store pick for years.

Does this mean that the Dutch are ‘cheap’? Well, not always. It does mean that the Dutch take their finances seriously and love to remain in control of their purse strings – especially if it’s to their benefit. When creating a marketing campaign or bonus, it’s worth the extra effort to triple check your T&Cs, because if there are any flaws, there is a good chance of being exploited (read: losing $$$). Never underestimate a Dutch bonus hunter.

17 million experts

True story: the Dutch flew an airplane over the national team’s training ground to express their ‘wish’ to play 4-3-3 during the EURO 2020. What does this tell us about the Dutch? They tend to be direct and speak freely, without asking permission to do so first. If it comes down to tactics, strategy or even an opinion about your everyday topic, be prepared to be advised or told what ‘best’ to do.

On the bright side, the advice tends to be given for free. Adding an element of skill and status – and something to brag about – could be a winning combination for your product and branding.

Bleeding Orange

The Dutch are obsessed with the colour orange. It only takes a royal birthday or any type of sport event and the inner orange lion reveals itself. You can imagine what a typical Dutch wardrobe looks like, right?

Focussing on national and local (sport) events will be a must if you want to get on board with that true Dutch fever. It takes a lot more than adding a few orange buttons to a landing page.

The Dutch are polite

The Dutch are not gifted communicators, nor do they try to be or even care about it. Borders don’t exist in Dutch communication. Any form of prudence or even political correctness is missing. Does this mean the Dutch are arrogant or unfriendly? Not necessarily, but it does give you a handy overview of the Dutch sense of humour, which is self-mockery, provocative and satire at its finest.

You will be made a fool, your legs will be pulled and you will be bullied – with clever insults and full frontal, brutal rudeness. Even the Dutch King is fair game and laughed at on national television. Lesson to be learned? Have a laugh and enjoy life.

Advice: use some of that tasteful and elegant Dutch humour in your branding and marketing as part of your localisation strategy. It’s not that hard to blend in, you just need to approach it with a certain nonchalant attitude. Good luck!

We are high all the time

With all the good stuff just lying around, you’d expect this to be true – but I assure you, it is not (or at least not as much as you’d think). Same applies for a certain district in Amsterdam.

You will rarely see the Dutch doing any ‘window shopping’. With that in mind, you understand that bringing up these subjects isn’t really appreciated. The rule of ‘not getting high on your own supply’ definitely applies.

The Dutch are keen on living a good life, enjoying it to the fullest and spending a lot of money on it. In other words: they are happy to spend their money to entertain themselves – something to keep in mind when creating offers, bonuses and setting up your CRM/reward system.

We value progress

The Dutch pride themselves as being open-minded, social and part of the best multicultural country of the world. Whilst that does sound appealing, it’s not entirely true.

The Dutch may have a positive attitude towards life, but at its core the Dutch are self centered. They are goal-getters, quality-focused and picky when it comes to jobs, friends – and pretty much everything else. That applies to cultural habits as well. What’s theirs is theirs – and they will make sure to keep it that way.

Instead of complaining about this ‘egocentric’ (individualistic) behaviour, why not implement it within your marketing strategy? If you allow the Dutch to ‘invest’ in your product and make it their own, there is a good chance that they will have difficulty letting go – and thus they will stick around for another day.

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