International Marketing | 5 Pillars to success

When expanding internationally, businesses have to make sure their global marketing strategy is in line with their overall marketing objectives. Not every company can “sell to the World” and not just one has failed at international marketing.

Knowing what your customers want and who they are isn’t enough. When doing international marketing things like cultural differences, language, local events, holidays and seasonality are crucial to being successful. In this article I’ve outlined the 5 most important steps to successfully reaching new foreign markets.

Be different. Be similar – treat countries differently

A proper global marketing mix usually sets a framework in which your business must operate in the new market, whilst giving freedom to your local marketing teams. Such a framework typically involves brand guidelines, budgeting, marketing plans and campaigns, research and PR strategy, and social media guidelines.

Once these marketing strategies and guidelines are in place, businesses can freely leverage on local media, partnerships, events etc. Combining your company expertise with local channels will not only help establish a strong brand but also build trust and credibility.

“Divide and conquer” applies here. When localising products and services, it’s safe to assume that different regions have different tastes, no matter how similar they are.

Open to Export’s article on understanding and recognising cultural differences in new markets contains more tips for doing this.

Stay in control

After you have established local connections, researched the target market and audience thoroughly, and defined an international marketing strategy, it’s time to join in and become part of that market. Staying in control is essential. As with non-international marketing, getting your processes right is important to the success of your overall marketing campaigns.

Appoint in-country people to oversee your current campaigns, who will report on projects on a regular basis and ensure campaign deliverability.

Planning campaigns across multiple countries requires a significant amount of manpower to control. Consider different time zones and how this would affect your campaigns.

Read Open to Export’s guides to starting market research and to budgetting for a new market launch for more information.

Communicate. Measure. Track.

Measuring ROI from marketing campaigns could be a struggle, especially when you target multiple countries. Make sure every campaign, advertisement and even every social media post is measured and analysed.

It’s safe to assume that a significant amount of testing will be involved. Review the results on a regular basis with the team and create active discussions. Through reviewing and discussing what worked and what didn’t, measure which marketing channels and messages worked best. It’s important to know all these results so that you can learn and plan your international marketing strategy ahead.

Translate and localise accordingly

Even though the United Kingdom and the United States speak the same language, they are both described as two countries separated by one common language. Every country should be treated differently, even different regions sometimes have different tastes and preferences.

Marketing texts, such as slogans, do not always sound good when simply translated (link). Localisation can capture the persuasive and emotive spirit of the original marketing copy.

Localising images and design is as essential as translating your marketing messages. Colour influences people’s buying intentions by up to 85% . Keeping your branding consistent is essential, just think of Coca-Cola and how well recognised they are across the globe.

Open to Export’s 10-step guide for translating your website and guide for producing foreign language documents and marketing materials gives further information.

Be successful at international marketing

It may take time and effort to understand local preferences, unspoken cultural codes and regulations but your business will surely reap the benefits of exporting abroad. Having a consistently applied marketing strategy across different companies ensures efficiency.

Exporting will not only result in more revenue and increase brand awareness and opportunities for product diversification, but will also be a great learning opportunity. The invaluable insight you will reap from your marketing campaign means you will be able to develop strategies and plans that will drive continuous success.

Listen to our webinar on taking your digital marketing global for more advice and insight.

Sectors: Advertising & Marketing Services and Marketing Services
Topics: Advertising
Export Action Plan