International business has been a growing industry over the past decade, and especially in the last few years. With the rise in e-commerce traffic from companies like Amazon and Alibaba, the door to engaging with international customers is wide-open. As a result, many locally-based companies are finding largely exploitable foreign market segments to grow their business in. All of this is done through the use of international or global marketing.
International Marketing vs. Global Marketing
Surprisingly, this is one of the more popular topics in the international business industry. In laymen’s terms, the primary different between international marketing and global marketing has to do with the concept of universalness.
Global marketing takes a very universal approach to marketing, product development, staffing, etc. The idea is that a local company can expand internationally simply by broadcasting their current marketing messages and selling their current products in more international locations. There’s no attempt to curate a marketing strategy for a particular foreign market segment. Simultaneously, in a global marketing approach, a brand does not develop new products to be sold in a specific country, but rather sells their same product line to multiple locations.
In international marketing, everything is customized to the country you are marketing to. If a U.S. company decided to expand into the Chinese market using an international marketing approach, they would create entirely different commercials, print advertisements, and maybe even websites/social media accounts to appeal to a Chinese audience.
We wrote a more expansive article on some of the top differences between international and global marketing.
3 Indications Your Global Marketing is Failing
As you might expect, each strategy has its own areas of weakness. Since global marketing aims at universalizing products and marketing messages across international locations, some expansion endeavors may prove successful while others may crash and burn. If you are currently taking a global marketing approach, or you are planning on expanding your product and service offerings internationally, take note of these 3 indications that your global marketing may be failing:
1) Data is Construed Across Countries
Obviously, every country has different population size, urban density, buying behavior, holiday seasons, etc. But regardless of the product you are marketing, data on a percentage level should remain consistent with your goals. After all, cross-referencing new with old data is the only way to accurately track ROI. Here’s what we are getting at.
While international marketing aims at producing unique products, results, and marketing in every country, global marketing is universalized. Your global marketing, thus, should aim to sell and market your products in countries that will return similar (or better) results to those of your company’s originating country. If you are getting mixed results from the countries you are marketing in, your global marketing may be failing.
2) Stagnant Growth
“Sink or swim”; or so the saying goes. However, many marketers and business owners don’t realize there’s a third option – treading water – and it’s the bane of most global marketers. The failure comes from a lack of upward trajectory, but not necessarily a decline in sales. Global marketing is a means to expand one’s business and yet many businesses settle for flatlined sales in export countries.
As with all global marketing strategies, there’s little that can be done to fix this issue through sticking to this approach. The primary way to combat this issue is to begin selling your products in more locations within the export country. Hopefully, exposing your brand to more people will result in greater brand awareness and growth. But depending on the circumstances, these results may mean an international marketing strategy would be your best bet; at least elements of one.
3) No Brand Ambassadors
Gaining brand ambassadors requires a unique combination of manual effort and natural results. Without any brand ambassadors, your company is bound to gain brand awareness but no brand authority. Essentially, a brand can gain recognition through global marketing messages, store shelves, and other means. But simply because the public is aware of your product doesn’t mean they trust it. Brand ambassadors, whether businesses or individuals, are the backbone of creating trust amongst the public in the country you are marketing to.
Hopefully your product is appealing and functional enough to generate brand ambassadors passively in the country you are globally marketing too. If not, it may be time to take a manual approach. Depending on your target market (businesses or consumers), taking a loss and paying someone to advocate for your brand may be the extra boost your company needs to succeed in the country. It’s a long-term process but will pay off in the long run.
Global marketing is difficult. You are essentially sacrificing control over customization of your product offerings, services, and marketing messages. But this also means that global expansion may be easier, since your hands aren’t tied managing the tiny details of each country’s buying behavior. With global marketing, the upfront research before your international expansion is crucial. Know the countries you are marketing too since you aren’t planning on continually modifying and restructuring your tactics. Inconsistent results across countries and flatlined growth may be indications your global marketing is failing. As with any business endeavor, you need to make sure that your company is building both brand awareness and brand authority. Much of this will come from brand ambassadors in your export country.
If you have or are planning on marketing your products internationally through a global marketing approach and have questions, give our team a call. We are always happy to answer questions over the phone or in the chatbox below!