The increase in globalization and communication technology has created a larger market opportunity for businesses all across the world to market their products internationally. Marketing in one’s “home turf” is no longer the only way to sell your products. But with more markets come more obstacles and hurdles to manage. Cultural, climate, class, ethnicity, politics – they are a few of many elements that differ from country to country and have a great deal of leverage over consumer buying behavior. This is where the importance of developing an international marketing plan comes in.
International Marketing Plan Definition
As you could imagine, an international marketing plan is a marketing plan aimed at global expansion of product sales and brand recognition. If you don’t already know the difference between international marketing and global marketing, make sure to read our article on that first.
In essence, international marketing is aimed at customizing or tailoring products, marketing, and sales tactics at the international market they are expanding into. Rather than broadcasting the same media advertisements to multiple countries, each country/market segment receives different marketing messages to appeal to that particular community.
Why International Marketing is Important
International marketing, as opposed to global marketing, is incredibly important to boost your company’s international image for a few reasons.
1) Increases Focus
International marketing increases a brand’s focus on a marketing message. Since every marketing message, media advertisement, and media channel is selected based on careful market research, brands are able to demonstrate more intentionality in their marketing decisions.
2) More Marketing Expertise and Personnel
Unlike global marketing where all decisions are made from personnel at the company’s headquarters, international marketing generally calls for more marketing employees and research teams. The obvious drawback to this is the added salary expense, but for the most part, the added employees frees up HQ marketing personnel from execution of the marketing plan and keeps them more focused on managing and strategizing.
3) Brand Authority
One of the major importances of international marketing is creating brand authority in a variety of different markets. The key to note here is the difference between brand awareness and brand authority. Suppose a well-established American company begins broadcasting their messages to multiple coun19tries. Just because Brazil sees their ad all the time doesn’t mean that it holds any relevance for their situation. Thus, while the company’s brand awareness may soar, their brand authority remains low in Brazil and high only in America. This all has to do with specialization and market research in each foreign country. An increased understanding of a culture, customized message, and a detailed country-specific marketing plan all work together to create stronger brand authority.
Developing an International Marketing Plan
It can be a daunting task to actually begin developing an international marketing plan. We have written a list of required details for developing an international/export marketing plan in a previous post, which highlights the most important details. These are the overarching details to keep in mind:
- Research: You need to know the foreign market you are entering inside and out. International country research is two-fold though:
- Initial Screening
- In-Depth Country Analysis
In initial screening involves deciding which company you should move your product marketing efforts to. In-depth country analysis should be performed by overseas analysts or experienced international marketing personnel.
- State Your Objectives: Objectives can be boiled down to your international objectives and market objectives. Be able to answer questions of why the expansion is necessary, why you chose this location, what market segments you plan on working on, and how you want to stand against your international competitors in a few years from today.
- Identify Your Budget: Eventually, dreams need to meet reality. Your company’s budget will largely dictate the strategy you set in place. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to identify your budget before brainstorming market research, foreign country screening, and stating objectives.
International marketing plans are incredibly important for anyone who wants to get into the world of international business. Keep in mind, there is a difference between global and international marketing. After having a clear understanding of the two and deciding which is best for your business model, you can begin working on your objectives and country of interest.
We understand that no blog post or article can do justice to the work that international marketing endeavors take. That’s why we make ourselves available to any business and any person who is interested in learning more about starting an international marketing plan. If you are interested in learning more or are seeking help in the industry, give one of our team members a call and we would be excited to contribute!